Sunday, January 29, 2012

Winter Tour Part III: The Olympics!

Gray Jay. THE CUTENESS IS TOO MUCH. Olympic National Park, WA.

After leaving Ocean Shores behind, Stilt and I traipsed (yup, traipsed) up the east side of the Olympic Peninsula to doomy Port Angles, Washington. I ended up staying for about a week, practicing with the drinking team and getting in a few hours of birding every day. We stayed with our friends Cass and Liz, both of whom have been featured in BB&B's terrible interview series, and have somehow created a child together in an attempt to create the ultimate uberbirder. Although the verdict is still out on the young one, I did manage to get my lifer Pine Grosbeaks in her presence, not to mention a vagrant Mountain Bluebird.

Harlequin Ducks were not hard to come by. Ediz Hook, Port Angeles, WA.

Rural Western Washington seems to be a truly strange is not for the faint of heart. Trying to cope with the face-wrecking scenery, crippling birds, horrible weather and the varied and bizarre locals (people, not birds) can be too much to handle all at once. I don't know what would have happened, had I needed to trek all the way out to the Okanagan Valley to find that Ross' had disappeared by the time I arrived in Washington, which was sad.....but it also prevented me from reliving the Ivory Gull Incident once again, so it wasn't all bad.

In other news, I updated the Human Birdwatcher Project page, which is handily located above where you are reading this. Go there and catch up on all the edgy and groundbreaking research BB&B has been doing on birders all these might learn something about yourself.

Right....things are happening this week....including a job interview (weird), and some inevitable birdwatching (embarrassing). But don't long as I am Funemployed, you will get the BB&B fix that you know, love and need. Mahalo.

Harlequin Duck. Have you seen one? If not, you bring great shame and dishonor to your family. Ediz Hook.

Trumpeter Swans take on a frightening and grimly realistic rendition of a fox. Sequim, WA.

A mated pair of birders with altricial young. It should be noted that this is a good place to stand to see Pine Grosbeaks. Olympic National Park, WA.

Common Raven. The snow beneath the bird really helped light it up. Olympic National Park, WA.

Barrow's Goldeneyes. The seaducks in Washington were great...a weird mix of White-winged, Black and Surf Scoters, Long-tailed and Harlequin Ducks, both goldeneyes, Buffleheads and Red-breasted Mergansers. Go there and stare at them intently. Ediz Hook, WA.

Seagull Steve flogs a beach for megas. Sequim WA.

A different look at the same beach. That's Mount Baker looming on the horizon. Sorry for all these non-bird pictures, you don't have to get your feathers all ruffled. Sequim, WA.

Gray Jay is in the running for being BB&B's official bird. Why? In some circles, people still refer to them as WHISKEY JACK. Olympic National Park, WA.

In Washington, even Sanderlings will come to bird feeders. Consequently, minds are boggled. Ediz Hook.

Cline spit in the foreground, Dungeness Spit in the distance. Sequim, WA.


  1. Nice photos and a harrowing tale of romance, intrigue, romantrigue, and all that. I must say, the fox photo is the most powerful. To be able to stare straight into the eyes of a ruthless and primordial killer such as you have provided here is to look into the silent, reflectionless abyss of one's own doom, and find that it is unblinking, unwavering, and surrounded by swans...

    1. Heh. I'm pretty sure the Olympic Peninsula is actually teetering on the abyss.

  2. Way to set the bar too high, Laurence. I can't top that comment. I hang my head in shame.

    The Gray Jays photos are awesome, but that raven shot is eerie and phenomenal.

  3. Waitaminute... is there no evidence of your Pine Grosbeak sightings? I'm calling hogwash!

    1. Some birds are meant to be photographed, Pine Grosbeaks are not (this time). Um, you are eerie and phenomenal.

  4. Nice vogue shot of you on the beach. =) You know when E.O. himself toured YOSE he was wearing a similar jacket...

    Truly weird lighting on the raven. Freaky. Makes me a trifle uneasy, which means it's extra-great.

    I miss the PNW and it's seemingly infinite layers of fascinating weirdness and depth. Trippy cool birds, the fact that people go on day hikes (say, at Mt. Rainier) every year and never come back, having plunged through a snow bridge into a freezing cold creek, dying in the cold. Purple mushrooms (and 10,000 other kinds) just hanging out along a hiking trail, glaciers, insane summer wildflowers, and yes, a very unusual assemblage of people called locals.

    Made the amazingly un-self-aware error of wearing a lorax t-shirt to a diner in Forks, WA. Only figured out after I left why that old man was glaring at me. uh, yeah. oop. =) whattaya gonna do.

    God, I miss the "Hall of Mosses." AMAZE!

    Thanks for sharing. Hella GREAT water birds, jeeze. Apparently, only the most stylish and daringly attired waterbirds may partrol those parts. Harlequins--sigh....

    1. What is this hall of mosses you speak of??? I have heard a lot about Forks...I have learned only that I do not want to go there, and that the locals definitely need to be bummed out.

      Yes, many good waterbirds, but I think California is still the place to be for seabirding.

      It's important to have a trademark jacket at all times. Thanks for noticing.

  5. Nice! I really like the Harlequin Duck that looks like it is laughing!

    1. I think it was laughing because it knew it wasn't in good light. Oh well, next time!