Minor Setbacks

When I arrived at Bottle Beach on the Washington coast Monday afternoon it was a brilliant, sunny day, with near perfect temperatures of 75 degrees. These native mallow glowed brilliantly,

wild Mallow

The deep blue sky provided the perfect backdrop for the Great Blue Heron’s flying back from the shore to their nesting site.

Great Blue Heron Flies Overhead

You couldn’t have asked for better photographic weather, with the sun still far enough in the east that it shone directly into the water.

Unfortunately, as the tide came in, bringing the shore birds that feed on the edge of the oncoming waters, low, ground fog came swirling in simultaneously, making it difficult to focus accurately on the nearby birds. And even when “in focus” they appeared fuzzy and gray, which can sometimes be an interesting photographic effect but is just plain irritating when you’re hoping for bright, brilliant shots.

Particularly when you manage to see a small flock of Black-Bellied Plovers closer than you’ve ever seen them before,

Birds in ground fog

and even your best efforts in Photoshop can’t quite bring the feathers into focus.

Black-Bellied Plover in haze

Of course, there’s something special about sitting in the middle of the beach and having flocks of wild birds settle around you, indifferent to your pressence. I wasn’t about to leave, and my persistence seemed to pay off when the fog burned off after an hour or so. I never saw a Black-Bellied Plover quite as striking as the first one, but this one transitioning out of breeding colors is certainly a better shot because of the light.

Black-Bellied Plover on Rock

Of course, I could have been really unlucky and planned to go there this morning where, despite the forecast, it seems to be raining this morning, just as it is here in Tacoma.

6 thoughts on “Minor Setbacks”

  1. so loren, bird feathers change colour according to the stage of development and breeding season?! i’m a non-birder so this is a little revelation for me. a heron right over your head!!! wow!!! steven

  2. I only discovered that a few years ago when I took up bird watching a little more seriously, steven.

    It’s usually males that change colors most dramatically. In some species the change is dramatic, from dull brown colors to brilliant colors as in a male Wood Duck.

  3. The first time I saw Goldfinches was when I was a kid of 9 and just starting to watch birds. It was winter and they were all olive green and I couldn’t figure out what they were until spring came and all the males started turning yellow!

  4. I love the flower, Loren, and the misty look in photo 3. It sounds like you had quite a time. I started back to work today, so my long days to languish, photo, and write have temporarily ended. sigh.

  5. I really do like walking in the fog at the beach, but when it comes to photographs I generally only like scenics taken in the fog, pat.

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