The Beach Is Calling Me

After an unusually sunny few days, our usual Pacific Northwest Rains have returned and I finally have time to process the many photos that I’ve taken in the last week.  With Leslie gone I’ve managed to get out to take pictures every single day for the last five days; now I just have to find the time to sort and edit them.

On the visit to Port Orchard where I saw the Scaup, I also found the birds I’ve been seeing throughout the winter.  Since it had been quite awhile since I had been there, I was worried that the Horned Grebes might have gotten their breeding plumage and moved on as they do every spring, but the few that I saw were still in winter plumage.

I suspect that the Barrow’s Goldeneyes have started to pair off, but there was still a small flock of them in the marina.

I saw more Western Grebes

than usual and much closer to the marina than usual.

The bird of the day, though, had to be this Pigeon Guillemot, the first I’ve seen this year.

Seeing the Western Grebe and the Pigeon Guillemot inspired me to go to Ocean Shores and Westport the next day because that’s where I’m most apt to see them and I haven’t been there for awhile.

I’m still taking precautions, wearing a mask, and ordering to-go, but, having finished two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, I’m starting to spread my wings and venture out more often.

Pelagic Cormorants and More

Although there were only two Pelagic Cormorants at Port Orchard when I was there, they posed almost as well as the far more numerous Surf Scoters.  I see Pelagic Cormorants on a lot of my walks but seldom as closely as I see them in the Port Orchard Marina where they rest on the docks, 

glide through the marina,

feeding on shrimp.

The greatest appeal of the Port Orchard Marina, though, is the diversity of birds you find there.  Soon these Horned Grebes will take center stage in their brilliant breeding plumage

and it’s tough to ignore the Baird’s Golden Eyes when you see them this close.

Surf Scoter

It’s often hard to decide what birds to post when you have seen a lot of birds, but sometimes the sheer number of shots of a particular species make it easy.  It was obvious that “the bird of the day” on our last visit was the Surf Scoter.  I’ve never seen so many at Port Orchard, nor have I seen them so close.  Usually you’re lucky to get a shot of them as they paddle away as you walk toward them.  

Not on this day. This one was waiting for me by the moored boats as I walked down the ramp.

Instead of paddling away, he seemed to check me out for a few minutes

before going back to hunting for food.

I’ll have to admit that I got caught up trying to capture the strangely beautiful reflections in the water, 

but I did capture this shot of  one  feeding on a weird giant sea-worm, apparently a popular food source here because you often see empty shells on the marina decks.

The gigantic worm almost made me forget how unique that bill is on a male Surf Scoter, but it’s impossible to miss.

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.