Horned Grebe

One of the best parts of birding is that you’re constantly learning, particularly when you know as little about birds as I did when I started out a few years ago. Five years ago I’d never heard of a “grebe,” much less a Horned Grebe. I’ve been observing them for a couple years now, though, and I knew that they looked different in breeding colors, but last Thursday those changes were indelibly etched on my brain at Port Orchard.

Here’s a Horned Grebe that’s just starting to change into breeding colors,

Horned Grebe in non-breeding colors

another just starting to change colors,

Horned Grebe Starting to Change into Breeding Colors

one that’s nearly completely changed,

Horned Grebe almost in Breeding Colors

and one in full-breeding colors.

Horned Grebe in Full Breeding Colors

It’s hard to believe that they’re the same bird.

Belfair in the Rain

I did manage to get in one walk last week despite some horrendous weather, but I was determined to finish my discussion of Hoffer’s The True Believers before I took time to post some pictures from the walk. It was Spring Break around here, so I should have expected rain, but I wasn’t expecting quite as bad of weather as we actually got.

Wednesday was the best day of the week, but I was stuck inside waiting for a package that I had to sign for. Of course, I’d chosen that day for delivery because forecasters said Thursday was supposed to be the best day. Didn’t turn out that way.

Despite the weather I was determined to get out Thursday, and I did. There was some gorgeous sunshine, but there was also rain squalls that included snow and hail. This image says it all about the weather:

Storm Brewing

But when the sun broke through the light was perfect for photos, as in this picture of a female Red-Wing Blackbird,

female Red-Wing Blackbird

or even this shot of a Song Sparrow, with the gray sky merely serving as a neutral backdrop.

Song Sparrow

However, by the time I got to the turn-around on the Theler trail, the weather had turned ominous and it took all my Aperture and Photoshop tricks to pull out the colors, particularly the blacks in the male Merganser.

Common Merganser pair

I really wanted some good shots of the Male Common Merganser, but this was one of the few I could salvage. I spent a good ten minutes waiting for the rain to diminish before I could walk the last mile and a half back to the car.

By the time I got back to the visitor’s center, though, the sun was glistening off these small purple beauties,

Puple Flowers

but even more spectacularly off the brilliant yellow Skunk Cabbage that was in full bloom.

Skunk Cabbage

%d bloggers like this: