This bird was out fishing and I assume it had gotten wet … which was the reason for its looking a little scraggly. This weather station is at Marrowstone Point at Fort Flagler, southeast of Port Townsend.
I took these photos up at Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park recently. It was a gray day with heavy cloud cover. There is a nice paved road all the way up and the views are spectacular (even in cloudy weather; see recent posts … including the ones coming up). It’s over 5000′ … so one of the few places you can drive to the high country in the Olympics (the other being Deer Park). That elevation is in the subalpine zone in the Olympics … and there aren’t as many bird types up there as in lower areas. A couple of the regulars are shown here: Gray Jays (AKA Canada Jays or “Camp Robbers”) and Blue Grouse (AKA Sooty Grouse). (Missing were ravens and hawks)
Hiking along the North Fork Skokomish trail in Olympic National Park, you never know that you might see. There are the occasional sightings of elk and bear (black bear, which typically run away) and lots of smaller birds. Sometimes you see grouse… often hearing them before being able to spot them in their camouflage. This one stayed around long enough for a photo op. These have always been blue grouse to me … but they are now called Sooty Grouse in some of my books. (or both)
I like to take photos of the little birds. I think the big birds (hawks, eagles, etc) get too much press. It’s easier to get close to a lot of small birds (but not all) and they don’t ask for royalties like some of their more famous kin. These were at the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge outside Olympia, WA.
As you can tell by the snow in the background of image 1, this isn’t a photo from this week. But I was lucky to get both of these visitors to the same tree. I thought they made a nice couple. (although I didn’t care for the way a couple of them killed a birch tree in my front yard years ago, by girding the tree with their holes.