Mr. Reliable

With record rain in the month of December, Leslie and I managed to get in one trip to Theler Wetlands this month, and despite a favorable forecast Leslie had to return to the parking lot to get her umbrella. Apparently that was enough of a charm to dispel the rain, but it was dark and overcast the whole day. A high tide and high winds didn’t improve the birding, but all of those probably contributed to getting close to this Great Blue Heron twice.

It greeted us at the beginning of the trail, just beyond the first big pond,


and, although it appeared to be hiding at first, it never did fly off while we were there, allowing me to get several great poses.


Although we spotted a few Mallards, Northern Pintails, Bufflehead, and Green-Winged Teal on our walk, they were all so far away and the lighting was so bad that I didn’t manage to get a single good shot of any of them.

However, the Great Blue Heron was still there when we returned an hour and a half later though the rising water had driven it a few yards away.


If it hadn’t been for two other visitors, I would have gotten another great shot of the heron on the railing of the boardwalk, where it was apparently posing while waiting for me to finally get there. It’s nice to know that I can always count on the Great Blue Herons for a good shot when all the other birds seem to have vanished.

A Guest Drops In

Continuous rain has made it nearly impossible to get out birding. Even when I do get outside for a walk, I seldom take my camera equipment because of the threat of rain. So, it was a treat when this Varied Thrush showed up in my back yard while I was making cookies.


What was even more of a treat was that it stuck around long enough for me to go upstairs and get my camera and then stuck around even longer for several shots. I am pretty sure that leaving leaves in the flower beds until Spring, a hint from the Audubon society, is what attracts the bird.


It spent the whole time I was watching it turning over leaves looking for bugs.

I was surprised that it kept coming closer and closer, although it was clear that it saw me at the open patio door.


I assume it must have been curious because he jumped on top of our garden Buddha and gave me a close look before disappearing into the fir tree.


Now, if it would just show up on a sunnier day I could properly capture its bright colors and really do its beauty justice.

Feeling Blue

Though I’m sure we’ve had a little more than two hours of sunshine here in the Puget Sound area in the month of December, that’s all I’ve had to photograph in so far this month.

It’s hard to deny that even the black and white ducks, like this female Bufflehead, seems much more striking in sunlight,


not to mention this Horned Grebe with its distinctive red eye.


Certainly the female Red-Breasted Mergansers with their rufous heads and bright orange beaks stand out with a little sunshine,


though not as much as the brilliantly colored beak of this Surf Scoter.


Around here, sunshine gives an entirely different meaning to feeling “blue.”

Between trying to get ready for Christmas and unrelenting rain, all the birding I’ve managed to get in so far in December is a couple quick trips to the nearby trail at Point Ruston because I can get there between showers.

It’s a popular place for Barrow’s Goldeneye,


an occasional Common Goldeneye


and Surf Scoters.


Best of all, it seems to be the new home of the female Belted Kingfisher I haven’t seen for a year or so at the Point Defiance Marina.


It made my day when she landed on the fence a mere 12 feet away from me and posed long enough to get several shots.