While waiting along the shore in Mukilteo for the return of a ship, I saw a heron standing on the water’s edge, presumably looking for something to snack on. With the gloomy light and the shadows on the heron, I liked the atmospheric nature of the image so took it.
We went out for lunch at Ray’s Boathouse one Saturday afternoon. It was not a great day, weather wise, with fog covering Puget Sound. I didn’t take the big camera with me but I did take the M6 along just in case there was something to see. In front of our table on their deck was a piling which had a gull sitting on it when we got there. The gull soon flew off and then it was replaced by a cormorant! It must have been especially for me! It was drying its wings after its swim and I got a few shots of it while sitting at the table. I could have run to the car to grab the big lens but that would have interrupted our lunch a little too much!
How long is it since I have had a cormorant post? Too long, that’s how long. Taking trips on the ferries means you can get quite close to the cormorants on the pilings in the water alongside which the ferries berth. Of course, whenever they are close by, I don’t have a camera to hand. One part of the dock did have a ton of them resting on it so, given my recent dearth of cormorant shots, I felt I had to do it.
The Growlers weren’t the only things flying at Coupeville while I was there. A bunch of bald eagles were also flying in the vicinity. They were crossing the approach path for the FCLP training which had me a little concerned. I thought they would get lost when the jets showed up but they clearly weren’t very concerned and were used the the jets. They might have got close but they seemed to stay just far enough away to avoid any conflict. A bird strike with a bald eagle would probably be messy for all concerned.
We have plenty of hummingbirds visiting our back yard. They may look different depending on the angle the light hits their feathers but up until recently I had thought that they were all the same species – the Anna’s hummingbird. Then we got a visitor that seemed different. First, instead of having a grey look to the feathers, it was a lot more brown. The other difference was the sound of the wingbeats. Instead of the whirring noise we were used to, this one had a higher pitched sound almost like a click as the wings were hitting each other. It sounded quite distinctive. I trip to my big book of birds suggests that these may be Rufous hummingbirds. For the birders amongst you, I hope you will advise if I am mistaken.
We have plenty of wildlife in our backyard. We get a variety of birds visiting. Recently, while sitting out on the deck, we had a new visitor. I am not an expert on birds but I do have a very big book with lots of pictures of them. There are so many that it is easy to pick the wrong one but I think this one was a Steller’s Jay. It stayed around for a couple of minutes before flying off. If you are knowledgeable about birds and I am wrong, please feel free to let me know what it actually is.
We have been having some issues with our hummingbirds. One of them has decided the feeder is his and no other birds can use it. He sits around and feeds to his heart’s content. Even when he is in a local tree, anyone coming close gets chased off quickly. We have named him “Cartman”. One of the recommendations in such a situation is to have a second feeder so we have added one to the fence nearby. One of the benefits I have found with this is that it puts the birds at a different angle between me and the light and it brings out the colors more vibrantly. Here you can see Cartman – he is still trying to dominate the place.
I took a walk by Bachman Lake next to Dallas Love Field as part of my weekend in the area. Clearly I was there because of the planes but there was a lot of bird activity over the lake. Given how this was right under the approach to the airport, I was surprised that they weren’t doing anything to deter the birds. Putting that aside, I was happy to see a lot of cormorants. I was surprised to see how they were hanging out together.
Cormorants tend to rest in larger groups. You might see them on pylons near the water or piles in the water in large groups providing some safety in numbers. However, they tend to go off hunting alone. I have seen the occasional pair of cormorants flying together but most of the time they are on their own. The Bachman Lake residents were very different. They were flying around in a large flock. They circled around the lake and then landed in a large group on the water. They would then take off together and fly around as a group again. I wonder if this is common in other areas.
Having had some success with the GoPro as discussed in a previous post, I decided to play with the slow motion capabilities of the camera to get some different shots. The nice thing with a GoPro is that you can put it almost anywhere to get different angles. While playing with this, some hummers came in to feed and, since I had my phone with me, I shot some video with that too. They really didn’t seem too bothered by my presence. Here is some more video results.
I posted a photo of a cormorant sitting on a post in Lake Washington in this post. More recently, the same post became the resting place for a heron. I had plenty of time to inch closer to get a better shot of the bird. The background was rather distracting so I ended up crouching in an strange position in order to get a cleaner background. The heron seemed content to wait for me to get the shot.