Waughop Lake

After a week of only being able to walk with a crutch, I was looking for a relatively flat place to walk near Paul’s house and remembered that Waughop Lake used to be a good place to see overwintering birds.  However, when we got there, it was clear that the lake has changed considerably since visiting it a year ago.  First of all, it has shrunk considerably.  All the lilies that used to line the lake have died out because the water has receded. The ducks I’m used to seeing have been replaced by Canada Geese, and I didn’t see a single Grebe.

In fact, the only unusual bird I saw was this Scrub-Jay, which is a relative newcomer to the Pacific Northwest.

As disappointing as the birding was, this view of Mr. Rainier in its winter coat was well the effort of climbing the hill above the lake.  

Birding Waughop Lake

Our record-breaking streak of sunny days this late in the year has kept me from finishing Hesse’s third novel, but I figure there will be plenty of rainy days coming up that are better suited for reading.

Leslie was gone, so I took the pickup and drove to the nearby Lake Waughop again.  I was surprised at how low the water was and was wondering where all the ducks had gone since I wasn’t seeing any close to shore.  Turned out there were lots of ducks, but they were all out in the middle of the lake, far too far away for a good shot. 

About the only bird I saw near the shore was this Double-Crested Cormorant.  In the early-morning sunlight this rather plain bird seemed positively elegant to me.

The dominant bird of the day seemed to be the Spotted Towhee,

one of the hardest birds to photograph because it loves to hide in the dense underbrush and warn all nearby birds of your presence.

This Towhee, though, tempted by the fruit in the trees offered a much better pose near the end of my walk.

My favorite shot of the day, though, was this one of a local Steller’s Jay which seemed to best reflect the day’s brilliant blue skies.

Visiting “Old Friends”

After weeks of being housebound for various reasons, we’ve had an unusual break from the rain so I’ve gotten out more this week than I have for quite a while and took the opportunity to visit several areas I haven’t visited for months. Lake Waughop was crowded with Northern Shovelers, a duck I haven’t seen for so long that I forgot how striking they actually are.


Of course, it’s that Jimmy Durante snoz that immediately gets your attention, but the male’s plumage is also quite striking, especially this time of year.

On my way back, I stopped off at Titlow park, another place I used to visit regularly but haven’t visited for months. I hoped to see an Eurasian Widgeon, but wasn’t a single one in sight so I had to settle for this shot of a male American Widgeon.


Actually, I was a little disappointed with how few birds I found there. I wonder if all the new construction intended to restore the pond has actually driven birds away.

I’d hoped to go to Nisqually, but the promised sunshine hadn’t appeared by 1:00 PM so I decided to delay that trip to the next sunny day and, instead, drove down to the boathouse which is less than a half mile from my house.

I saw many of the same birds that I’ve been seeing at Port Orchard lately, but I did spot a Common Goldeneye,


a bird that increasingly seems to be replaced by the Barrow’s Goldeneye,


a bird I used to see rarely but is now seen more often than the “common” Goldeneye.

I would have entirely missed this last shot if the State Patrol Officer hadn’t pointed it out to me, but it somehow seems appropriate this weekend.


Around Seattle the 12th Man Flag seems more popular than even the American Flag, and certainly more popular than the Washington State Flag. Hopefully that will continue to be true after Sunday’s game.

Spring Flowers

It’s really Spring. And in typical Western Washington fashion, we’ve had occasionally sunny days sandwiched between long, wet spells. Normally, this is my favorite time of the year, but I’m afraid I’m suffering from mild depression and probably will be until after Ted’s memorial the weekend after next.

I have gotten out and taken pictures three times in the last two weeks but haven’t managed to download the pictures until today. I’ll try to post a couple of days of pictures, but I’ve decided that I need to get away from it all for a few days, and since it’s supposed to be sunny in Malheur I’m heading down that for at least two or three days.

These pictures were taken at Waughop Lake the first week of April. Oregon Grapes are one of my early favorites, probably because they reflect whatever sunshine we get so well.

Oregon Grape

I thought that they usually came out before Cherry Blossoms, but it’s the first time I’ve seen them and the apples, plums and cherries are definitely in full bloom now.

Spring Blossoms

I even saw my first purple flowers the same day, though I usually associate them with early Summer.

 Hare Bell

Of course the trees are full of Black-Capped Chickadees, Oregon Juncos, and Bush Tits,

Bush Tit

generally moving too fast to be captured by this slow, methodical photographer.

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