Why I Retired

The best part of being retired, at least in the Pacific Northwest, is that you can take advantage of what little sunshine there might be during the week. While others were working inside during the three hours of sunshine this week, I went birding.

Although I didn’t see anything spectacular, I did manage to get a shot of one of the many Towhees recently returned to our area,


saw a male Wood Duck in full breeding colors,

male Wood Duck

a sight that never fails to delight me,

and I got to admire once again the feather pattern on this Double-Crested Cormorant.

Double-Crested Cormorant

Don’t know about you, but I’d much rather be out birding than sitting at home hanging up on robotic political calls.

Birds and More Birds

If you’re into over-the-top parents

Canada Geese with Goslings

or cute kids,

cold duckling

this might be the right time to get out birding.

Goslings and ducklings are everywhere, though ducks seem to be outnumbered by songbirds who are at the height of their northern migration. The woods surrounding Lake Waughop were alive with small birds eager to be heard like this Song Sparrow,

Song Sparrow

birds willing to be heard but not seen like this Wilson’s Warbler,

Wilson's Warbler

and, thankfully, even birds willing to pose for the camera like this Yellow-Rumped Warbler.

Yellow-Rumped Warbler

I think I love Spring even more since I took up birding.


Nothing like two solid days of working in your garden to make you appreciate the wild flowers you see regularly on your walks whether they’re native harebells that seem to be everywhere,


these flowers I saw at Waughop

Purple Flower

or these flowers in the gardens at Theler Wetlands.

Purple Flower

Waughop Lake

I managed to get out to Lake Waughop yesterday afternoon and, luckily, the sunshine seemed to follow me there, clearing out the clouds just about the time I arrived. I’m always amazed by what I see there because one time you’ll see one kind of duck and the next time you’ll only see another kind of duck, except for the Mallards and gulls, which seem to be year-round residents.

Wednesday there was the largest flock of Ring-Necked Ducks I’ve ever seen, which included this pair:.

Ring-Necked Duck Pair

It’s taken me quite a while to learn the correct name for these ducks, since I always recognize them by the rings around their “bill” and really can’t distinguish a ring around their neck.

Perhaps they avoided naming it Ringed-Billed to avoid confusion with this Ring-Billed Gull which was also frequenting the lake.

Ring-Billed Gull

The hardest shot of the day was this one of what I think is a female Ruddy Duck, though I’m not sure if male Ruddy Ducks have changed into their mating colors yet.

female Ruddy Duck

It was extremely shy, diving quickly anytime I pointed a lens at him.