Tag Archives: wildlife

Stalking the Rabbits

We get a lot of rabbits in the back garden.  They are a bit of a nuisance, but our yard is not good enough to justify the effort to do battle with them getting in.  Instead, I accept their presence and consider them a photographic subject instead.  Getting photos of them usually means subdued light.  During the brighter parts of the day, they stay out of the sun and then follow the shadows across the grass as they eat.

I have tried to stalk them to get shots from a lower angle where possible.  They are clearly a twitchy bunch and quite unwilling to hang around while I am moving about unless I stay far enough away.  Therefore, some cautious movements and picking a spot and hoping them come to you is in order.  Here are some more shots of the visitors.

Killdeer Trying to Distract Me

While I was shooting super bikes at Shelton, I was wandering along the fence line out on the circuit when a lot of bird noise started up.  Regular readers may recall my previous post about a killdeer in Bellevue that was making a lot of noise.  This was a pair of killdeer and they should probably reconsider their tactics.

I was totally unaware of them until I got close at which point they started making a hell of a racket.  The reason was that they had a couple of chicks with them that were hiding in the longer grass trying to stay out of sight until their parents encouraged them to move.  The adults would make a lot of noise and would fan out their wings and turn their butts in my direction.  Clearly they didn’t think too much of me.

Once they started making this display, I looked around until I could see the youngsters.  I would never have seen them otherwise as they were well concealed even though they were out in the open.  I had no desire to make them any more stressed than they already were so I moved along to leave them in peace.  They did try to move away from my approach which meant going where I was going but I was soon passed them and they could go back to avoiding the motorbikes.

Resting Rabbits Are Visiting

We get a ton of rabbits in our yard.  They happily eat our grass and spread the seeds of weeds amongst our grass.  We figure it is a battle we will lose so why fight it.  Instead, we watch out for them.  Most of the time they are chomping away on the grass.  Occasionally, if it is warm or they are feeling relaxed, we might see them stretch out and take a rest.  Here are some of the resting poses of rabbits.  If we appear, they instantly return to alert status.

What Is Farmed Here?

Eastsound is the main town on Orcas Island.  As you head out of the town center towards the eastern side of the island, you go along the shoreline of a wide bay.  The tide was out as we drove over that way and there were some frames set in to a section of the beach.  Clearly this is an area which would be submerged at high tide so I assume it is used to farm something.  Shellfish of some sort were what I assumed but I don’t know for sure.  If anyone has any suggestions as to what they might be, please let me know in the comments.

Heron Fast Food Joint

I walked out on to the jetty at Olga to look back at the shoreline.  A short distance around the shore was an inlet which had about a dozen herons fishing within it.  They were constantly stalking through the shallows and grabbing at fish as they passed by.  With so many of them there, it must be a productive place to hunt.  A heron drive through (or should that be fly through?).

Goats

I shared some shots of lambs from Maltby Farm quite a while back.  The lambs weren’t the only creatures that got a lot of attention from the visitors.  There was an enclosure with a lot of goats.  Goats are curious creatures to look at.  They have a look that I guess is not very appealing since the goats head seems to have a lot of diabolical associations.  Not sure why but they can be a bit creepy.

Smaller goats have a cuter look like a lot of smaller versions of large animals do.  They do seem to like standing on precarious things.  There were some wooden structures for them to walk along and one of the goats came up behind another that wasn’t moving.  It was a small diversion to drop down to the ground and go around but, instead, it just stood behind the first goat waiting until it finally moved.  Maybe it is like a game you play as a kid (pun intended) where you won’t step on the cracks in the ground.

Donkeys

I was driving through the Skagit Valley quite a while back when I passed a farm that seemed to have a lot of donkeys on their property.  I only realized this as I passed at speed and I had somewhere else I was heading so I parked the thought for a while.  Later in the day, when I had finished whatever it was I was planning on doing, I remembered that I had seen them so retraced my steps to see if I could remember exactly where the farm had been.  That part of the valley has loads of farms so I wasn’t certain where it was exactly.

Fortunately, the road was quiet so I was able to slow down while passing each farm until I spotted the donkeys out in the field.  A quick turn and I was able to pull off the road.  Not only were they in the fields but they were also walking about in a yard right near the road.  My arrival probably got them to move a little further away but I still got a bunch of shots of them.  As a kid, a farm near where we lived for a short while had donkeys so I have always had a soft spot for them.  They just look like a friendly creature.

Hummers on Real Flowers

With the feeders in our backyard, I have been able to shoot plenty of photos and videos of the hummingbirds coming in to feed.  This has been a lot of fun but it has always lacked a little something because of the artificial nature of the environment.  Our recent acquisition of new hanging baskets for the backyard has changed this a bit.  They are plenty of tiny flowers in these baskets and these have appealed to some of the hummers.

Not all of them, though.  The majority still seem to prefer the sugar water in the feeders but some like to work their way around the flowers.  This requires a lot more flexibility from the hummingbird to get in to the flowers but they make it look so simple.  The flowers are only in sun for part of the day so some of the shots I have got have been in shade while others have been better lit.  What matters, though, is that a bird against a flower backdrop has a far more natural feel to it than when they are feeding from one of the artificial food suppliers.

I spent most of the time getting stills of them working around the flowers.  It all looks good when you are watching it but only certain angles make for good photos.  I did get some video too so a little edit of that is included below.

Crows Mobbing a Bald Eagle

I never fail to be amazed at the crap that large birds of prey take from smaller birds.  The eagles fly around here with crows and other birds swooping in at them and trying to drive them away.  The strangest part is that the eagles barely do anything about it.  I have seen how agile an eagle can be in flight and a rapid turn to point some talons at an incoming crow is well within their capability but they just don’t bother.  I was down south of Seattle recently and heard the familiar call of a bald eagle (not as cool as you might think).  It was sitting on a tree top.  Crows were coming in to hassle it regularly and it barely flinched.  I shot a small video clip to show the crows working as a pair and that is included below.

Lambs

Our visit to Maltby Farm gave us a chance to look at some of the wildlife that the farm has.  They have a few sheep and there were some lambs in the enclosure too.  Lambs can be a riot to watch when they are young since they have incredible energy and bound around the place.  Clearly these were a few weeks older than that and they were taking a more lethargic approach to the day.  Aside from munching on the available food, they were lying down and resting in the sun.

As sheep get mature, they lose a lot of the cuteness that they have when young.  Some breeds are cute when adult but plenty aren’t.  A bunch of lambs, though, are going to be a lot more appealing.  Let’s not focus too much on how tasty they might prove to be…