Goldeneye Watching

Although I see a lot of Goldeneye on our walks through Pt. Defiance Park, I never manage to get as close as I do at the Port Orchard Marina.  Usually I get the best close-ups when they are inside the marina, but on our last visit I had to chase them down along the sidewalk because there were so many boats in the marina.

Usually, they’re content to just float along, like this pair, 

but occasionally I get lucky and one will show off their uniques wing pattern like this

or take off from a running start

and land a few feet away for no apparent reason

other than to give me a chance to practice my photographic skills.

Port Orchard Marina

Whenever we bird the east side of Puget Sound we begin by walking Theler Wetlands and end by walking the Port Orchard marina. I suspect I walk them in this order because I discovered Theler long before I discovered Port Orchard — and because it is a habit.  If I were only interested in wildlife photos, I probably wouldn’t bother to walk Theler this time of year and would spend all of my time at Port Orchard because I can get a lot closer to the birds in Port Orchard and because they are so accustomed to people that they don’t immediately dive when you try to take a shot, not to mention that I am more apt to see favorites like this Horned Grebe, 

Pelagic Cormorant, 

Double-Crested Cormorant,

and Hooded Mergansers.

Sunday Afternoon at Port Orchard

Although I’m still not seeing as my birds at Port Orchard as I have in past years, we did see quite a few different varieties at Port Orchard last Sunday, some for the first time this year

I have seen Hooded Mergansers on several previous visits, but the light hasn’t been good enough until Sunday to almost capture their beauty.

It would have helped if this guy had ever fully displayed the magnificent hood that gives it its name.

I actually saw more Barrow’s Goldeneye on my last visit, but this is the first time I’ve had enough light to capture one in flight.

I spotted a Western Grebe too far away to get a good shot, but I couldn’t resist taking one anyway.

I’ve seen Pigeon Guillemot’s in breeding and non-breeding plumage, but I’ve never seen one in transition quite like this. No wonder I only recognized it by its silhouette.

Seeing the Western Grebe and the Guillemot inspired me to go to Ocean Shores and Westport the next day since sunshine was in the forecast.