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04/05/24 - Dungeness Highlands with Hummingbirds

There are two great worlds to explore at the Dungeness Spit. There's the amazing spit itself and the coastal forest leading to it, and there are the highlands which follow the coast and run inland. We explore the highlands. You can walk the whole loop in about 50 minutes, but we like to go longer, so we head out for about 40 minutes to an overlook and then head back the long way.

The old grass is now pale straw, but the new green grass is growing taller. There were currants and strawberries in bloom and chervil growing wild along the trail. We also saw two hummingbirds perched high as if claiming the bush they perched on as their own.

Spring color

To our surprise, a trillium

Distant mountains

Mountains and clouds

More clouds and mountains

The vista

Mahonia, Oregon grape in bloom

One of the hummingbirds

Across the field

Another view of the field

The trail, still early spring

More fields, clouds and mountains

The trail again

Another hummingbird

Strawberry flowers

Red and gold

More strawberry flowers

Some currant flowers

Trees still bare

Looking south

A bit of forest

A fascinating ground cover

Keywords: birds, dungeness spit, spring

10/14/23 - Marine Drive

Early during the COVID pandemic, the national park was closed, so we started taking walks along Marine Drive in Sequim. We follow the bluffs, watch for birds and enjoy a spectacular view of the strait.

A typical view

A close up of Mount Baker


One of the eagles

One of the herons

The heron in context

Autumn color

Keywords: birds, marine drive, sequim

08/04/23 - Morse Creek West - An Owl and a Hawk

The Discovery Trail heading west from Morse Creek heads across an old restored railroad bridge down to the strait. We head down that way and walk along the water when we want an easy walk rather than something more challenging. This time, there was a bit of drama as we returned across the old railroad bridge. First, we had a spectacular view of an owl in a tree beside the bridge. Then, the owl was spooked and flew off pursued by a hawk. The hawk landed briefly on the bridge railing but then flew off again chasing the owl far into the trees.

The Discovery Trail along the water

A view in the other direction

Blue water and kelp

The dike

The forest trail

The old railroad bridge

An owl

A better look

Looking at us

Looking elsewhere

Ready to fly

A terrible picture of the hawk who terrified the owl

Not a very good photo - maybe a Cooper's hawk

Morse Creek

Along the old railroad bridge

Keywords: morse creek, birds

06/12/23 - Bird Watching at Dungeness Dike

Eventually, construction will resume at the Dungeness Dike, but, for now, we're going to take advantage of the peace and quiet. The dike offers wonderful views and great bird watching. The birds don't mind the flooding at all. ...


Gray sky

The flood plain

Birds in a tree

A closer look

A red tailed hawk

The fields


Towne Road

Another bird

More marsh

Even more marsh with a bird perched

That blackbird more closely

Keywords: birds, dungeness

Keywords: birds, dungeness

01/11/22 - Dungeness Spit Near High Tide

We usually avoid Dungeness Spit at high tide, but, in January, just about every low tide suitable for hiking is at night. This will be the situation until February. We recently took advantage of a falling tide during the day and walked down to the spit. The tide was high, and the beach was full of driftwood. There were large logs which can be dangerous, but they were all securely anchored on land. With the tide going out, they were unlikely to cause problems.

The going was rough. We didn't have to clamber over any logs. Usually, we could time the waves breaking on the rough winter sand and scoot around them. As we neared the stake at the one half mile mark, there was less driftwood but the beach was rough and rocky. It was beautiful with the wild gray skies and the breakers crashing into the spit. There were few birds on the water.

We didn't get all that far, maybe a mile out all told, but what we saw was wonderful. On the way back, there were the mountain views. We still prefer hiking the spit at low tide, but it's nice to know it is passable even in less than perfect conditions.

The spit

The view from the ground, rather daunting

Driftwood and salt water

Some more driftwood blocking our path

A chunk of a big log

Some artistic driftwood

Our hiking trail, not as bad as it looks

The half mile stake in the distance, to the left of the spit

Another view of the spit

The view back

Another view out

Strait meets sand

Another look back

Just a bit past the half mile stake

Another mountain view taken while balancing on a driftwood log

Keywords: birds, dungeness spit, tides, winter

01/09/22 - Marine Drive - Eagles and Swans

We took a walk along Marine Drive in Sequim. The air was clear. We could see Mount Baker, a giant meringue, in the distance, and people were out in kayaks in the waters below the bluffs. There were two eagles in what we call the "eagle tree", an adult and a juvenile. There were also swans in a field of East Anderson Road. They come every winter, and the field was full of them.

A juvenile bald eagle

An adult

Mount Baker

Kayakers near Dungeness Spit

The swans

A swan closeup

Another closeup

Keywords: birds, eagle, mount baker, sequim, winter, marine drive

05/11/21 - Yachats and the Road to Orick

We spent the morning exploring the coastal trail, part of the 804 Trail, that ran outside our hotel. There were sea birds and tide pools, wind blown trees and coastal forest. We had a long drive ahead of us. We had learned that Google Maps and the other mapping programs seriously underestimate the driving times along the coast, generally by 15%-25%. Of course, there was no way that the mapping programs could have predicted the hour and a half road closure south of Crescent City. What could we do? This kind of delay is common when flying, and our car was at least as comfy as any airport lounge.

When the road reopened, we headed down to Orick and checked into our Elk Meadow Cabin. We were really glad we had lots of left overs for dinner in our cooler. We just weren't up to another round of driving to the nearest restaurant.

The waterfront at the Overleaf Lodge

A tidepool

Tidepools and inlets

More dark rock

One of the plovers

Another plover

Inland tunnel

A view of our hotel

Another local bird

More to explore

Wind blown trees - krumholz

On the drive south

A brief stop


Stuff to worry about besides COVID

Keywords: birds, flying, oregon

04/12/21 - Some 2021 Sightings

Since we haven't been updating much, here are some of the birds and animals we have been seeing in the area. We've seen more, but so many are photogenic but camera shy.

Elk in someone's field off Route 112

Those elk again

Eating, eating, endlessly eating, just like us

Wild currant

A red breasted sapsucker near the Elwha

The Elwha

A river otter in the Elwha

River otters in the Strait

Those two returning to dry land

Two eagles in Sequim

Swans in Sequm

Keywords: animals, birds

11/06/19 - Tigray - Birds of the First Day

We photographed a number of birds on our very first day in Tigray. Most of them were unfamiliar. We'll provide some names and captions as we can.

We're not sure what birds these are.

Pale batis

We have no idea.

No birds, just pretty flowers

Greater blue eared starling

European woodpecker ???

Probably a blue winged goose

A hornbill

That may or may not be a bird towards the edge of the moon.

Keywords: birds, ethiopia

11/05/19 - Welcome to Addis Ababa

We arrived late at night, and despite the reports of chaos at Bole International Airport, our entry to Ethiopia went smoothly. Our passports were in order, our e-Visas accepted, our checked bags waiting, and our ride to the hotel was waiting for us.

We're staying at the Sheraton which is sort of a halfway house for people who want to immerse in Africa slowly. It is a first rate international hotel and a favorite with governments, NGOs and businesses. Unlike many luxury hotels around the world, everything works. We are able to make our room cold, dark and quiet, so we can sleep as much as our jet lag allows.

The grounds are wonderfully landscaped. The pools are at the center of a beach club popular with the international community. There is a playground and children's village. There are restaurants, bars, lounges, meeting rooms, an executive club that brews fantastic coffee, gift shops, a bank and just about any amenity that one might want without leaving the grounds.

We have managed to walk two laps of the little jogging track that runs around the grounds. The elevation is over 8000 feet, but most of our trip is higher, so we'll have to get used to the thin air as well as the eleven hour - thank you, daylight savings time - time difference. En route, we flew over the Canadian Rockies. Most of those snow capped peaks topped out near the lobby level of our hotel.

There is a lot of construction in Addis Ababa, as framed by Sheraton landscaping.


More landscaping

Yes, gnomes are a problem in Ethiopia too.

The playground

Flame trees?

A typical hallway

More landscaping near the pool

One of the many local birds

Another local bird

Definitely a pigeon

Keywords: birds, ethiopia

07/12/19 - Second Beach - Low Tide

There have been some really low tides at the West End beaches, but road work at Lake Crescent has made it difficult to get out there except on weekends. This time, however, time and tide did wait for us, so we made our way out to Second Beach at an extreme low tide. According to the GPS, most of our walk was underwater, though with the low tide we were always on dry sand. We made our way out to the big seastack that is usually cut off by water and explored. This time, we didn't even have to wade, and we were able to make our way almost all the way around the seastack.

The big news was starfish everywhere, but more on that in another post. For this post, the big news was a journey out to a usually inaccessible sea stack and getting a chance to explore its caves, beaches and tide pools.

GPS map showing us walking on water

Stairs to the beach

The seastack at extreme low tide

At the seastack

Hidden cave on the far side

One of the sea birds

Exploring the far side

Another view from the far side

The seastack via land bridge

Barnicles on the rocks

Exploring the seastack, misty skies

The near side of the seastack

Mysterious caves

The main seastack is on the right.

Across the beach

Sea, sand and seastacks

Algae on the rocks


The candelabrum tree, a happy mutant, with three branches again

Keywords: beaches, birds, lake crescent, second beach, tides

03/12/19 - Various March Birds

This hasn't been a good year for hiking, but it has been a good year for bird watching. The eagles are easy to spot from the Dungeness Dike, and we saw a hummingbird in a bush right near the trail. There was a woodpecker on the forested part of the walk to Dungeness Spit, and a big hawk in a tree as we headed west from the Morse Creek parking lot.

A red tail hawk

Just some trees, unless you look closely

They're full of eagles.

A hummingbird at rest

A hummingbird in motion

The sea and sky off Dungeness Spit

A woodpecker at work on the trail

Keywords: birds, dungeness, dungeness spit, eagle, morse creek

10/22/18 - Seen Near Dungeness Dike

This hawk seems to be a regular with a favorite perching tree off Towne Road in Sequim.

Watching the wetlands

Keywords: dungeness, birds

05/16/17 - San Francisco, Third Day

On our third day in San Francisco, we decided to resume our hike near where we had turned around the previous day. We took a cab to the Golden Gate Bridge visitor center and headed south. We ignored the warning about the trail being closed and headed down towards the Pacific along a surprisingly wild section of the trail. There were steps and boardwalks, and we seemed to be in a wilderness miles from any city.

If the signs had been right about the trail being closed, we would have had to backtrack, but we really wanted to hike this stretch. As it turned out, the trail was damaged, and technically closed, but as a number of hikers informed us, actually open. There was a well worn track around the barriers blocking the closed section of the trail. We joined the outlaws and continued our hike to Baker Beach.

We made it all the way down to Land's End where we hailed a Lyft car to get us back to our hotel. Lyft has made a real difference. One time we took a taxi back, and it took half an hour to get a ride. Another time we took a bus back, and it took 45 minutes for the 20 minute ride across town. San Francisco has a horrible bus system with stops every block or two. No wonder companies like Google are running their own bus systems here.

One of the many hummingbirds enjoying the weather

A view from the coast

Another view, south

The Golden Gate Bridge again, in one of its many aspects

A view of our favorite part of the trail

Yet another view of the trail and points south

Cormorants on one of the rocks

A view of the Pacific

Scud on Baker Beach

Good grief, yet another view of that San Francisco landmark

A peek into the city

Keywords: birds, san francisco

01/22/17 - Some Birds of the Season

Despite the cold winter, or perhaps because of it, we've been seeing a number of interesting birds as we make our usual rounds.

A hummingbird on a rose hip in our backyard

An eagle at the Dungeness Dike

Some Dungeness Dike scenery

Another eagle

We've been seeing a lot of these guys

The Dungeness River

Dungeness skies

Swans dropping by, interspersed with ducks

The swans just love this field

We haven't looked this guy up yet. Note the orange cheek patches.

Across the way, the Elwha River

Keywords: birds, winter

12/12/16 - Swans on Towne Road

The swans were back on Towne Road, or rather, on one of the fields next to Towne Road in Sequim. We had to stop and take a good look. They are one of the great pleasures of the winter season.

From a distance


A veritable plethora of them

It's sort of a rest stop for them.

More swans

Keywords: birds, winter

01/19/16 - Chicken Fest

Some friends of friends have been raising chickens in the Puyallup area and had a freezer full of them. As happens in Kaleberg Kountry we became the proud owners to two nicely dressed birds. One weighed a mere three pounds and some while the other weighed in at a hefty seven pounds. This called for Chicken Fest, a festival of fowl.

We prepared the birds two different ways. The small bird we spit turned in our little rotisserie and the large bird we prepared following Edna Lewis' recipe for roasting a large stuffed chicken. We and our friends at Chicken Fest had to admit that both preparations of the birds were delicious. It helped that they were the good old fashioned birds, chickens that actually tasted like chicken. Good ingredients are half the battle.

We also found a lobe of duck foie gras in our freezer, so we declared ducks to be honorary chickens and had them join the festival. Preparing foie gras is sometimes a chore with tedious mechanics and a sloshing bain-marie, but we finessed all that with our sous-vide which turned the lobe into a luxurious terrine in less than an hour.

The big chicken

The little chicken

The honorary chicken

Keywords: birds, ducks

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