I've been visiting family in the Tri-Cities, and naturally the first thing I did after I got here was to go birding. My favorite spot here is Bateman Island -- it has always been very productive. Lots of species, and quite a lot of different ones from what I see in Seattle. Plus it's a lovely spot:
The first bird I saw was a Mourning Dove:
And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 20th bird I saw was a Mourning Dove. I walked about a mile to the far end of the island, seeing lots and lots of doves. Oh, and there were three Song Sparrows, some Bank Swallows, and a robin.
That was it. Where were all the birds??? Usually the island has Black-headed Grosbeaks and Bullock's Orioles and Catbirds and tons of magpies -- not a one of which I could see anywhere. After an hour of looking, I sighed and thought, "Well, maybe I should stop looking for birds. Maybe I'll see something else of interest, like a toad or a skunk."
Thirty seconds later, I saw something moving in the tall grass:
Sometimes if you ask for a skunk, you get a skunk. Go figure.
I gave up and left. The next morning I tried a little nature reserve called W.E. Johnson Park, another lovely spot:
Things were a little more promising there. I spotted an oddly-marked goldfinch, and got excited, and tried to turn it into a Lesser Goldfinch but after consultation with experts, it turned out to be a plain old American Goldfinch going through molt. Sigh.
Then an American Bittern flew up from a pond right in front of me, and disappeared before I could even get the camera turned on. Later it flew past again, though, and I managed to snap off a blurry far-away shot:
I also got a far-away shot of a Red-tailed Hawk that soared over the area, scaring all of the songbirds into hiding. Thank you, hawk.
I saw more Mourning Doves and Song Sparrows. The prettiest creature I found wasn't a bird at all:
Oh, well. So it goes. Maybe I'll give birding a rest for the next few days!