Gavin’s First Football Game

Gavin’s parents were out of town this weekend for a Robotics Competition so we had Gavin overnight and had the privilege of seeing him play in his first-ever football game. We went to the first half of an all-day junior high football jamboree and got to see him play in two short scrimmages.

He plays “fullback” though it definitely is not the fullback position that I knew when I was young enough to still play the game. He played either the up-back or split out to the side. He’s got all the athletic ability and size needed to play, but it was obvious that he and his team still had a lot of skills to work on.

Still, it was a thrill just to be there on his first play on an organized football team:


I even saw him take his first hand-off and try to sprint around left end.


He only gained two or three yards, but at least it took four guys to bring him down.


I think we only saw him carry the ball twice, and he spent most of the morning blocking for his teammates.

Gavin Blocking

His style probably left much to be desired, but he generally managed to get in front of at least one opponent, and that seemed like a good beginning to me.

More Birding

There’s been precious little time for birding lately, but since Dawn and Rich will be on vacation the next two weeks I’m hoping to get a lot more birding done. Good thing, too, because it seems Spring migration is really beginning.

Meanwhile, I managed to sneak out to Theler Wetlands and Port Orchard again during a short sun break. I’m still amazed how the camera can pick up droplets of water when ducks run to get airborne.

pair of Buffleheads taking off

And, of course, a quick shutter speed makes it possible to actually freeze the wings, something the human eye can’t quite manage.

male Bufflehead in flight

Considering how bright the markings on the male Bufflehead, it’s probably a good thing that he seems even faster than his mate.

This shot also manages to “freeze time” but quite differently than the previous shot. It’s a shot of male Red-Breasted Mergansers in very different stages of donning their breeding colors.

male Red-Breasted Mergansers

It’s hard to believe that soon all three will look like the male in the center of the picture.

More Shots from Ridgefield

Fortunately, Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge has more to offer than just shorebirds. Although most of the places you can walk are off-limits for another month or two, in the short walk to the duck blind I managed to catch sight of a Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper

foraging for insects.

It didn’t take long to sight this pair of Greater Scaup,

Greater Scaup

which I rarely see.

Unfortunately, I can’t really share the most interesting moment of the morning. I had been standing in the duck blind for nearly half an hour enjoying a quiet, peaceful morning when suddenly every animal in the refuge started making noises, like this female Mallard.

female Mallard

From the racket I thought there had to be a predator nearby, but despite another fifteen minutes waiting I didn’t see a thing.

I finally gave up, got back in the car, and started driving again. I couldn’t figure why the car in front of me was going so slowly, until I spotted the predator walking calmly down the center of the road right in front of it.

Coyote beside Car

When the driver pulled over I got a better shot of the coyote, and he didn’t even turn around when I clicked the lens.


The driver told me the coyote seemed totally unconcerned and, in fact, had paused long enough to snack on a mouse beside the road.

It’s probably not a good thing that the coyote is so indifferent to people, particularly since the refuge is slowly but surely being surrounded by houses, but it is a great feeling experiencing nature this immediately.

Ridgefield Wilflife Refuge

Sadly, the best day I’ve had in quite a while was last Wednesday’s trek to my dentist in Vancouver. Even though the skies were heavily overcast, I stopped at Ridgefield National Wildlife before my lunch and dental appointment. Although I didn’t see anything notable and the pictures aren’t “great,” I got to see birds that I haven’t seen regularly since they revised Nisqually.

The highlight of the morning would have to be this shot of a Wilson’s Snipe.

Snipe With Gadwall

I was taking pictures of the male Gadwall when this Snipe landed right next to it. This is the first time I’ve ever recognized a Snipe when I first saw it, though I discovered awhile back that I had captured shots of a small flock of Snipes the previous year when I visited Ridgefield. I was surprised at how small Snipes are; I realized I’ve spent much of the last five years looking for a larger bird than it actually is.

I also saw a couple of Yellowlegs, a bird I used to see regularly at Nisqually,


but see rarely at Theler Wetlands.

I also saw a single Great Egret,

Great Egret

a bird seldom seen as far north as Seattle-Tacoma but one I regularly see when I visit California.

It was a nice break after a two and half hour drive on the Freeway, one that got me in the proper mood for lunch with Klaras and Terry.