Goslings

Canada Geese are so common here in the Pacific Northwest that, despite their considerable size, they tend to go unnoticed, like trees in the forest.  However, there’s two times during the year when it’s impossible not to notice them. 

The first time is when a pair is establishing their breeding territory. They’re so loud that you can’t walk Theler Wetlands without hearing in the remotest sections of the refuge.  The second time is when they have young goslings, and, ironically, that’s about the only time of the year when you don’t hear them talking to each other.

We obviously missed the stage immediately after the goslings are born, but they’re still young enough to be cute.  The easiest way to spot them is to look for a pair of geese.  Once we spotted a pair of geese, we always found gosling close by.  It’s no wonder that there are so many Canada Geese because they are great parents and both mother and father are there to protect them, usually with a parent leading the way and the other parent right behind.

Even with a 500mm lens it’s difficult to get a shot of a gosling without cutting off parts of an adult goose, so I was happy to get these two shots of a gosling eating the tip off a long shoot of grass 

and of another gosling goose-stepping through the mud.

Give Me Liberty, or Give Me …

Governor Inslee’s Stay at Home order should have been relatively easy for me to follow.  After all, I am an introvert who has been retired for twenty years now.  If anyone should have learned how to adjust to staying  home, it’s me.  Most of what we are required to do under the declaration is precisely what I’ve been doing the last twenty years.  

As a teacher who refused to work summers after finishing seven years of college, I found numerous hobbies that quickly filled my summers.  Those same hobbies have expanded to fill my days during retirement.  I don’t think I have ever been bored a day in my life. Instead, I’ve always had the opposite problem. I’m more apt to be stressed because I can’t fit all the things I want to do in the time (this lifetime) I have available. 

Reading has been a life-long hobby which became a vocation when I became a high school English teacher, and, though I’ve spent considerably less time reading since I retired, I still average at least several hours a day.  Admittedly, too often, much of that is spent browsing the internet, but I still manage to have one or two books going at the same time and a very long list of books waiting to be read on Amazon.

When I’m not reading, I’m most likely to be outdoors hiking or birding. While I have occasionally birded with others in the past, I’ll have to admit that I much prefer to bird with one, or, at most, two other people.  I may stop and talk to another birder, but it’s usually a brief conversation.  This time of year I probably spend less time birding than I do reading, but not much.

I don’t know if I can actually count computers as a hobby, but I spend much of my day at the computer trying to create entries for my blog, which largely consists of trying to make my photographs look as good as possible by refining them in Photoshop, On1, or Topaz.  I’m also forced to spend time trying to optimize my blog or correct problems Google regularly points out.

Surprisingly, even I am beginning to chafe under the restraints of the governor’s Stay at Home Order.  I can only imagine how extroverts who are used to being constantly out-and-about must feel.  I miss eating at a favorite restaurant after birding locally while wondering if they will still be in business when it’s safe to venture out again.  Most of all, I resent having to stay near home and avoid trips to Belfair, Port Townsend, Malheur, or, even, Salt Lake — all places I should have been by now. 

Sacramento NWR

Usually on our visit to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge we are greeted by rabbits, deer, and coyotes.  On our most recent visit we were greeted by songbirds like this Meadowlark

SacRdWng.jpg

and this Red-Wing Blackbird.

Try as they might, the two could not drown out the song of the White-Crowned Sparrows

though the immature sparrows seemed more interesting in foraging than in joining the choir around them.

The House Finches high in the trees weren’t exactly silent but weren’t nearly as loud as the other three,

while the Black Phoebes seemed satisfied to flutter out and back silently.

Disappointingly, there were surprisingly few Snow Geese and the birds seemed more easily spooked than usual, flying away before we could stop and get pictures.

At Ocean Shores

It was a beautiful day at Ocean Shores, but as often the case when there are blue skies there were very strong winds, as shown by the surf breaking over the jetty.

Although I gone to the ocean to see the loons we hadn’t seen on our Port Townsend trip, we got a pleasant surprise when we encountered Surfbirds (turns out they were probably Black Turnstones, a similar bird), a bird that I spent five years searching for before ever finding one. Not coincidentally, it was exactly at this spot that I first spotted one.

On this trip it was quite clear where they got their name from.

Black Turnstone walking on rocks

I suspect that the high surf might have driven them in closer to shore than usual. We sighted a small flock of them on the rocks near the shore.

They would start of the rock and eat their way down to the beach, feeding on crustaceans

When the waves came crashing in they would instantly fly back to the top of the rocks to start feeding all over again, once again working their way back to the bottom of the rocks.