I’m Finally Seeing Lots of Sea Ducks

Although I still haven’t sighted a Harlequin or male Red-Breasted Merganser, this is my favorite time of year to bird in Washington because the Puget Sound area is a winter refuge for Sea Ducks.

One of my favorites is the male Bufflehead,

but its tendency to dive when frightened makes it less exciting to photograph than Goldeneyes,

which run away and take flight when frightened.

I love the challenge of catching birds in flight

and the Goldeneyes in Port Orchard have given me lots of tries at getting a good shot over the last few years.

Since they seem to make a call when frightened, sometimes you can even get a shot of them when they fly from behind you.

Quiet Time With Friends

Although Christmas is usually “hectic,” we’ve managed to find time for some of our mellower friends, too. Even though I quit featuring them in recent years, I always enjoy greeting the friendly Song Sparrows

whose happy song invariably greets us at Theler Wetlands

I’m sure I often fail to distinguish Fox Sparrows

from Song Sparrows, but I think this is a Fox Sparrow. It’s clear why even experienced birders sometimes refer to them all as LBJ’S (Little Brown Jobs).

Small female Buffleheads

are easily overlooked since they aren’t much bigger and are even shyer.

An Elegant Duck

The first time I ever photographed a Northern Pintail I remember thinking to myself, “My God, that’s what Mr. Mallard would look like in a Tux.” It is, quite simply, an ELEGANT duck.

You can imagine my shock, then, when I realized that Pintails feed not in pristine lake waters but in grubby marshy areas.

The first time I saw a Pintail wading in the mud I wanted to yell, “Get out of there, you’re going to ruin your beautiful suit.”

Turns out that some of the most beautiful ducks spend much of their time wallowing in muddy tide flats. The number of beautiful male Green-Winged Teals

have exploded at Theler Wetlands since they breached the dike.

They run around the wetlands busily ”filtering mud with bill, up-ending, or picking items from water’s surface.”

John Lennon’s “Happy XMAS”

I love Christmas too much to post this much nearer Christmas, but when I bought a John Lennon album recently and saw this video right after seeing shots from Aleppo, I couldn’t help but cry.

I was born in 1941, 75 years ago and it seems like America has been fighting a war somewhere in the world ever since.

Sorry folks, Trump ain’t the worse thing to ever happen to America. Simply put the Military/Industrial complex that Eisenhower warned about has drained America of any moral superiority we might have ever had.