New Year, New Day

First day of 2015 and we are visiting the Skagit Flats, located just north of Mt. Vernon, Washington. Bordering Puget Sound and the Skagit River the surrounding lowlands are a prime wintering ground for waterfowl, raptors and other birds.

Mt Baker from Skagit flats

Mt Baker from Skagit flats

What a beautiful day to start the new year. First stop was to enjoy thousands of Snow Geese feeding on a field of grass.

A loud bunch, they were constantly bickering with each other over a choice morsel.

One caught our eye. This goose had a neck band, labeled x4.

Neck band, X4

Neck band, X4

Later that evening we submitted a sighting report to the Bird Banding Laboratory located at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. Researchers trap and band many species of birds. Data is used to study the dispersal, migration, life span and population changes. The banding lab manages this data. They will enter this sighting into their database and send us a detailed report of this bird which was submitted to the lab at the time the bird was banded.

Short Eared Owls were hunting prey and harassing each other. They put on quite the airshow.

Short Eared Owl

Short Eared Owl

We saw Peregrine Falcons, Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks and Herons, just to name a few.

Many people were out walking, biking and birding. This little guy, though not a bird dog, was also enjoying the day.


There are 364 days left in 2015. Get out there and be amazed…

One response to “New Year, New Day

  1. Lovely bird pictures. I also wanted to thank you for your remembrance of Tom MitsuYu Kelly and your haiku for Tom that posted in the Monastery Messages newsletter. Your memories of your time on the land at Tahoma with Tom evoked kind memories. I met Tom in 1991 at an Osesshin with Roshi at Bastyr. When I lived in Japan in late ’90s I would visit Tom at One Drop and spend a day clearing nettles and listening to Tom talk about women’s rights and Chinese Buddhism. I wondered if you would like to hear what Roshi said at Tom’s 2008 memorial?
    Thomas MitsuYu Kelley

    Pure Mind
    Peak of Invisible Activity
    Immeasurably Pure Mind
    The miserably poor*, well ripened hermit

    Suddenly dying! What?
    Astonishing everyone, this
    Abundant person of no rank,
    Nothing happening, no mishap

    Invisibly acting,
    Intimate friend of wind and moon

    One life of dropping away everything
    Living and playing in the heavens’ truth
    Completely Fallen Away

    Shōdō Harada
    Tahoma San SOgenji
    One Drop Zen Monastery
    September 5, 2008

    *from ancient Chinese – those of deepest merit are called
    “Miserably poor”
    -let go of everything, nothing extra

    From the back of the program:

    Tom Kelley was the first monk to live on the land that became Tahoma-san Zen Monastery.
    Mitsuyu’s Vow was deep and serious.
    His love of the land, trees, nature was fierce.
    Anyone who knew him knew that.
    He was a scholar and a person who ‘walked his talk’ to the
    utmost of his abilities.
    He had a special devotion to children and to all people in need.
    His commitment was deep and his ways of actualizing that commitment were singular.

    Inside the program is the order of services, as well as a picture of Tom and his dates
    September 18, 1948 – July 26, 2008

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