Morning Fog at Theler

We’ve been blessed with considerable sunshine lately, but with it has come cold, foggy mornings.

Even the red-winged blackbird’s brilliant mating song of could not dispel winter’s grip on Theler Wetlands.

Red-Wing Blackbird in fog

Reeds remained encased in icy waters,

ice in Pond

The sun could not break through the fog

sun through fog

shrouding the wetlands,


obscuring the difference between reality

Great Blue Heron in fog

and the mere reflection of reality.

At a mile and a half, the turnaround point, I followed the thunk-thunk of a Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

hammering away at a tree’s dry rot.

It wasn’t until I was about to leave the wetlands at 1:00 PM that the shroud finally lifted,

fog dispelling

revealing the land’s one true constant. Its beauty.

Red-Shafted Flickers Make My Day

Even though I’m not adverse to walking in showers, there are days in the Pacific Northwest when I don’t even consider walking or birding. On those days I’m more apt to sit in the kitchen and watch the feeder or bird bath. Usually the yard is full of Juncos, sparrows and finches. Occasionally I’ll see a flicker but last Wednesday I saw four rather large birds on the telephone pole. Even though the light was poor and the sun was directly behind them, I gradually figured out that it was a small flock of Red-Shafted Flickers.

Needless to say, I ran upstairs and grabbed my camera even though I didn’t expect great shots.

Flickers on Telephone Pole

However, the light gradually improved and they flew to different parts of the yard when they saw me watching them. This female flicker flew to the neighbor’s yard where the light was hitting her from the opposite direction,

female Red-Shafted Flicker

so it was relatively easy to adjust the color in Aperture so the colors approached the colors you might see in the sunshine.

I spent a good part of the morning waiting for them to explore the yard and then fly off, knowing that they would stick around until they had fed at the feeder.

male Red-Shafted Flicker

I didn’t have to wait too long before one of the males tried to land on the feeder.

Flicker trying to land on feeder

It was too dark to shoot at a high shutter speed, so I couldn’t capture the wings in one position, but I was really fond of this shot which shows why they’re called “flickers.”

It’s worth the price and effort of putting out feeders just to watch a flicker hang from the perch,

Flicker handing on feeder

using its tail to brace itself.

Can’t Forget Port Orchard

Regular readers know I always follow-up a trip to Belfair with a stop at Port Orchard and last week’s trip was no different. I continued seeing lots of hooded mergansers,

Hooded Merganser

though this picture is actually made up of three shots of the same bird. I’m so used to identifying birds by their profile that I’m sometimes surprised when I see them from a different angle. For instance this is the first time I’ve noticed the way the stripes run down the back of the merganser, and I’m always surprised by how thin their head is compared to its length. Do you suppose that’s an adaptation to help it dive?

I regularly see Surf Scoters at the Port Orchard Marina, so often that I tend not to see them at all even though I was originally fascinated by the colorful beak of the males.

Surf Scoter

Generally though I don’t see White-Winged Scoters. In fact, I only have a few shots taken at a considerable distance. They seem much more common in the Western part of Port Orchard.

male White-Winged Scoter

I think I could’ve gotten even more spectacular shots if I’d walked further down the pier, but I stopped when I got half way down the runway and saw this great blue Heron standing on the dock.

Heron on Dock

Taking pictures of birds often disrupts their routines, but I still try to do my best to avoid spooking them, particularly in winter when there’s little energy to waste.