Smoked on the Spit

A Belted Kingfisher hunts on a smoky day last October, above.

A few days ago I published a post entitled “Our Lucky Day,” about a visit to a place called Semiahmoo Spit on a preternaturally calm day. It got me thinking about an earlier visit I made to the spit a few months ago, when the conditions were also unusually calm but the vibe was very different. On that day a dense pall of smoke from numerous wildfires layered the land and sea.

We’ve had to deal with smoke from wildfires almost annually for several years. Until last year it was something that happened in August. But this time the smoke season extended past the middle of October.

When I arrived at Semiahmoo Spit there was hardly anyone to be seen. Only a few of us were brave—or foolish—enough to go outside:

Smoke shrouded the view in every direction:

An otherwise clear, sunny day almost appeared foggy:

There were plenty of birds about—they had no choice but to endure. These Black Turnstones were loafing on some old pilings at the far end of the spit:

They squabbled and jostled for the best positions, which as near as I could tell were those farthest from shore:

White-winged Scoters cruised the inshore waters:

The wild calls of Snow Geese sounded out of place in these circumstances. They briefly emerged from the smoke high overhead, making a wallpaper pattern in my viewfinder:

Closer to my lens another Black Turnstone waded along the rocky beach:

There were also several Killdeers:

By this time of year Harlequin Ducks had also arrived:

Luckily for birds and humans alike, the smoke cleared out a few days later.

Thanks for visiting, and may you be well.


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