Old Friends Passing Through

Theler is too far away to call it “home,” but it’s close enough that I go there regularly to bird when I don’t intend to make it an all-day, or longer, trip. In that sense, it’s “home,” the place I know and love best. It may not have the AHHHH factor of Malheur or Bear River in Utah, but there’s something to be said for familiarity, for the known, and the better I get to know the wetlands the more I love them.

When I recently saw these Yellowlegs, it was like greeting old friends I hadn’t seen for a while. It made my morning spending fifteen minutes visiting.






I wished them well as they continued their journey.


I sometimes forget that the first pictures I ever posted to this blog were pictures of flowers, especially flowers from Pt Defiance Park, which is just down the street from where I live. Of course, that was before I had taken up birding and invested so heavily in camera equipment particularly suited to birding, not taking closeups of flowers.

Last year’s purchase of a 100-400mm zoom lens, though, made it easy to shift from taking pictures of birds to closeups of flowers. I bought the lens with Theler Wetlands in mind because it’s a great place to get shots of birds and flowers. And there’s never been a better time to focus on flowers because this has been a great Spring for tree blossoms because it’s been extra warm and we’ve had very little rain.

Unfortunately, except for the plum-tree in my backyard I can’t tell cherry blossoms from plum blossoms from apple blossoms. Luckily, I can still tell white blossoms from pink blossoms, and the white blossoms seemed to come first.


But before long the pinkish buds began to reveal their full beauty,


though I found the contrast between the pinks and whites hard to capture.


The wild roses quickly followed our three record-setting 80 degree days,


and so did the wild iris.


Nothing quite like being surrounded by beauty


and birds all day.

And a Belted Kingfisher, Too

When strangers ask me if I’m a bird photographer, my usual reply is that I’m a wildlife photographer and that birds are just the easiest form of wildlife to find. Of course, I’m not really a wildlife photographer, either. Maybe I come closest to being a nature photographer, at least if you count people as part of nature.

If I were a wildlife photographer, though, my favorite subject would have to be River Otters, and, conveniently, we observed a river otter laying on the dock at Fort Worden precisely where we saw the river otter family the last time we visited. This one seemed to be enjoying a recent meal laying in the warm sunshine.


Of course, you can only take so many pictures of a sleeping otter, so I went to the other side of the dock to see what else might be around. Before long I noticed an otter swimming out into the sound, diving,


and looking around when it surfaced.


Eventually I tired of waiting for it to resurface, and I went back to birding. When I walked around the building, Leslie pointed out that the otter had returned with a meal.


I must admit I was a little surprised how well this “river” otter adapted to the Puget Sound.

To cap the whole wonderful day off, I also got a shot of Port Townsend’s resident Belted Kingfisher resting on exactly the same pier he was resting on a month ago when we were here.


A Red-Breasted Merganser

Although the climax of my recent trip to Port Townsend was photographing the Harlequin Ducks, getting a good shot of this male Red-Breasted Merganser was a close, and unexpected, second. When I spotted this guy, I quit taking shots of the Horned Grebes and the River Otter and worked my way down the beach to see if I could get close enough to get a good shot.

I did.


I must have spent nearly a half hour photographing this bird, but much of that time was spent waiting for it to resurface after it dove.


Patience definitely pays off when trying to photograph wildlife.