Okay, I know that to many of you temperatures in the low 30’s is not cold. Scoff at me. I can take it. But, to a coastal kid the low 30’s are frigid. When it drops to the teens I don’t feel that I should be expected to go outside.
Despite being cold adverse, I took advantage of the beautiful weather on Saturday morning to go out to my favorite haunt, the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge.
At 8:15 on a cold, clear Saturday morning the only people that were out there (for the most part) were those that I would be considered “serious” birders. Big lenses, outfitted in camouflage and carrying tripods that could double as weapons, they were a serious bunch. I stood out a bit in my puffy teal jacket and 70-200. Oh, and the fact that I was female also made me unique. Which I found a little odd. Maybe the female birders were just unwilling to get out of bed and go out in the cold.
I should explain that I am not a birder. I like birds, but I don’t know what the majority of them are.
I do like Nisqually for the birds, but as you can tell from the multiple times I’ve posted about it, I don’t go out there for that reason. It’s just a great place for a little stroll. And there’s always something interesting to photograph. Saturday was no different.
Did I mention that it was cold?
It was cold. Like, frost covered leaves, grass and ice on puddles and shallow edges of ponds cold. Note to self: find gloves that will keep my fingers warm and still allow me to manipulate the settings on my camera. By the time I was done I thought they were going to break off. Gave me a good excuse to stop for that eggnog chai on the way home.
There were quite a few geese, both in flight and on the ground, though not in the huge flocks that I’ve seen out there before.
An eagle in flight caught me by surprise, preventing me from getting a clear shot.
Who am I kidding? I don’t know if I could have gotten a clear shot even if I was prepared. Maybe. Maybe not.
When I hit the boardwalk I was stunned by the thickness of the frost on it. I kid you not, it looked like snow. I was in tennis shoes (with thick wool socks) and was concerned that they would offer little traction. However, surprisingly enough, it wasn’t really slippery. I only skidded and flailed around once, and that was on the return trip when things had begun to thaw a snidge.
Mid-way out the boardwalk I stopped to see if Her Majesty would grace me with her appearance. She did, complete with some pretty fog in the trees across the Delta.
Bird hunting is in full swing ’round these parts, which meant that my peaceful walk was often interrupted by the cacophony of gun shots. I saw two guys in a small boat, both them and boat decked out in camo. Which actually meant I didn’t see them…right?
I wondered what the faithful birders thought of having the silence of the morning broken by the hunters. It would really suck if someone had their big old zoom lens out, admiring a bird, only to have that very bird shot out of a tree. I have no beef with either birder nor bird hunter, it was just a thought I had.
On my way back I came across two herons. One was out near a cattail filled pond, easily seen from some distance away. He (or maybe it was a she. I don’t know how to tell the difference) was huddled into himself. I was right there with him.
The second heron I almost missed. He was huddled in a shaded pond and his grey coloring blended in well with his frozen surroundings. You can actually see ice on his back. I love the reflection. Two herons for the price of one!
I paused a couple of more times to capture frost, then packed it in. Until next time, ‘squally!