Yet Another GBH Shot

Despite having a “hard-drive full” of Great Blue Heron shots, I keep taking new shots of them. For one thing, they can be counted on. When Leslie and I took Lael and Mira to Theler Friday evening the wind was so fierce all but a few gulls were hunkered down, trying to stay out of the wind. Half way through the walk, though, a heron took off a few feet from us and flew across the wetlands.


On another recent visit when birding was also slow, this heron was so close that I had to photomerge the bird and its reflection.


In the end, I kept it because I liked the mono-chromatic colors.

This shot also had to be photomerged; the head and tail are two separate shots.


Though I’ll probably end up deleting this shot once I’ve blogged it because I have better shots than this, I find it nearly impossible to ignore a four-foot tall bird stalking this close to me, particularly when it


is carrying a lethal weapon like this. I’m just glad I’m not what it is hunting.

I’d like to promise that this is the last Great Blue Heron shot I’ll ever post, but that’s probably not true. I’m always thinking my next shot will be my best shot ever, and even when it’s not I’m thinking it’s better than a blank page.

Green-Winged Teal

Although I’ve never been entirely convinced that the radical changes at Theler Wetlands will have the benefits promised, I have been closely following the effects those changes have on the bird population. An unexpected change (for me at least) has been the major increase in the number of Green-Winged Teal, a bird I used to rarely see there, and invariably tucked into a flock of Northern Pintails, Widgeons, etc. No longer, flocks of them are regulars at Theler now.

Green-Winged Teal are the smallest of the ducks, about twice as large as a Dunlin.


There’s no mistaking the male for any other duck, but the female is much harder to tell apart from other female ducks (unless it’s with a male, of course.)


I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen three Green-Winged Teal males together before, but it’s not at all uncommon at Theler to see males flocking together.


This picture is cropped a little, but I’m pretty sure it’s the closest I have ever gotten to a male Green-Winged Teal.


Overall, I’m afraid that I’m seeing less birds locally over the last few years, but it’s nice to know that at least this species seems to be thriving in Theler’s new habitat.

It’s Canada Goose Time of Year

Considering their size, its hard to believe that Canada Geese can be ‘invisible,’ but the truth is that most of the year they are so much a part of the landscape that most people, including myself, hardly notice them, and large flocks may even be considered a “nuisance” by officials. Strangely enough, when the flocks start to break up in the Spring and the geese pair up it is nearly impossible to miss them,


no matter how well they blend in with their environment.

Once they begin to pair off, there is constantly a pair of geese flying overhead,


and more than likely one of them will either be answering the challenge of another pair of geese below or issuing their own challenge.

At Theler, at least, every pair seems destined to land in the Union River,


where they will confront, or be confronted by, other Canada Geese with exactly the same intention of staking out part of the river as their nesting ground.


Luckily, considering their size and strength, most of these confrontations seem more verbal than physical, and invariably one pair will be left serenely surveying their domain,


at least until their goslings appear.

True Gold

Birds may take center stage on my walks, at least photographically, but that doesn’t mean I’m unaware of the setting. That’s never more true than in Spring, when Chartreuse leaves line the trail,


reflecting Spring sunshine, and newly emerged Skunk Cabbage


illuminates even the darkest corners of Theler’s wetlands.

Oregon Grape blossoms in Theler’s Master Garden carry on the theme,


while Daffodils, less subtle,


trumpet forth Spring’s glory:

Fear not, winter has finally passed and Summer’s bounty is near at hand.