River Otters

River otter (Lontra canadensis) eating a fish.

We particularly enjoy watching the otters while camped on the shores of Puget Sound. We saw them several times while camped on Bainbridge Island and we see them regularly here in Port Townsend. They appear to be very successful catching fish. We often see them near shore as they swim in the water in pursuit of fish. Once they are satisfied, they exit the water and sometimes roll in the sand afterward. They are adorable. Sometimes they exit the water to eat the fish and that’s when Regis saw the bald eagle steal the fish from an otter. We have seen them in the marina and running around outside the restaurants. I heard someone say they often go under the restaurants. They are very difficult to photograph. If the sun is out, the wet otters reflect the sun. A polarizing filter would help, but we don’t have filters for all our lenses. Other times, they are too distant to get a good shot. I think the picture Regis got above is one of the better images.

Yesterday, Dart turned 10. Because of his digestive issues the best treat he got was a little bit of spam with medication stuffed inside to aid in his digestive problems and a few bits of bacon. Regis took the stuffing out of his new bed and put it in in old bed and it worked out well. Dart is clearly happier with his old bed back.

We were fortunate yesterday that the sun came out in time to enjoy a picnic on the 4th. Jason, Dan, and Coco arrived in Port Townsend on Friday and are staying in a nearby hotel. They joined us at our campsite overlooking Puget Sound for lunch and Dan’s parents came up from the Kitsap Peninsula to join us. We picked up some take out food from one of the restaurants in the marina and had a lovely afternoon outside in beautiful weather. Jason and Dan performed a few songs for us with Jason on the guitar and Dan singing. It was a beautiful performance. After they sang “Hallelujah”, one of our camping neighbors stopped by to tell them how lovely it was.

Following are pictures of wildlife at Point Hudson.

Black oystercatchers (Haematopus palliatus). The birds primarily feed on invertebrates but don’t eat oysters. They search for food in the intertidal zone.
There is a pair of belted kingfishers (Megaceryle alcyon) hanging out in the marina. This one is sitting on sailboat spar.
House finch (Haemorhous mexicanus).
Chestnut-backed chickadee (Poecile rufescens).
Barn swallow (Hirunda rustica) gathering nesting material. There are some barn swallows actively building nests under the porch roof of a nearby building.
River otter swimming through the marina. Sea otters are rarely seen in the area. The most common otter in the area is the river otter. Sea otters often float in the water on their backs while river otters are more often seen swimming like the one here.

Point Hudson

Barn swallow (Hirundo rustica).

We have been enjoying walking around the near vicinity at Point Hudson in Port Townsend and enjoying the wildlife. When the sun is out, we sit in our chairs with binoculars and scan for wildlife, etc. Yesterday, Regis spotted a submarine being escorted out of Puget Sound. He pointed out the menacing boat behind the escorted sub. I said it didn’t look menacing and he assured me it was. He also noticed the other boats in front that were part of the escort. He had every boat identified and knew what was happening and I was only capable of maybe identifying the gulls flying by. I appreciated the education. We took pictures but they were on the other side of the inlet with a lot of humid air between us and them and the pictures are terrible.

Barn swallow.
Purple martin pair (Progne subis).
Glaucous-winged gull (Larus glaucescens) directing traffic in downtown Port Townsend.
A black-tailed deer in a garden in Port Townsend. Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
This crow could be a Northwestern Crow or an American Crow. Without a vocalization, I could not tell.

I walked through town yesterday and visited a used book store that I love. I didn’t find the books I was looking for, but found others and was happy to pick them up. I love looking at the local art in the galleries and viewed them from the front window.

Today, I awoke to watch the sunrise and it was foggy so there was nothing to see. I will go with the flow. I later walked the beach at low tide and saw lots of sea anemones that should be green, but they were brown. I suspect that is not good.

The sun came out for part of the day, so we bundled up and sat outside in our chairs with Dart and scanned for birds, etc. with our binoculars. It was fun until the sky turned too cloudy again and it was too cold and we went back inside. My son loaned me his paddleboard so I could use it but it is too cold for me. I have seen people paddle boarding but I am a Floridian sissy and can’t bring myself to do it. I want very much to get out on the water. They rent kayaks in the marina but we are not sure they are open. With Covid-19, things are not normal. The office was closed today but I will try again tomorrow but I understand if they stay closed. We must take things day by day and be grateful for what we have.

Campground Flowers

The sky was overcast this morning, so I took the opportunity to get some pictures of the flowers in the campground rain garden.

I believe this is a redhot poker (Kniphofia uvaria (L.) Oken. (PlantNet Plant Identification.)
I believe this is a nasturtium in the Tropaeolum family. (PlantNet Plant Identification.)
I believe this is an opium poppy (Papaver somniferum L.) (PlantNet Plant Identification.)
I think this might be a Dahlia. (Personal experience.)
I think this might be a California poppy (personal experience).
I think this might be a Dahlia (personal experience).
I think this might be a Dahlia (personal experience).

Eagle at Dawn

Sunrise over the Admiralty Inlet.

I love to get outside just as it is getting light before the sunrise. The water is usually calm and the birds are beginning their dawn chorus. There is little to no human activity, so it is quiet. I enjoy seeing the colors in the sky change and reflect on the water. Since I was able to get my camera set up at our campsite by our picnic table, I brought a cup of coffee with me today to enjoy while I waited for the sun to rise. While waiting, the seagulls started to make a lot of noise and I knew to look for the eagle. It was on a nearby log, so I took some video.

A Favorite Campsite

Before we left Port Angeles this morning, we went up to Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park to try to get some good views/pictures of the Strait and Canada. The weather was not cooperative and the pictures weren’t good but we saw lots of deer. I like the following picture because it shows “whiskers” on the chin.

Notice the “under chin” whiskers on this beautiful deer. Black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus).
A young buck black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) in Olympic National Park.

We arrived in Port Townsend for a favorite campsite. We reserved this campsite a year ago and scheduled the rest of our adventure it. The campground was closed until about a week ago, so it was iffy as to whether we would be able to stay here. Following is a video panning Regis and Dart at the campsite and the view we have. You’ll understand why we love it. The land across the water is Whidbey Island and you will see the ferry that goes between Whidbey Island and Port Townsend.

I suspect that we won’t be doing much for the next 10 days except enjoying this amazing view and walking through the town. For someone who likes to be out in the wild, I am a little surprised that I love this place so much. There is lots of wildlife at our doorstep and we are in town and close to food, etc. With Covid-19, things will be different. Some of the restaurants are open for outdoor seating and take-out, so we got take-out for lunch. It was nice to have something besides tuna fish or chicken salad for lunch.

Dart has voted to stay here forever. He loves this weather and its hard to get him back in the RV. He likes to lie outside in the shade and watch the happenings while Regis and I sit in the sun and watch the happenings.

Following are just a couple pictures of the wildlife we saw today.

Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) at Point Hudson in Port Townsend.
Harlequin duck (Histrionicus histrionicus) on the Admiralty Inlet.
I believe this is a glaucous-winged gull chick. Parent below. It is on the roof of a building.
I believe this is a glaucous-winged gull (Larus glaucescens), the parent of the chick above.
Two river otters (Lutra canadensis). One of them has a fish.

As I was writing this post, I heard the gulls making a racket. I looked out and saw that all the gulls had vacated the spit out in the water and there was a lone bald eagle standing there.

Weather in South Dakota

This is a post after the fact. I was reading in one of the newspapers recently about some crazy weather in South Dakota and went through our South Dakota pictures and found a couple pictures we took of the weather while we were there.

This picture was taken from the campground one evening. Every night we were there, a storm came through quickly.

When we went back to Badlands National Park one evening and got some cool photographs of the bighorn sheep, Regis took this photo of the storm that raged through before we got those pictures. After the storm passed, the lambs went nuts and ran all over the place. This picture is taken from the Pinnacles Overlook.

Pacific Northwest Rainforest

Rainforest in the Hoh River Recreation and Conservation Area.

After we arrived in our campground in Port Angeles yesterday, we immediately drove to Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park and drove to Obstruction Point. There was snow in the area and the wildflowers were amazing. As I tried to get pictures, my hands froze. If it was allowed, we would have let Dart romp through the snow since he loves it.

Wildflower with a visiting insect on the Olympic Peninsula.

Today, we visited the Hoh rainforest in Olympic National Park and the surrounding area. It was overcast, sometimes drizzly, and chilly as you would expect. I love the mosses, ferns, and other plant life in the rainforest. We couldn’t hike with Dart, so we settled for pulling over and exploring near the car. It was still worth it. I’m sure venturing further off the road would have been awesome but we enjoyed our rainforest experience nevertheless.

Drive to Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park.

On the way back, we saw a few elk which we were not expecting. We pulled off the road for a picnic lunch and Regis found a baby bird in the grasses. We don’t know what kind.

Baby bird in the grass in the Pacific Northwest.

Sunrise Over Puget Sound

I spent another morning watching the sunrise over Puget Sound. Below is a video with the accompanying morning bird song. There were a couple ships going up the Sound, so you can hear their low rumble also.

I also enjoyed watching some geese silhouetted against the light from the morning sun and the reflection of the suns rays off the water.

After this lovely experience, Regis went out to take pictures and I took a shower. We haven’t had sewer hookups for a couple days, so I have to be very careful with our water holding tanks. When taking a shower, I wet myself down and shut the water off before soaping up, then I rinse off to reduce the amount of gray water in the tank. This morning, after soaping up, the hot water heater cut off. The water coming out of the shower head could not have been colder without freezing. Oh my goodness was it cold to rinse off. By the time Regis returned, I was done and immediately told him it was time to sell the motorhome! I will no longer take a shower without him being available to fix this problem that has happened occasionally. It has only ever happened to me and it is always between the initial rinse and the soap up. It never happens while doing the dishes and it never happens to Regis. Go figure.

Northern flicker (red shafted). Colaptes auratus.

Otter vs Eagle

And the eagle won.  Regis was videoing a river otter that was eating something when an eagle showed up to steal the prize. 

I went out before sunrise and there was too much cloud cover to see the Cascade mountains or Mt. Rainier.  It was quiet and beautiful and I saw an otter and a seal in the water.  The otter had a nice size fish.  They were too far away and the light conditions where not good to get a video but I found this snail nearby and videoed it instead.   

The place is full of white-crowned sparrows and Regis found this one with a beak full of food.

White-crowned sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) with a lot of food in its beak in Fay Bainbridge State Park.