Sunday, January 2, 2011

January 1, 2011: Chilly, Hilly, and Calypte

Low light, shadows, small camera, and distance
conspired to make me fail at catching
the shimmering jewel tones of this little bird,
but trust me, he was gorgeous.
Started off the new year on January 1 by trotting out the resolution I resolutely resolve every year, namely, to get plenty of exercise, eat right, etc., etc. So I followed the hilliest route in the neighborhood when I took the dog for a walk. 
It's a rewarding hike, because it always affords fine views of the mountains and the local lake and sometimes even Puget Sound.

This New Year's Day, it also provided a close-up visit with a little Anna's hummingbird (Calypte anna), who perched on a limb above the sidewalk and didn't mind my stopping to take a picture of him (although another hummingbird did mind my pausing--it kept divebombing me, shouting a loud chack! at me before swooping skyward again).

Anna's hummingbirds stay in the Puget Sound region all winter long despite the chill and damp, amazingly enough--you can hear them buzzing and twittering overhead on even the coldest days (and it was cold on New Year's; the low temperature dipped down to 26 degrees F).

By midday, the weak winter sunlight warmed us up above freezing, so a visit to the beach at Golden Gardens wasn't as excruciating as it might otherwise have been--though none of us dared to be as brave (or as foolhardy) as the Polar Bear swimmers who dashed into the bitterly cold water for a splash. Even the bull sea lion who surfaced about 10 feet from shore looked astonished when he saw all those shivering people in the water.

Brisk weather definitely didn't stop sailors and boaters from plying the waves, and the clarity afforded by the cold, clear sky sharpened our view of the beautiful Olympic Mountains.

It also improved the view of these same mountains at sunset from our front steps. All in all, a lovely start to 2011.

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