A Big Catch at Spring Lake

I remember being surprised the first time I saw Cormorants at Lake Ralphine and Spring Lake because I’ve always associated them with Puget Sound or the Ocean. Over the years, though, I’ve become so accustomed to seeing them there I ignore them most of the time.

It was impossible, though, to ignore the commotion on Spring Lake created by these cormorants.

I instinctively focused on the group and ended up with this shot of a cormorant with a huge fish.

Apparently the other cormorants weren’t immediately willing to concede defeat and pursued the lucky cormorant while it tried to block them with its wings.

I was amazed to see the cormorant swallow the fish whole.

Perhaps the other cormorants didn’t think it possible, either, because they didn’t give up pursuit until the tail had nearly disappeared.

Now I know why there are so many cormorants and mergansers — not to mention fishermen — on these two lakes.

More from Lake Ralphine and Spring Lake

Although it’s my favorite, the Acorn Woodpecker isn’t the only bird I look forward to seeing while walking around the two lakes in Santa Rosa.

Although I often see Common Mergansers at Belfair this time of year, I never see them as close up as I do at Lake Ralphine.

Working on this picture I couldn’t figure out why the head didn’t look quite right when I realized that the head is coated with water, that the merganser had just raised its head out of the water and the beak and head were still glazed with water.

I missed seeing the Swans at Lake Ralphine but got a glimpse of this Swan on Spring Lake.

I was disappointed at the beginning of the walk when I didn’t see a single Snowy Egret on Lake Ralphine but was relieved when this one posed for me on our routine. It was so close that I had to back up to keep it in the frame.

The two birds I didn’t see I expected/wanted to see were a Green Heron and a Night Heron.

Splish Splash

We spent our first two days in Santa Rosa looking out the window at the rain and wind we thought we had left in Puget Sound. On the third day we visited Lake Ralphine and Spring Lake where we were greeted by this Acorn Woodpecker before we even managed to get out of the car.

Unfortunately, this bird wanted nothing to do with me, or the sunshine.

Fortunately on returning to our car this one was much more cooperative and kept an eye on me while taking an afternoon splash.

It put on quite a show that must have lasted five minutes

or more.

Meadowlark at Colusa NWR

I’ll have to admit that with the gray skies I considered skipping Colusa NWR after sighting the Vermillion Flycatcher because I couldn’t imagine seeing anything more exciting the rest of the day. I guess habit kept me on my way. We didn’t see anything nearly as exciting as the Vermillion Flycatcher at Colusa; in fact, it was downright dull most of the way.

I’ve deleted most of the shots I took at Colusa because they don’t match shots I’ve taken there before, but sitting in front of my computer looking at several shots of this Western Meadowlark it occurred to me that if it had been the first time I’d ever seen one it might have struck me as remarkable as the Vermillion Flycatcher.

The black necklace complements the Meadowlark’s bright yellow breast and eyebrows.

Apparently I must have seemed as common to the bird as it seemed to me as it took a second to glance over at me

and proceeded to search for food.

Unfortunately we weren’t treated to its beautiful song (probably because it’s the wrong time of year), but its striking looks and delightful song would have to compare favorably with any bird.

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