Sunday, February 8, 2015

Rhinoceros auklet, they say

On a blustery day what I like to do is go for a long walk or so it seems for today, when any sane person was holed up with a book and an endless supply of hot tea, Scott and I decided we should head to Alki to see what Poseidon was up to. To be honest, the waves were a lot less crashing than we'd expected. It wasn't really all that windy while we were out either and, at least for the first hour or so, it wasn't actually raining. But once the rain started, it was pretty serious about soaking us through and through. I truly feared hypothermia by the time we got home and into dry clothes.

 It was certainly a fine day to be out, aside from the brush with death and, assuming that the clever people of Facebook are correct, I added a new bird to my life list: a rhinoceros auklet! It was a ways out and I initially thought it as a pigeon guillemot but then it became apparent it was something else. My photographic evidence isn't great but it definitely had a bright white belly which was obvious when it dove, which it did a number of times.

There were a number of the more usual suspects out and about as well, including a pair of bald eagles, several pods of Barrow's goldeneyes, a few buffleheads, some western grebes, many double-crested cormorants, and, of course, western gulls. I admit I am rarely moved to take photos of gulls, in fact I don't usually bother with what *type* of gull it is that I see but sometimes they're just so determined to be noticed that, well, I notice and am moved to photograph them.

Eventually the rains moved in. Oddly, it was at this point that we encountered four or five people with large cameras mounted on tripods, covered in plastic, with their very large lenses pointed towards downtown. I am a monkey-see, monkey-do sort so I pulled my camera out from where it was tucked into my jacket to take a quick snap of the skyline myself. I'm not sure I'd risk thousands of dollars of photo equipment for such a photo, however; it's not like it's something you can't see most days of the week.

Maybe we go out in such weather just so we can enjoy the comforts of home more when we return. It certainly seems a more cheerful place than the outside world, even on so wet a day.

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