Fits and Starts

I’ve been neglecting my blog lately because birding is slow, the weather, until recently, has been less than cooperative, and we still haven’t committed to hitting the road during this pandemic.  It’s certainly not helpful that I’m finding it difficult to finish books that I’ve started and even harder to actually write something about the ones that I have finished.  

Luckily, recent weather forecasts of freezing temperatures have been wrong and we have been having an Indian Summer, which has gotten us out of the house and walking more regularly.  Unfortunately, when we are focusing on exercise, and not birding, I usually leave my camera home unless we’re hiking on Mt. Rainier.

So, on our recent walk to The Dunes area in Pt. Defiance Park and the return through the Rose Garden I was forced to resort to using my iPhone 11 camera.  Though it failed miserably to capture shots of the Sea Lions sunning on the rocks along the shore, it did manage to capture some nice shots of the flowers.

The roses took a beating from the week-long rains, but there are still new ones emerging as long as the predicted freezing doesn’t occur.

The dahlias really seem to take center-stage in the Fall, though, and they seem unfazed by a little rain and cooler temperatures. The hardest part of photographing them is remembering what pictures I’ve posted of them previously.  I don’t remember posting this one, but recently I have trouble remembering what day of the week it is, so forgive me if the same shot appears in “Related.”

I seriously doubt that I could have seen this one previously and not posted it, 

but some things are so beautiful they shouldn’t be ignored. 

Theler in the Sunshine

It sometimes seems that life is conspiring to keep us from visiting Theler Wetlands.  For instance, we had several days in a row without a single thing to do, but the rain clouds finally decided it was Fall and moved in.  Finally, despite the fog, I decided to head out for Belfair since we desperately needed exercise and Belfair is my favorite place to walk even if we walk too slowly to count as “Exercise” according to my Apple watch.

We hit patches of heavy fog several times on the way their, and I was getting a little worried since Belfair is usually foggy even when the drive there is sunny.  Surprise.  We were greeted by blue skies and moonshine.

Although we could hear birds in the woods, the spiderwebs took center stage, reminding us that it is, indeed, Fall.

There still aren’t a lot of birds, but there were a few Green-Winged Teal that managed to hide in the distant shadows.  Luckily, the Killdeer were far more indifferent, allowing some nice close-ups.

I spotted this Yellowlegs (Greater, I think) a long way out on the first part of our walk, but it, too, seemed indifferent to us when we returned.  

There were several gulls to be seen, but this Ring-Billed Gull kept flying by, forcing me to see if I could get a good shot of it in flight.  Several of the photos were blurry, but this one captured it nicely. 

It would have been a perfect day if we could have stopped at our favorite Mexican restaurant in Port Orchard on the way home, but right now I’ll certainly settle for a few more days like this.


Even on the worst day, and my recent trip to Vancouver for my semi-annual dental checkup seemed like a “worst day,” we can find something to make our day a little better. Usually when I visit Vancouver I meet up with fellow teachers, but that wasn’t possible with Covid-19 restrictions, the second time that has happened this year.  To make matters worse, it poured most of the 120 mile I drove; there were cars off the road and rescue vehicles blocking lanes, not to mention idiot drivers who didn’t seem to believe you don’t have to drive the speed limit on flooded roads, though it was clear to me after the RAV hydroplaned twice.

Thankfully, by the time I got to the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge the rain had slowed to a drizzle, and I was able to get in a three mile walk before sitting in the dentist’s chair for an hour and another three hours to drive home.

Unfortunately, there weren’t a lot of birds on the refuge because they hadn’t flooded most of the fields yet.  I did manage to see some birds I don’t see in Tacoma.  In fact, I was greeted at the entrance by a Great White Egret.

I probably wouldn’t have taken a picture of it since it refused to pose for me and if I had been in California where they are as common as crows,  but, since I haven’t been to California much this year,  I took several shots.

I also managed to get several shots of White Pelicans flying overhead, another bird I seldom see in the Puget Sound area.

Red-Shafted Flickers are common in Tacoma, but this was still my favorite shot of the day.


He may have been posing for me because he knew I was having a tough day.

Back to Mt. Rainier

We got lucky last week on our latest visit to Mt. Rainier, managing to duck both the smoke and the clouds.  We hiked another part of the Wonderland Trail, a section heading west from Longmire.  The trail began in deep, Old Growth Forest

with ferns, fallen trees and bubbling springs.

After a couple of miles the Old Growth Forest gave way to 2nd Growth forest and open meadows

dominated by deciduous trees and shrubs, providing some beautiful Fall colors,  

which complemented Mt. Rainier’s fresh dusting of snow.