Category Archives: wildlife

Heron In Flight

Much of my heron photo collection is of them hunting for their lunch as they stand at the water’s edge.  However, I do occasionally get photos of them in flight.  Now I like most things that fly but I do think that the heron is not the most elegant bird when it is flying.  The long outstretched neck works for a swan or a goose but, for a heron, it seems rather out of balance.  With the large wings, it is an efficient flyer but it doesn’t have the look of a bird that is having an easy time of it.  This one was heading across Juanita Bay and over the the shore where another heron had been hanging out and, as is the way of wildlife, it was determined to drive the other bird away whether it needed to or not!

Hummingbirds On Real Plants

I have taken a ton of photos of the hummingbirds that come to our feeders in the back yard.  However, a cooler shot is one that involves real plants rather than a metal feeder.  We have hanging baskets which have sometimes provided food for the little critters but the majority of the flowers in our baskets this year do not seem to have interested them.  Only one of the flowers seems to get some of them to feed and it is a narrow trumpet shaped flower that seems to thrive on the far side of the basket away from me and the light.

Of course, the sun does move so, with a little patience and forethought, it is possible to get in position and try to stay very still so as not to scare away the blighters.  I have had some backlit results but they aren’t very appealing photos.  They are better than nothing but getting on the right side of things is the goal and one I have finally managed to achieve.  If I could get better angles, that would improve things but there are a good start.  Now to spend more time waiting for them and try to avoid freaking out the neighbors in the meantime.

Dragonflies

When I lived in the UK, I don’t remember seeing dragonflies at all.  They may well have been there but I didn’t notice them.  Moving to the US, there were dragonflies all of the place and I was immediately fascinated by them.  Of course, over time, I got used to them being everywhere so stopped paying attention.  However, when I have visitors from the UK, they are taken with them in the same way I originally was.

When mum was here, we went down to Juanita Bay to have a look around.  It was a lot hotter than it had been on any of my previous visits and it was also popular with bugs.  I got bitten a few times which has never happened there before.  I guess the bugs meant the dragonflies were happy and we saw plenty of them.  Here are a few shots I got of them when they landed.  I have yet to get anything useful of them while flying.  They are quite tricky to track!

Is Watching An Eagle Take A Bath Creepy?

There is a log in the water in Juanita Bay that is just above the surface.  It provides a good spot for the eagles to land when they want a drink and need to clean themselves.  It is a bit far from the viewing platforms but you still get a good look at them as they rest and sort themselves out.  Watching wildlife do things like this seems perfectly normal but, I think law enforcement might be involved if it were humans!

Cormorant Nest On The Dolphin

A recent post showed some of the closest shots I have yet got of cormorants.  What I didn’t originally realize when I was shooting them but which soon became apparent was that the structure was not just a place to hang out for them.  A pair of birds had built a nest within the metalwork.  At first, this was a little obscured from where I was and hard to see.  As the ferry moved out, though, I was able to get a good view of the nest.  The main area was shaded from the sun, understandably, but it was still possible to get some shots.

Sunbathing Heron (I Think)

This heron was standing around on Juanita Bay when mum and I were there.  It wasn’t showing any sign of hunting so I assume it had already eaten well.  The sun was out and it was pretty hot so, after a little preening, the heron adopted a pose I had not seen before.  It opened out its wings and faced the sun.  I couldn’t work out whether this was a position designed to absorb the sun’s rays or whether it provided a mechanism for cooling by maximizing the surface area exposed.  Whichever it is, it was curious.  I also shot some video of the bird which is below.

As Close As I Have Got To Cormorants

There are no prizes if you know that one of my favorite birds is the cormorant.  They are just so cool in my eyes.  I am constantly struggling to get good shots of them as they are pretty reticent about being close to humans.  Who would have thought any wildlife would view us suspiciously?  One place that they do like to hang out is the structure around ferry terminals.  They are isolated from the land so have a measure of protection.  They can also go straight in to the water whenever they need to fish.

I got the camera ready when we boarded the ferry in case they were close to where we were.  Sometimes the light angle is bad, sometimes they happen to be on another structure.  Fortunately, on this trip, I got lucky.  I was really close to them.  The light angles were not ideal but it was still pretty good compared to anything I have ever got before.  The sides of the ferry are open so there is the risk that you can spook them.  However, there is something about the boat that seems to be less concerned about your presence.  It is a bit like seeing deer when you are in a car and looking out of the window.

Baby Catfish En Masse

I am no specialist on fish (or any other wildlife for that matter) so, if I have got this wrong, please feel free to correct me in the comments.  I was down at Juanita Bay seeing what wildlife was out an about.  I was on one of the boardwalks and looking in to the water to see if there was anything in there.  I saw a black mass seeming to pulse and move.  I was confused as to what it might be but the long lens gave me a clearer view of things.  It was a massive amount of baby fish.

My previous disclaimer comes in to effect here.  I think they were catfish based on the shape of the mouth and the barbs but that could be totally wrong.  Let’s assume for now that they were.  There was hundreds of them, if not thousands.  They were moving around furiously but staying closely packed together for safety.  The group would gradually move around and migrate through the plant life.  Occasionally, a group would split off into a second section and then later they would somehow find each other again and regroup.  They looked almost alien as they swirled and moved.  I did take stills, as you can clearly see, but video seemed like the better way to convey the impression that they left.

Muskrat – I Think

I had to do some research when I got home to make sure I knew what this was.  I saw the head in the water as it swam around but it was at a similar time to when I saw a mink.  Consequently, I wasn’t sure what I was looking at when.  A little use of Google later and I was able to confirm that this was indeed a muskrat.  They look very small when swimming since they are almost completely submerged.  Once out of the water, they look a lot more substantial, and that tail is very distinctive.

He climbed out on to a branch that was floating in the water.  It looked like someone else had previously been on the branch judging by the droppings that were there, and these didn’t seem to bother him much.  Maybe they were his from a previous visit.  A quick trip along the branch and back and then it was back into the water.  Another time I saw one, the same routine of walking along the branch and back was repeated so maybe it was the same one?