Archive for gulls

hiking the Dungeness spit

Posted in Mountains, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 16, 2015 by xi'an

sandspitsandspit2We had a great hike while staying on the Olympic peninsula, walking a sand spit housing the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, located at the end of the Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The sand spit goes into sea for five and a half miles, enlighthusding up at a decommissioned lighthouse that has been preserved by a local association, with voluntary keepers staying there one week at a time. Which is a great way to spend a retreat far from the maddening crowd… Except for the few hikers managing the walk to the lighthouse, of course!

The walk is quite easy, on packed sand, provided there is no high tide at the time, and few enough people embark on the eleven miles trip to make it quiet and peaceful. It is a wee bit monotonous, obviously, even though watching for birds and flotsam and jetsam enlivens the trip. Nothing extreme, obviously, but great views on the Olympic National Park peaks. With a cooling wind that hid the strength of the sun. As we discovered too late!

While there are many potential species of birds taking refuge on that preserved spit, we did not see many. Besides the obvious gulls and relatives, a heron, two types of sandpipers, and a loon-like bird at sea. Plus a few seals fishing at sea, clearly not bothered by the potential orcas around the spit. That we sadly did not see.

sandpiperloonspit

desperately seeking puffins!

Posted in Kids, Mountains, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , on June 13, 2015 by xi'an

cliffOn Sunday afternoon, I made a brief trip to the southern coast of the Reykjanes Peninsula in an attempt to watch puffins. According to my guide book, the cliffs at Krýsuvíkurberg were populated with many species of birdlife, including the elusive puffin. However, I could only spot gulls, and more gulls, as I walked a few kilometres along those cliffs and away from the occasional 4WDcliff2 stopping by the end of a dirt road [my small rental car could not handle that far]. When I was about to turn back, I spotted different birds on a small rock promontory, too far for me to tell the species, and as I was zooming at them, a puffin flew by!, so small that I almost missed it. I tried to see if any other was dwelling in the cliffs left and right but to no avail. A few minutes later, presumably the same puffin flew back and this was the end of it. Even after looking at the enlarged picture, I cannot tell what those “other” birds are: presumably Brünnich’s guillemots…