The Dinosaurs (Birds) of Port Ludlow; 2/11/21

It is snowing. I’m not talking about a North Dakota or High Sierra type of snow that fills the nostrils and penetrates any exposed crevice in your gore-tex enhanced foul weather gear. It is a snow of infrequent crystals that leap from the clouds in single file bound for the Earth… drawn by gravity and fickle winds. Barely perceptible white crystals, that without the dark background of Douglas fir, Red Cedar and Red Alder, are barely perceptible. They timble tumble down, landing on docks and boats, or melting into oblivion as they embrace the 47 degree saltwater of Port Ludlow Bay.

Home for them. Home for us…

We are itching for a deep winter cruise, flitting about the Salish Sea. It really doesn’t matter where. Great Northern is set up for it and ready to go. Soon we will be out there, gallivanting about, depending on the weather of course… it is still winter after all.

In the interim we are tied to a dock, learning about where we currently live. We try to go on some sort of walk / hike every day. Its a safe thing to do right now. Oh, the walks are not for us of course, but to get the highly excitable pup out and about with the opportunity to run around fast, leap unto and off of logs and crash through or over cricks whenever possible. And… it’s good for us as well… as long as we don’t run like fools down the trails leaping off logs and over cricks…

So I was thinking… as a murder of crows just flew over Great Northern. There were at least fifty of them making their way to their evening roost… And, just next to the dock, there is a raft of hooded mergansers fishing for dinner. It is 16:00. By 17:20 the sun, hiding behind the clouds, will pass into dusk, then twilight, quickly followed by the darkness of Northern hemisphere winter, as Earth rotates further East as it relentlessly does.

Back to the birds (dinosaurs, really) that inhabit Port Ludlow Bay in the winter. Why not… After all, a crested cormorant just flew by my window and gracefully landed while I was thinking and typing. Spoiler alert. I did not take this picture or any of those following this. Cell phones do not do justice to pictures that require telephoto… Cute little dinosaur though…

A Black Throated Grebe… one of our favorites…

A male Hooded Merganser, one of the Eared Merganzers. There are several of these paddling about feeding on the fry that swim in the bay. They don’t normally look like this… The next picture shows their non- breeding plumage:

A more casual look… Interesting… eh?

And there are Common Loons amongst us. This one is in breeding plumage which we will see in spring

For now, this is what they look like in early February… Less spectacular, but still powerful fishing machines…

These are feeding right in front of the boat as I type. Double Crested Cormorants. Common dinosaur. Prolific fisherperson. They’ve been doing that for a while and biologically speaking… they are the epitome of a fish seeking dinosaur.

Next up… a member of the corvid clan…

A Crow…

Intelligent…

Gregarious…

Family oriented…

Talkative…

We do have ravens, but crows are… everywhere…

Kingfisher. I mean… just look at the bill.

Highly territorial

Mine!

Not yours!

Get out!

My fish!

Get out!

Did I mention that this is my beat!

Get out!

The Glaucous Winged Gull

Glaucous essentially means “grey”… as in wings.

They are one of the largest and most prolific gulls that inhabit the Salish Sea.

They are quite friendly and habituate to humans (sort of…)

There are at least 15 different major gull types in the Pacific Northwest…

The Mew Gull

And our all time favorite local dinosaur: The Great Blue Heron…

Solitary hunter.

Thoughtful.

Meditative.

Transcendent.

The Pigeon Guillimot

What fun!

A pigeon takes to sea, or rather… the precursor to the multitudes of pigeons that inhabit every city known to humankind.

The Common Murre…

Interesting eye mascara…

And these guys are commoners…

We always scan the trees and coastal thermals while we walk Leo. He is just under 11 pounds now and has exceedingly sharp teeth, but probably no match for this predator…

Still… he loves to run around fast.

He doesn’t know there are Eagles, Coyotes, Mountain Lions and Bobcats close by many of the places we do walkabouts. Even in the marina and close to the “village”, there are predators lurking about.

So it is now 17:45. 5:45PM for those of you who are not in healthcare or with military experience… The light of late dusk is dancing in the sky. Spring is just around the corner, summer soon to follow.

The perpetual flow of Northern hemisphere seasons. One gracefully leading to the next in line, patient waiting and willing to carry the baton…

Wonderful.

What dinosaurs flit or walkabout your domain this time of year? Who is always there? Who just flew in from Nicaragua on it’s way somewhere else? Or… just came down from SE Alaska on the way far South of where you live?

Just a thought… as today’s light rotates further into darkness…

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