Western Meadowlark

As noted yesterday, I wouldn’t be seeing Colorado if it weren’t for Tyson and his family, but I’ll have to admit one reason I prefer their Colorado home to their Southern California home are the birds that I get to see in Colorado but rarely see here in the Pacific Northwest.

One of those is the Western Meadowlark, a bird we occasionally see during the winter. I’d only managed to get one shot in Colorado before, and, like this shot,
it was a shot of the bird on the ground, partially obscured by the grass where it seems to spend most of its time foraging.

This time, though, I found a pair of Meadowlarks who seemed to be claiming their small piece of land and who weren’t shy about letting others know that.

I had several opportunities to go back and get better shots each time, especially when I was patient enough to take one step forward and then wait a minute or so before taking another shot.

Western Meadowlark

Unfortunately, it wasn’t until the last day that I realized the Meadowlark has a beautiful black collar that only shows from the front,


or I would have spent more time getting a frontal shot. Luckily, I can look forward to returning in the near future, perhaps in the Fall, to get even better shots.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t equipped to capture its beautiful song, but you can listen to a recording of it here: Western Meadowlark.


Hopefully you noticed my absence since last Tuesday when I left for Colorado. Originally, I’d planned on blogging from Colorado, but unfortunately, or fortunately, those plans fell through. Although I’ve always managed to blog from my son’s house before, for some reason my server in Florida refused his ISP and I was unable to see, post to, or receive email while in Colorado.

The first day I obsessed over my inability to get on, particularly because I couldn’t understand why we were suddenly blocked from the site, even though I was able to check it the first day I was there. It wasn’t until I had some shots to post that I was denied access to the site. Tyson suggested I had probably tried to access my site with the wrong password and after a number of attempts it had simply denied me access.

Too bad, too, because the weather was grand and I was getting a number of photographs that I really liked. The first day I was there, Jen and Sydney took me to see the Great Horned Owl nest, an experience I repeated nearly every day I was there, though I never got better shots than the first day I was there:

Great Horned Owl Chicks

The longer I was there, the more leaves that appeared, making it more and more difficult to get a clear shot.

Once I decided that I probably wasn’t going to get any better shots, I focused more on the Yellow-Headed Blackbirds, a bird seldom found back here in Washington:

Yellowheaded Blackbird

I faced an entirely different challenge in photographing this bird, because they like to hide in the reeds and seldom stay in one spot, though I found them in the same area every time I went back the pond. Luckily, I didn’t spot the rather large snake (prairie rattlesnake?) on the edge of the pond until the last day I was there or I might not have gotten this shot.

I also managed to entertain myself by stalking this Redhead Duck, another bird seldom seen in Western Washington. Considering how crowded the park was, I was surprised how shy this bird was whenever I pointed a camera its way.

Redhead Duck

Disconnected or not, seeing birds has become a way to connect to wherever I go. Luckily the grandkids seem to like “birding,” too, as the two older ones were always up to joining grandpa on an outing.

Some of my favorite shots weren’t of birds at all:

Birding allows me to share my love of the environment with those I love, and it doesn’t get much better than that.

Logan and Zoe focus on getting it right

More Shorebirds

Knowing that this week’s trip to Colorado could very well mean I will miss the rest of the Spring Migration, I told Ruth Sullivan I would go birding with her last Friday, and the weather certainly cooperated. It was a beautiful, sunny day, and surprisingly warm.

It was a joy just to hang out on the beach with friends,

Shorebirds resting

gazing up at flocks of Cormorants flying overhead,

A Flight of Cormorants

the calm occasionally shattered

a flock of shorebirds in flight

by a Peregrine Falcon trying unsuccessfully to separate one of the shorebirds from the flock.

Danger past, a Western Sandpiper tiptoed nearer,

Western Sandpiper

while a Least Sandpiper remained closer to the safety of water’s edge.

Least Sandpiper