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.

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.

Almost Real

The more you work with photographs, particularly with electronic equipment, the more you realize that there is no such thing as “realistic.” Modern cameras have multiple settings that determine how “realistic” your photos will be. Photoshop and an amazing number of plugins allow you to manipulate “reality” in remarkable ways.

These two immature swallows were too far apart to capture in a single shot, but Photoshop made it easy to join the shots and then move them closer together.

These two were sitting right next to each other, but I wanted a different effect than the original shot so I played around with it in Photoshop to make it look more like a drawing or watercolor.

Now, more than ever, photography has become its own art form, but it’s still the artist’s mind that that really decides what the viewer sees. It’s always been that way, of course, but some would have you believe otherwise.