The last full day on our short family vacation we went whale watching with Vancouver Whale Watch out of Richmond, BC. There were about 40 folks in our zodiac boat and we traveled out into the Strait of Georgia and among the islands. We were lucky enough to see the J Pod of Orcas, including Granny (who maybe upwards of 100 years old) and several babies. They swam near our boat for upward of an hour. They surfaced and slapped and spyhopped. It was Vancouver Whale Watch’s 104th consecutive days of orca sightings of those they went out. At the end of our time three large ferry boats came into view and the pod frolicked in the foreground. What a perfect scene! We also saw a young eagle and seals lounging about.
The Nisqually Delta is one of 23 National Wildlife Refuges in Washington State and the only one in Thurston County. Today I went to visit because I had to get out of the house and into the sunshine. Dear husband got up extra early and opted for a nap and dear daughter was under the weather. I was afraid that the eagles would carry away the dogs (and it turns out they weren’t allowed anyway), so I went alone. I was surprised to see that the visitor center was open and there were only a couple of parking spots available.
The dairy barns above were built in 1934 as part of the large Brown family farm that had been on the site. The eagle below was perched on a tree near the barns. One of the highlights of the hike was an older man with a very nice telescope showed me a Northern Shrike, an unusual bird for this part of the country. Apparently this charming little bird will sometimes eat other birds! Live and learn.