Smoke, smoke, and more smoke

I’ve been wanting to go to the beach to see if I could still catch some of the Fall shorebird migration, so when I read a forecast saying that Ocean Shores wasn’t getting the smoke Tacoma was getting from Eastern Washington, I decided that we should try to get out of the house.  We soon found out that it wasn’t going to be that easy to escape the fog.

When we got to Ocean Shores there was a little less smoke than there was in Tacoma when we left, but it was hard to tell what was fog and what was smoke.  This shot of a sailboat out in the harbor is pretty close to the actual conditions.

The closer the subject, the better the shot, as this Brown Pelican flew by less than 100 yards away from us.

This Sanderling, on the other hand, was so close that the smoke/fog didn’t make much difference and the shot could easily be adjusted to compensate for the lack of light in Lightroom.

The smoke was so dense in Westport that Leslie wouldn’t let me get out of the car since the air was labeled extremely hazardous.  As it turned out, by early afternoon the wind had shifted from the East to the Southwest and Westport was getting the smoke from fires in California and Oregon instead of from Eastern Washington fires.

Still, after a two-hour drive, I wasn’t ready to give up and head back home.  The best shots of the day were the shots of the Brown Pelicans in Tokeland, but there was so little light that all of the shots were underdeveloped and slightly fuzzy, 

even after adjusting them in Lightroom and Photoshop.

Modern cameras can do some marvelous things, particularly when paired with good software, but nothing can replace the magic of sunlight.  These might have been fabulous shots with good light, but they will be deleted after this post.

Dahlia Time

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been nearly a month since we visited the Rose Garden to see the dahlias in full bloom. Time seems to go much slower when the smoke is so thick that you can’t leave the house for nearly a week and half. I’ll have to admit that just looking at these shots cheered me up a little bit.

I’ve posted so many dahlia pictures in this blog over the years that I have to remind myself that I love them just as much every summer as I did the summer before.  After all, absence makes the heart grow fonder.

It’s hard to imagine that this beauty wouldn’t always seem striking:

Certainly the bees never seem to lose their fondness for them.

Judging from the number of  photos I’ve posted over the years, this would have to be my favorite.

I’ll have to admit, though, this 

was my favorite shot of the day.

Sunday at Theler

I’ll have to admit that I found our last birding trip to Theler Wetlands a bit disappointing, though in retrospect, after three days of being confined to the house because of hazardous smoke conditions, it appears to have been a delightful day.  

It began with a quick sighting of an American Goldfinch

another sighting of a male Red Crossbill, 

a juvenile Marsh Wren indulging in an extended dust bath, 

a Cedar Waxwing, 

and, best of all, because it’s seen least often, a Spotted Sandpiper apparently walking on water.

An Osprey Day

It’s possible to see hundreds of different birds at Theler Wetlands throughout the year so you never know what to expect.  I go there precisely because you can see so many different birds.  Still, there are days when one, particular bird takes center stage.  On a recent trip, three (possibly four) Ospreys captured our attention.

We had just started our walk when Leslie spotted this Osprey across the river.  

It was too far away to get a very good shot, but I was surprised when another Osprey suddenly appeared from the opposite direction

and flew so close that the biggest challenge was trying not to cut off a body part when taking a picture.

It barely glanced at us before circling over the river.  

It was obvious on its second pass that it had spotted a fish,

It dropped from the sky so quickly it was impossible to keep it in frame and hit the water so hard that my Canon had a hard time figuring out what to focus on.

I would have been more disappointed if I had missed a shot of it catching a salmon, but, as it turned out, it missed its target.

We must have spent nearly a half hour observing the Osprey on this visit, but on our visit a week later we didn’t see a single Osprey.