It’s Scaup Time

It’s finally showing signs of Spring in our garden, 

but, more importantly, the weather is improving and I’m able to get out and witness the early signs of Spring migrations on their way to their breeding sites in the Tundra.  I first sighted a large flock of Scaup in the bay outside Margaret’s house, but it was impossible to get a good shot of them because they paddled away as soon as I pointed my camera at them.

Luckily, there was a single Lesser Scaup at Port Orchard and it seemed indifferent to the camera and swam closer 

and closer.

I was a little surprised when I was at Westport a few days later to see another flock of Scaup. They, too, were pretty shy, but I liked this shot of a female Scaup as she looked back to see what I was up to.

Though my birding guide says they’re winter residents in the Puget Sound, I’ve only seen them in late Winter when they start gathering and moving North to their nesting area.

Odds and Ends

With all the rain we’ve had lately, I have only managed a few walks and there were so many people out taking advantage of the brief sunshine that there weren’t any birds near enough to get pictures of.  So, I decided to use some shots from previous trips that I haven’t posted previously.  

Although I’m well aware that Great Blue Herons nest in trees, I’m still surprised when I actually see one in a tree while not nesting.

I see a lot of Spotted Towhees on my walks, and in my backyard, but they’re usually seen skittering through the underbrush, not sitting on a branch looking down at me.

I don’t see many Red-Breasted Nuthatches, but I spotted this one on two different trips to Pt. Defiance Park so I was ready to get a shot of it before it could flit away like it did the first time I tried to get a shot.

We get quite a few Black-Capped Chickadees in our yard, but this Chestnut-Backed Chickadee, which had just emerged from a very enthusiastic bath, isn’t as common.

I would have offered it a towel, but I knew it wouldn’t stick around once I opened the patio door.

One More Time

Although I considered taking my camera on our recent snowshoeing trek through Pt. Defiance Park, I dismissed the idea because my hands were already full with two poles and a 600mm lens just plain doesn’t work well at close range.  As it often turns out, though, I regretted not bringing it because we saw a large number of Varied Thrushes on our trek, more than I have ever seen in one place, and closer than I have ever managed to get to them in our yard.

After that missed opportunity, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’m not going to get any better pictures than the ones I managed to get in our yard in the last two weeks.  

I’ll try not to wear out my welcome by posting any more pictures of Varied Thrushes this winter, but I can’t promise because I’ll have to admit I still grab my camera when I see one in the yard.  I’m not sure, though, whether that’s because I still find them quite beautiful or because I am coming down with a serious case of cabin fever.  

Thank God our second shot is only a couple of weeks away and we can begin to consider going a little further away from home.

More from Titlow

Although my favorite shots from our recent visit to Titlow were those of the Belted Kingfisher, I got a couple of other shots I liked.  If you want to see Double-Crested Cormorants up close, Titlow is a good place to start as there are usually dozens (or more) Cormorants standing on the pilings, 

and it’s easy to catch one in the traditional, air-drying pose.

I don’t think you can count on seeing Red-Breasted Mergansers here, but there was a pair there on the day we visited, and I managed to capture the best shot of the year so far, 

though I hope to get a closer shot sometime before they leave for their nesting area in the Spring.

Leslie even managed to spot a Hummingbird as we looped back to our car.

We ended the day with a sighting of a male Bufflehead that popped up right next to us.