So I went birding. Out of town, to Nisqually, at the southern end of Puget Sound. Back in the 70's I was active in the group that fought to keep Nisqually Delta from being turned into a Weyerhauser log export facility. And we won. It's now a beloved, protected crucial link in the Pacific Flyway.
It was the day of the Bald Eagle. On the walk along the Nisqually River I counted over 20. One perched 30 feet from my face, low on a cottonwood, cleaning the remnants of a salmon skeleton. But at the start of the hike, stalking the edge of a marsh, was an American Bittern, a bird I haven't seen in a decade. It's a highly camoflauged, skulky marsh bird, hard to find. This one was out on the open, but whenever it stopped I had a hard time picking it up.
I also got Merlin, three Peregrine Falcons, and a bunch of Red-tailed Hawks and Harriers. Along with big flocks of Pintail, Wigeon and Mallard. And too many to count Song Sparrows, Chickadees, Juncos, Downy Woodpeckers, and Bewicks Wrens. With one sweep with the scope from the observation platform, I picked up another 18 Eagles.
As I approached the parking lot I heard, over the low roar of the freeway traffic, I heard the collective high honk of a vast flock of Snow Geese, and I saw stringy skeins of them low across the southern sky. For a few hours today, the world was set right.
More critter photos on, appropriately enough, Flickr.