Monday, September 18, 2006

Hooded Mergansers

Having watched some mergansers for the last several weeks, thinking them to be common mergansers, the change to fall/winter plummage has shown them to in fact be hooded mergansers. The change in plummage from a week ago is dramatic.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Wood Duck and Greater Yellowlegs (not in the same place)

We went to walk at McClane Creek yesterday, but were pretty much rained out. We were there just long enought to see a pair of wood ducks in their winter plummage. Today I saw again a yellowlegs down by east bay at low tide.

Saturday, September 16, 2006


The double crested cormorant was taken from Titlow Beach in Tacoma on September 12th.

The greater yellowlegs was feeding by east bay this morning. We see more and more of both these birds lately, a teaser, perhaps, of some of the birds we may see in the coming months.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Gang of Red-Breasted Mergansers

Today I glanced out of the window and saw a splashing ruckus in the distance, so I walked down to the waterfront. Once there I could see several, eight as I later counted, juvenile red-breasted mergansers making a beeline for the area by the culvert that lets Moxlie Creek drain into East Bay. I sat on the grass and watched them splash about, catch fish, protect their catch, frustrate a heron's hunting, and generally have a good time for about twenty minutes. Included here are the best two pics.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Scrubjay Plus

Today was a great day to take a walk and, duly inspired by a pair of scrubjays in the yard, I did so. Here are a couple of pictures from it. The glaucous-winged gull is trying to crack a cockle on a walkway by the Olympia Yacht Club. In the main bowl of Capitol Lake was a bunch of American Coots.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Pictures From the Last Few Days

I haven't gotten a chance to just sit down in front of the computer the last few days so here are just a few pics from the last few days. The bald eagle was an amazing catch. I was walking one of the trails in nearby Priest Point park and as the trail turned left to a cliffside when I noticed the eagle in the tree ahead of me maybe twenty feet frm me. I was really startled at my proximity to the giant bird and managed to get but one picture of it before it expressed its startlement at me by flying away!

I couldn't resist uploading the pic of the three killdeer; they just make me smile.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Birding is a funny thing. Dana and I have only birding seriously since Christmas, which accounts for some of this, but today I was really excited when I was down by Capitol Lake to identify two spotted sandpipers (one of which is pictured here, already in winter plummage). These were a first for me, and like many peeps, they were small, cute and fun to watch. Upon reading up on them upon my return home, I noted from the field guide "The Birds of Washington State," by Brian H. Bell and Gregory Kennedy, that "apart from the ubiquitous Killdeer, the Spotted Sandpiper is perhaps North America's best-known and most easily identified shorebird." What's funny about all of this is that the thrill of seeing these charming birds for the first time was fantastic, and not in any way diminished by learning of their abundance. According to the distribution map, they winter in this part of the state which suggests these guys just showed up.
Also pictured is a great blue heron with a big fish in its throat, which I found very amusing.