Finally, Back to Theler Wetlands

I love my yard and nearby Pt Defiance Park, but I’ll have to admit I was thrilled when Washington’s Covid-19 lockdown eased enough that we felt comfortable visiting Theler Wetlands. There weren’t as many birds as we often see, but we saw a number of birds we never see at home, like this Cedar Waxwing we spotted at the beginning of our walk,

an Osprey diving for fish,

a Red-Breased Merganser with a fish,

a Killdeer hunting for food on the mudflats,

and our favorite Marsh Wren trying to attract a mate.

The highlight of the day, though, was seeing John Riegsecker, who we haven’t seen since he bought a new car in December. It’s hard to remember when I used to see him nearly weekly.

Swallows at Theler

Although we didn’t see as my swallows as I had expected to see on our latest trip to Theler, we did see three varieties commonly found there.

I expected Tree Swallows to be lining the railings on the boardwalk; instead, I found a single Tree Swallow hanging out on the barbwire near the lone birdhouse still standing.

Tree Swallow

The only bird I saw sitting on the railing was this Violet-Green Swallow, and it was so far away that  I didn’t get a very good shot even with my telephoto lens.

Violet-Green Swallow

I also expected to see Barn Swallows nesting under the boardwalk or bringing nesting materials back to build new nests, but I didn’t see one until we got back to the Salmon Center at the end of our hike. 

Barn Swallow

We’re looking forward to gradually visiting places where we need to use our car rather than just crossing the street and walking into Pt Defiance Park, though I’ll have to admit that it has been pleasant rediscovering parts of the park I’ve forgotten since Skye died.

At least it’s nice to know that life out there seems to be proceeding as usual, even if our life is anything but usual.

A Saturday Out

We celebrated Memorial Day Weekend by taking a short trip (but definitely the longest trip since my dental appointment two months ago) to Theler Wetlands in Belfair.  At first the trip made me a little sad because it was impossible to ignore the huge changes since we had been here before the lockdown.  

My spirits were lifted, though, by spotting my first Cedar Waxwing of the year  

even if it was reticent to have its picture taken.

Spotting this young weasel (mink?) on the bridge was definitely the highlight of the morning. 

This is not the first time I’ve spotted them at Theler, but they usually spot you and instantly disappear into the foliage.

This one, on the other hand, seemed nearly as curious about me as I was about it, 

leading me to believe that it was probably a young weasel.

We didn’t see any other mammals but did spot several varieties of birds, including this European Collared Dove,

this Red-Shafted Northern Flicker,

and this small flock of male Common Mergansers a long ways out near the mouth of the river. 

Normally I would associate the head tilt with some sort of mating display, but since there were no females in sight I couldn’t figure out what they were doing.  Perhaps they were responding to the Canada Goose that seemed to be telling them to shove off because this beach was already spoken for.  

Kestrel

As I noted on my last post,  I was quite pleased with the shot of the Peregrine Falcon, but that didn’t mean that I didn’t keep looking for other shots.  As it turned out, there weren’t too many.  I had hoped to get a last glimpse of the resident Kestrel before it left, but we never spotted it while walking. 

Luckily, Leslie spotted it as we drove out of the refuge, and I pulled over and managed several shots in the best light of the day. Amazingly, the Kestrel seemed relatively indifferent to me

and continued to pose until I had more than enough shots and left.

Despite some pretty good shots later in the day at Port Orchard, these shots turned out to be my favorite of the day.