Wolves, birds, and a good cup of coffee

Today was one of those days that remind me why I love holidays!

We started with a great cup of coffee from a coffee shack (coffee shacks in Washington State are like Tim Hortons in Ontario – on every second corner – or so Patrick tells me). This one was called Olympia Coffee Roasting Company. We’ll be going back there tomorrow!

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Next we headed for the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, where we strolled along a boardwalk listening to the birds, spotting a few, and just generally having a lovely mellow time. What an awesome place, and at $3 for the two of us, we’ll definitely be coming back here next time we’re in Olympia.

Then we headed down the highway to the Wolf Haven, where we learned about red and gray wolves.

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We finished the day off with a stroll through the park in downtown Olympia.

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Tumwater Falls

It’s Canada Day for us tomorrow (July 1st), which means a long weekend and a chance to get away. This time we decided to spend a few days in Olympia, south of Seattle. We booked the Coho ferry across to Port Angeles and drove down last night.

This morning a misty rain had moved in and the clouds looked dark and ominous, so we decided to start with a trip to Trader Joes for breakfast supplies (pastrami and sugar snap peas), then shoot into town for coffee. We tried a local roaster, Batdorf & Bronson. The coffee was drinkable, but not as good as the Americanos we’re used to in Victoria.

Next we walked along the waterfront towards the farmers’ market. Looking back, you can see the domed State Capitol building.

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Next we tried another coffee shop Sizizis. The coffee was definitely more meaty, but the coffee shop itself was strangely funky, dark wood panels, painted red, with red light bulbs. It looks brighter in the photo than it really was.

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Even though it rained all day, late in the afternoon the weather cleared, and we ended up at the Tumwater Falls park just in time to see hundreds of violet-green swallows and waxwings (10 points if you can spot the waxwings in the photo). This was definitely the highlight of the day, with the sound of water rushing under our feet (we were standing on a grate over a fish ladder), and all these birds skimming the surface of the water for bugs. Patrick did his best with the camera, but we obviously need a bigger lens!

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Recent visitors to the feeder

Since we put up the bird feeder, we’ve had a steady stream of chickadees and bushtits. Over the last two weeks we’ve finally had some newcomers. (Unfortunately I can’t claim credit for the photos. If you like them, please click the photos to visit the Flickr photographers.)

Nuthatch
Nuthatch

Nuthatch in the traditional pose – hanging upside down
Nuthatch

Downy woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker

Red finch – House finch?
Winter Finch

We had a cheeky starling one day too. The starlings have been by before, but have been put off by the wildly swinging feeder. But this one starling must have been very hungry. After he finally got a good grip on the mesh bag, he sat on the feeder for at least five minutes.

Bushtits

What we thought were kinglets are actually bushtits. This morning there were a dozen or more of them on the feeder. When I thought no more could fit, another one would fly in. We got a couple of photos of them yesterday, but they were through the blind, so I’ve attached this picture I found online, so you can see what they look like.

This is my first post from the iPad. Trying it out before we leave for France.

Bird feeder – part deux

Found the camera and snapped a picture of a chickadee. It’s not a brilliant shot, too much reflection through the window. The chickadees come alone, or with a couple of buddies, and no more than two feed at a time.

Yesterday a flock of kinglets found the seeds, but by the time I’d grabbed the camera, they were gone. What’s interesting is that there must have been 8 or 10 of them, all feeding at once.

After Christmas I might try some suet.