A Day in Port Townsend

We got a slight break in the clouds Sunday and Monday.  Unfortunately, we had to spend the best day, Sunday, working in the garden pruning and beating back the weeds.  Still, with partial clearing forecast, we headed up to Fort Flagler and Port Townsend on Monday.

The weather didn’t look promising when we left, but there were some clear spots to the Northeast and it seemed silly not to go since we had already arranged our day to do so.  

Although it was overcast our entire drive, we magically got to Fort Flagler just in time to catch a patch of blue.  As we drove up, we saw hundreds of plovers and sandpipers on the lawn by the café.

When we started our beach walk to the end of the spit, we realized that the shorebirds were on the grass because the tide was very high and there wasn’t any short to speak of.  However, a large flock of Brant was up near the shore feeding on seaweed

Before long we were assaulted by high winds and snow/sleet.  Despite the numb forehead, I was determined to spot the Harlequin ducks I had come to see.  We finally spotted a small flock a long, long way offshore and by then the sun had virtually disappeared.  My 400mm lens combined with Photoshop managed to confirm that they were, indeed, Harlequins.

We also spotted another favorite, a male Red-Breasted Merganser, in the same area making a good photo impossible, but I still was excited to see the first one I’ve seen in over a year.

The highlight of the walk turned out to be the little Sanderlings that ran up and down the shore right next to us, so close at times that my telephoto lens couldn’t focus on them.  

As an added benefit, closeups seem to require less light

and this was my favorite shot of the morning.

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