Caspian Terns & Red-Winged Blackbirds@Nisqually NWR

On Tuesday, May 22, we visited the Nisqually NWR near Olympia, WA.  We arrived around 2:00 P.M., and it was sunny and warm.  It was a beautiful day, but the reserve was very quiet until we reached the observation tower except for some Red-Winged Blackbirds resting on a small shrub.  At the observation tower, Cliff Swallows were going in and out of their nests, and Barn Swallows were also flying around as well.  (Sorry, no pictures of them flying.  They were way to fast for me.)  We started to see Caspian Terns flying high above in distance.  We walked all the way to the viewing platform at the end of the trail.  I saw a big brown bird flying in the distance.  I think it was Golden Eagle, but not sure at all since I couldn’t capture it on my camera….

Red-winged Blackbird (Adult Male) resting on a small shrub.

Cliff Swallow 

Two birds ready to take off,  I think they are female Red-winged blackbirds, but not sure… I didn’t see any male Red-winged blackbirds near by.

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Roufous Hummingbird

Quite few Humingbirds have been visiting my feeder.  I was finally able to take some pictures.  I think they are Roufous Hummingbird.

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Sooty Grouse & Northern Flicker on Icicle Ridge Trail

We went camping/hiking at Leavenworth, Washington Area on May 1-3.  On May 2,  we hiked the Icicle Ridge trail.  It was a steep trail, but I enjoyed the view and the crisp air.  

Midway into the hike, we heard deep sounds from the wooded area, so we looked around, and Bob pointed out a large Sooty Grouse siting on a log.  It was dark, and I couldn’t see clearly, but my camera captured one of his air sacs, and his beautiful eyebrows.  What an amazing bird!

There were many birds flying around at the top.  They flew too fast for me to take pictures, but a pair of Northern Flickers landed on a dead tree .


Oh.. Some Wild flowers were blooming, too.

People we met on the Icicle Ridge trail strongly recommended  the Icicle Gorge Nature Loop , so we did it the following day.  It was indeed a beautiful trail with rumbling rapids, tall trees (Ceders, Firs, Spruce and Ponderosa pines, etc), and views of snow covered peaks.  In the forest, there was a lot of snow on the ground, and wild flowers were blooming in the sunny area.


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Black-capped Chickadee

The very old cherry tree on our front yard finally had flowers, so I was taking pictures of the cherry blossoms.  A Chickadee flew in.  I guess the old cherry tree has yummy insects for them.

I thought the tree was dying, but I guess it still has some life left.  We got quite a few beautiful flowers.

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Dinner time at Fay Bainbridge Park

Fay Bainbridge park is my favorite park, and I go there at least 2 or 3 times a week to walk on the beach.   However, it is a small park, and you will not be able to get much exercise if you go at high tide.  So, we started to check the tides before deciding walk there.  Yesterday, when I checked at 5:20, it said the low tide was at 5:30, so we decided to go for a nice long walk.

It seemed quiet at first.  Gulls were hunting for dinner, and seals were laying on  drift wood.  A Pileated Woodpecker flew in looking for  good wood to peck on. One of the resident Bold Eagles was sitting on their usual tree.

Then, we heard some noise, and saw two Bald Eagles flying low.  One of them flew away, and the other one landed on a roof top of someone’s patio.   The eagle started to eat, and a crow landed on the roof and patiently waited for his turn.

     We were curious as to what he was eating, but it was so high up, I couldn’t get clear picture, but it looks like the prey was an animal. Click to enlarge the photo if you like.



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Bufflehead & Killdeer @Fay

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The Sun was shining when we returned, so we headed to our favorite park. We found a group of Bufflehead swimming.  Two breeding males and three females were chilling together. Several Killdeers were on the beach.  We heard them, but … Continue reading

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Cherry Blossoms

Spring arrived super late here in Washington this year, and we couldn’t wait for the sun any longer, so we booked a flight to Japan to see the cherry blossoms.  I particularly wanted to see them at Himeji Castle in my hometown. The prediction was they would be in full bloom in early April.   However, when we arrived there on April 3rd, the trees only had a few flowers.  Luckily, it was in full bloom when we visited the castle again right before leaving Himeji on April 10th.

Himeji Castle

While waiting for the full bloom in Himeji,  we saw on TV they had come to Osaka, so we took a train to Sakura No Miya station, and from there, we walked all the way to Osaka castle. The cherry trees started right at the station, and continued along a river almost all the way to the castle.

This was the first time I actually visited the Osaka castle.  It looked very pretty with the cherry blossoms.  We went inside and climbed stairs all the way to the top hoping to see Hideyoshi’s golden tea room, but I was totally wrong.  it was just like a regular museum inside.  The balcony on top had a nice view, but other than that, I was a little disappointed.   The grounds around the castle were very nice, though.

(We came by this on our way to Mori no miya station from the castle.)

My brother took us to Izushi, a small town in northern Hyogo prefecture where there once were small castles built by local warlords in 16th century (They were destroyed by Hideyoshi, the guy who built the Osaka castle).

(The view from a hill where one of the castle once stood.)

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