Local Birding is Slow

Things have been quiet around here because local birding is relatively quiet.  A quick visit to Theler Wetlands on Thursday certainly confirmed that.  Although we were greeted by a virtual symphony of bird songs, our actual sightings were quite limited.  

A highlight of our visit was a sighting of our resident Marsh Wren 

whose wetlands have finally recovered from last Winter’s snow and high tides.

We think we sighted several Tree Swallows in flight, but I was only capture a few shots of the Barn Swallows resting on the rails.

We hadn’t seen or heard the Belted Kingfisher on our last few visits, but this female Kingfisher flew down on a branch right in front of us.

I would have to say that the highlight of the day was the brilliant greens of early Summer foliage highlighted by a variety of purple flowers like these delicate flowers found in the deepest shade

and these showier stalk that lined the trail  in more open areas.

Ironically, I could have gotten more shots of birds and flowers in my backyard, but then we wouldn’t have gotten the four mile walk in.

Great Blue Herons

Most photographers go to Big Beef Creek to get photographs of the Bald Eagles, but, as I’ve noted before, I’m probably drawn more by the Great Blue Heron and their interaction with the Bald Eagles.  

Unfortunately, by the time the herons started catching fish and attracting the attention of the Bald Eagles they were so far out that it was nearly impossible to get decent shots unless you had a better lens than my 500mm Canon lens.  This was the only shot that I liked, and it is heavily cropped.

Luckily, when Big Beef Creek is disappointing, there’s always Seabeck itself where you can get much closer to the Great Blue Heron, so close that it’s hard not to cut parts of the bird off.  Even on this trip when the number of birds was disappointing, there were several herons catching fish at Seabeck.

Not only can I get close to the GBH, it’s one of the few places where you are looking down on them when they fly by. I’m always amazed by the length of their wings.

I’ll have to admit that I already have far too many shots of Great Blue Herons standing around, but they much more interesting when they’re actually doing something — like catching a fish.

Their beak makes them a formidable hunter.

Loren’s Good to Go

After nearly six months of being poked, prodded — and injected with radioactive dyes, the doctors have finally decided that I’m “normal,” or, at least, I can pass for normal.  

Sometime in January my new Apple Series 4 watch decided that I was having an aFib episode.  I decided perhaps I should consult the local Urgency Care Clinic, and they decided  that my watch’s reading was accurate, that I should go to the Emergency Room.  Perhaps I  should have, but in doing so I seem to have lost control of my life because I have spent much of the last six months being tested for possible ailments. 

Turns out at 77 that not everything works (or looks) as it used to.  The first tests were directly related to the aFib episode and probably my family history since my father and both my brothers have had heart issues.  I waited 3 weeks to get my first test and another week to get a stress test.  A week and a  half later I got in to see the cardiologist for the results.  My heart tested within the “normal” range though it was slightly enlarged and had a slightly leaky valve.  I was given some medicine to regulate my heart and blood thinners to prevent heart attacks, and, more importantly, to me, at least, to prevent strokes.  I felt pretty good before I started taking the medicines, but it took longer than I would have liked to adjust them.  For awhile I had trouble just getting up and down, much less exercising.  

It would have been nice if the medical procedures had ended there, but they didn’t.  Turns out when they took the original x-rays in the Emergency Room they saw some spots on my lungs.  My primary doctor followed up with another x-ray a few weeks later and the spots still showed up.  She referred me to my pulmonologist who had me get yet another x-ray.  When the same spots showed up, he sent me in for an abdominal CT scan. The results were pretty much normal, but the test showed a cyst on my kidney and some other artifacts.

As a result, a week later I was scheduled for a abdominal/pelvic CT scan.  The result came back just a few days ago, and everything was apparently normal except for the small cyst on one of my kidneys, which is apparently quite common in older patients. Nothing to worry about, I was told. Since I had to have a blood test to make sure my kidneys were operating correctly before each CT scan, I feel assured that the cyst hasn’t compromised my kidneys too much.

It feels good to be resuming my workouts at nearly full level, and I’m looking forward to taking a field trip in the near future. Of course, if I were a worrier,  I might wonder if all those radioactive dyes and x-rays might have consequences of their own … 

Luckily, after three bouts with cancer I seldom make plans for anything further away than six months.  Carpe Diem!