There were a few bald eagles hanging out on Camano Island during our trip there. There was one in a tree near the shore when we first got there. It didn’t seem in the least bit interested in us as we walked below it. If an eagle has recently eaten, it is quite likely to hang around for a long time doing nothing so we didn’t wait around to see what it did.
When we came back there were now two eagles in the area. I’ve no idea whether one was our original or if these two had come along since. A third flew past at one point getting the two quite agitated. If you have never heard the noise a bald eagle makes, you might be quite surprised. They have a high pitched squeak which doesn’t seem in keeping with their size. It is easy to identify though.
I wandered around trying to get the two of them in shot together. They were quite offset distance wise which meant getting them both in focus wasn’t practical. I did try and little Photoshop focus stacking when I got home though. It’s funny that bald eagles are so common in this part of the world but it is still exciting to see one and everyone seems to respond the same way.
The visit of snow geese to the region is a regular feature of winter near Puget Sound. We went to Fir Island a couple of years ago to see the birds and I spent a free weekend day mooching around the area to see what I could see. I knew that there were plenty of geese around because, when I stopped off to photograph something else, there were endless flocks of them flying overhead. Sometimes they would be in tight formations and then others, they would seem to be a bit disorganized.
When on Fir Island, I came around a corner and realized that they had found a field of interest not far from the road. Pulling off to one side, they were a little further away than ideal but a long lens would help. As I focused on them, I saw a bunch of birds coming in to land in the background. I snapped away quickly as I didn’t want to miss this shot. I needn’t have worried. There didn’t seem to be any limit to the number of these geese as more just kept on coming.
It really is quite impressive to see so many of these geese in one place. They travel in huge groups – presumably for safety – and the local farmers are encouraged to plant crops that support their visits in winter. They must clean out a field at a time and then move on. Presumably they do some good work fertilizing the fields in the process.
It’s not unusual to see seals along the shoreline at Mukilteo. The creation of the new ferry terminal seems to have provided them something new to explore. It also provides an elevated location from which to see them which is great since photographing seals when you are close to water level makes for difficult conditions and less than inspiring photos.
I don’t know how much the base of the ferry terminal provides for good food supply for the seals but they seemed to be hanging around for a while. Maybe it was curiosity or maybe the food was good. I was just glad to see them!
A small bay on Cascades Lake was a spot that a family of swans was hanging out as we hiked by. The cygnets were almost fully grown but still had the darker down to show that they were still not fully mature. The parents were still clearly paying attention to the safety of their kids, despite their size.
Lime Kiln Point is a popular spot for watching whales. A humpback was not far offshore but a Steller’s sea lion came swimming up along the shore. It was very close in and headed past the lighthouse and to the north. We went back to watching for the whale. A little while later, a snort came from our right with a spray of water. The Steller’s was back and was bobbing in the water right in front of us. It hung around long enough to take a couple of shots and then it went back north. I think it was jealous of the attention the whale was getting!
The shallow waters near the new ferry terminal at Mukilteo seemed to be a popular spot for the local cormorants to hunt. For a while, there was one cormorant almost directly below me that seemed to be having a pretty successful time fishing. A couple of times I saw it pop up and swallow something large so I spent a bit of time tracking it waiting for it to return again. Sure enough, it popped to the surface holding a rather large looking fish.
I am not a fish expert so I don’t know what it was. I just know it was still struggling to get away and, given the size, I was curious as to whether the bird would be able to eat it. I clearly underestimated its capabilities as a couple of quick adjustments and the whole thing went down in one go. I waited for it to dive again but, having had a few decent sized snacks, it was clearly letting its lunch go down. It was a while before it dived again. Just before it did, a bloom in the water led me to believe that it was making space for its next course.
While out photographing some aircraft (I know, shocking), some small birds were flying around the bushes behind me. I glanced back at some point to see what was making the noise and realized that the light on them was far better than on what I was shooting. I figured a quick few shots were in order.
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!
While walking through Fort Worden, we went through a selection of buildings to a trail up the hill. As we turned a slight corner. I looked back where we had just come and there was a deer sitting in the shade of one of the buildings we had just passed. It was looking very relaxed and I was amazed to realize I had just walked right passed it and never even noticed.
As we returned the same way a while later, I wondered whether it would still be there or not. I looked for it but the space was now empty. However, as my view opened up, I realized that a deer (I can’t say whether it was the same one or not) was strolling up the road. It came to some shade from some trees and plonked itself down to rest. We had to walk very close to it and it didn’t seem in the least bit bothered by us. I took some photos as we went by and we left it in peace.