Theler Wetlands

Sunday Morning at Theler

We just had one and a half days of sunshine, and Leslie and I took full advantage of them.  On Sunday morning we went to Theler Wetlands — where the forecast sunshine didn’t manifest itself, but at least it didn’t rain on us.

The overcast skies made it nearly impossible to capture these two Bald Eagles in flight, but they seemed nearly inseparable, landing and sitting together for long periods of time.

I suspect the eagles’ constant flybys scared away many of the ducks because we didn’t see nearly as many as usual, but the small flock of Green-Winged Teal was remarkably close to the pair.

Spring must be in the air because the eagles weren’t the only ones paired up.  This pair of Canada Geese was loudly letting other Canada Geese know that this area was already claimed so they should move on.

Birding seemed a little slower than usual, but if you listened intently enough you can always find songbirds like this Black-Capped Chickadee nearby.

The highlight of the morning for me was the Kestrel that Leslie spotted just as we were leaving the refuge.  I hesitated to take the picture because the sun was behind the Kestrel and the sky was so gray, but Lightroom and Photoshop helped to pull the colors out in the photo.

Theler Wetlands

Too Much of a Good Thing

It seems like that the heavy rain that escorted us home from Willows  California has stuck around for the last month and a half.  Desperate for a day out birding, Leslie and I decided to go out Monday, the day with the least amount of forecast rain.  

When I started to get ready the night, I was shocked that I didn’t know where much of my equipment was.  Turns out that I hadn’t unpacked most of it and had trouble remembering exactly where it was all packed.

Judging from the steady rain we’re having today, Monday may well be the best day of the week, but that’s not saying much.  Luckily I’m a true Pacific Northwesterner and don’t mind walking among the clouds.  

With weather like this, it’s impossible to capture birds in flight and it’s best to shoot for striking silhouettes like this shot of cormorants with mergansers in the background

or black and white images, like this shot of a Great Blue Heron with its feather coat.

By the time we turned around at the mid-point of our Theler walk, it was hard to tell if the clouds had finally decided to rest on the ground or if it was actually raining.  Naturally, it was precisely then that this Spotted Towhee

and Downy Woodpecker decided to pose.

Rain is what makes Washington the Ever-Green State, but I’ll have to admit I’m beginning to suffer from cabin fever and am looking forward to a few sunny days when I can plan a trip to Port Townsend or Westport

Theler Wetlands

Fall Birding

Birding is still relatively slow around here since the seabirds that overwinter haven’t returned in large numbers yet; I haven’t seen a single Goldeneye or Merganser and have seen only a few Bufflehead and Grebes.  Still, when the sun shines like it has this week it’s immoral not to get outside walking.  

Theler Wetlands has birds year-round, but when there’s no ducks, no geese, and few Blue Herons, you have to look harder than usual to find birds because more often than not this time of year they are trying to stay out of sight.  

This male House Finch was definitely the brightest bird I spotted on our visit.

I heard the Marsh Wren, but Leslie had to spot it for me.

Although it wasn’t advertising for a mate, it seemed to be trying to protect its territory from other birds. Apparently he needed to up his game, though, because this Song Sparrow landed on nearly the exact same reed the wren was on.

It’s probably wise not to advertise your presence too loudly, though, when predators like this Sharp-Shinned Hawk ( which might be the very similar Cooper’s Hawk) are flying overhead.

Theler Wetlands

I’m Okay

It’s Fall here in the Pacific Northwest, and Fall means lots of clouds (and lots of rain).  Unfortunately, it seems like the birds that usually overwinter here have been slow to return.  That means birding is still slow, and I’m not quite as eager to get out and walk.  Even when it doesn’t rain, it’s often afternoon before the clouds burn off.

Still, we manage to get out birding whenever sun is predicted, and at the very least are rewarded with brilliant Fall colors.

I’ve seen a lot less Cedar Waxwings this year than usual, so it’s a pleasure whenever I spot one, even if it’s in the distance.

There are lots of Killdeer at Theler Wetlands this time of year and

they’re occasionally joined by migrating shorebirds, like this Spotted Sandpiper.  

Even though other birders have reported larger shorebirds, this Yellowlegs is the largest one I’ve seen this year at Theler.

My exercise app usually doesn’t count most the 4+ miles we walk at Theler and Port Orchard as “exercise,” but that makes sense because it never feels like a chore to walk there.  It’s always a pleasure even if I spot very few birds and capture very few shots.