And Not Just Hooded Mergansers

I think I’ve been an “environmentalist” most of my life, but until I became a “birder” I had no idea how important the Puget Sound was as a winter refuge for birds, nor did I realize how many different birds overwinter here. Of course, if you’ve been following me for several years you’ve already seen most of the birds that overwinter here. Luckily for me, seeing them after a long absence is almost like seeing them for the first time. Hopefully that’s not just due to age-induced dementia.

I don’t think I’ve shown any shot nearly this good of a Surf Scoter


for quite a while, though I’m sure I have better shots sitting somewhere on one of my hard drives. Truthfully, if I were to limit myself to first-ever or best-ever shots of birds, I wouldn’t have much left to say, but surely the wondrous beak on the male Surf Scoter deserves to be shown more than once.

Even the beak on this male Red-Breasted Merganser seems quite remarkable to me,


almost as remarkable, though not quite, as its chic hairstyle.

Barrow’s Goldeneye are nearly as common as Widgeons in Port Orchard,


but I can’t resist getting shots of that chevron on the male’s wing, and I’m always amazed at how different the male and female look.

Not sure why cormorants, particularly Pelagic Cormorants,


still appeal to me since it’s a year-round resident, but I’m always pleased when I’m able to capture that iridescent green on its neck.

I couldn’t recognize this bird when I first sighted it, though once I saw the profile clearly I recognized it was a Pigeon Guillemot


changing from its winter white coat to it’s black breeding colors. I had never seen this coloration until I saw it Monday, but Wednesday I saw a similar (or the same) bird down at Owens Beach.