When I read three weather reports Monday that said Tuesday would be sunny in the Port Townsend area and Leslie was going out Tuesday evening, I decided it would be the ideal day for my annual pilgrimage to visit the Harlequin ducks at Fort Flagler.
Unfortunately, the weather didn’t turn out as predicted. In fact, a half hour from home I ran into a squall that almost made me turn back, but I decided I wasn’t going to waste half of a tank of gas. As it turned out, I was glad I didn’t turn back, though the weather was variable as shown by the layers of clouds in this shot of Mt. Baker across the bay.
It was dark and cloudy when I arrived, and the tide was high. I did find a pair of Harlequin ducks, but they were a considerable distance off shore, and they looked like dull blobs in the first pictures I took.
Luckily, the two miles I hiked down the beach weren’t wasted since I found a small flock of Brandt swimming close to shore,
and their black and white colors didn’t suffer from a lack of sun. In fact the gray skies probably made it possible to capture both their black and white colors, something difficult to do in intense sunlight
I was also able to get a decent shot of this Pelagic Cormorant on the old pier posts.
I finally decided to drive to the other end of the park and hope for better light when I returned, something I’ve never done before since I also like to touch base in Port Townsend after I’ve driven this far.
I’m glad I did, though, because the shots were better later, the colors much brighter,
later in the day, and there were several different groups of Harlequins, like this pair.
though I never could get shots of them sitting off shore because the tide was too high.
I’ve never been able to recreate the excitement of the first time I saw a flock of them sitting a few feet from me, totally oblivious to my presence, but perhaps that’s to be expected. They still have the power to draw me a hundred miles from home every year.