Pelagic Cormorants and More

Although there were only two Pelagic Cormorants at Port Orchard when I was there, they posed almost as well as the far more numerous Surf Scoters.  I see Pelagic Cormorants on a lot of my walks but seldom as closely as I see them in the Port Orchard Marina where they rest on the docks, 

glide through the marina,

feeding on shrimp.

The greatest appeal of the Port Orchard Marina, though, is the diversity of birds you find there.  Soon these Horned Grebes will take center stage in their brilliant breeding plumage

and it’s tough to ignore the Baird’s Golden Eyes when you see them this close.

Surf Scoter

It’s often hard to decide what birds to post when you have seen a lot of birds, but sometimes the sheer number of shots of a particular species make it easy.  It was obvious that “the bird of the day” on our last visit was the Surf Scoter.  I’ve never seen so many at Port Orchard, nor have I seen them so close.  Usually you’re lucky to get a shot of them as they paddle away as you walk toward them.  

Not on this day. This one was waiting for me by the moored boats as I walked down the ramp.

Instead of paddling away, he seemed to check me out for a few minutes

before going back to hunting for food.

I’ll have to admit that I got caught up trying to capture the strangely beautiful reflections in the water, 

but I did capture this shot of  one  feeding on a weird giant sea-worm, apparently a popular food source here because you often see empty shells on the marina decks.

The gigantic worm almost made me forget how unique that bill is on a male Surf Scoter, but it’s impossible to miss.

Green-Winged Teal

It’s winter in the Pacific Northwest, and that means you’re lucky to get in a walk between rain showers. So, despite the lack of sunshine, I felt lucky to get in another walk at Theler Wetlands, even if what could have been a good shot of a Belted Kingfisher turned out to be a silhouette shot.

The highlight of the morning is that we finally managed to see the Green-Winged Teal, that have been around for quite awhile, closer than usual.  Most of the flock kept their distance, 

but I did manage to get a closer shot of a pair separated from the flock

and of a lone male that bravely (or foolishly, considering it is still hunting season) came a lot closer than the others did.

I’ll have to admit that I was a little surprised when it  waddled up onto the shore, 

but I was grateful for the pose.

A Welcome Visitor

Leslie and I have done our best to create a garden where birds and bees flourish all year round.  So, when I read several years ago that you should leave leaves on flowerbeds to provide an areas where birds can forage (and avoid work) you can bet that I decided I would leave the leaves on until Spring.  As a result, we’ve been visited by a favorite bird several times in the winter in the last few years, although our Varied Thrush(es) seem to have  shown up later this year than in previous years.

I’d almost given up hope of seeing one this year, but suddenly two started showing up in the back yard several days in a row.  Unfortunately, they usually show up in the rainiest, foggiest time of the day, making it a real challenge to get a decent shot, especially since they are masters of camouflage. 

The easiest place to spot them is in the plum tree, but it’s damn near impossible to get a clear shot of them there.

I actually managed to get a shot of one when there was a break in the clouds, but it obviously saw me because all I could get was a shot of it skittering away.

I’m still waiting for the perfect, sunlit shot, but, until that day, I’m satisfied with this shot taken in the shade of the plum tree and adjusted in Adobe Lightroom and sharpened and denoised in Topaz Sharpen AI.