Tag Archives: bird

Slapped Around The Head But Still Swallowed

When watching the herons hunting in Juanita Bay, you never know exactly what they are going to catch.  Something like a stickleback will be a relatively easy thing for them to swallow once they have caught it.  On one occasion, though, a heron caught something a little longer.  I am not good with different fish so can’t tell you what it was but it had a long body and a tail with some power.  The heron had the front of the fish in its beak but the back end was still flailing around.  The heron was hoping to win the battle but the fish made sure to give it some healthy whacks around the head before it finally succumbed.

Close Encounter With A Swan

One of the nice aspects of mirrorless cameras is using the tilting screen to see the shot while holding the camera away from you.  I took advantage of this when I was near a swan at Mottisfont.  We were walking alongside the water and the swan was swimming towards us.  I wanted to get a close shot from low down but swans are not always the most friendly beasts.  Getting myself down there didn’t seem like a good plan.  Holding the camera out while looking at the screen seemed a better idea and the swan, while not totally enthusiastic, was less annoyed that way.

What Spooked All Of The Gulls?

Just off Cattle Point on San Juan Island, there is a small island which, on the day we were visiting, was very popular with a load of gulls.  While we were standing, looking in that direction, all of the gulls took off at once and were circling for a few minutes before they settled down again.  I had assumed that a bird of prey was nearby to cause them to get airborne.  There are plenty of eagles in the area.  However, I couldn’t make out anything specific that had caused them to be startled.  Maybe just one of them decided to take off and the rest followed just in case!

Killdeer Versus The Worm

While I was down at Juanita Bay one weekend, a killdeer was hanging out on a muddy flat near me. It was busy extracting worms from the mud to snack on.  The worms were not totally onboard with this plan and they were doing their best to stay in the mud.  Some times the killdeer won the struggle and sometimes the worm did!

How Close Can I Get To The Hummingbirds?

We had a quiet time with the hummingbirds in our back yard for a while.  I am not sure where they went but they were not on the feeders very often.  However, that has changed as summer has rolled on and we now have a ton of them in the yard, often fighting with each other over who gets to feed.  I decided to go and stand out near one of the feeders and stay still to see whether I could get closer to them or not.  Little did I realize how uninterested in me that they were.

After I had been there a few minutes, they came in to feed and also to check me out.  They would fly up to me and then move around me, stopping as they went.  I seemed to be a curiosity for a moment and then they lost interest.  Instead they would start sparring with each other.  Some dramatic aerial jousting would take place, often around me.  It must have been something to see from our deck because it felt amazing being there.  No pictures of that because it all happened at high speed but I was able to get some shots of them as they hovered near the feeder at the times when they weren’t in battles.

Heron Swallowing Its Lunch

Herons hunting for their food have been on here before.  I have often been trying to get good shots of them making the strike as they go after a fish in the shallows.  The effort to then eat that fish has also been covered here.  Therefore, I am going to be repetitive today.  I happened to be a lot closer than usual to a heron when it was fishing and I got some good close up shots of its head as it swallowed its meal.  Looks like the fish didn’t have much of a chance!

Baby Red Wing Blackbird

Earlier in the year, I got to see the red winged blackbirds nesting in Juanita Bay Park and then defending their nest from threats real and perceived.  The humans were not causing them any problems but the herons were happy to much on a baby blackbird.  It wasn’t long before these babies had fledged and were out with their parents.  As with many baby birds, they were very demanding regarding food and not interested in getting it themselves.  I came across this parent and child along one of the boardwalks.  The chick looks like it should be able to take care of finding food but instead it just hung around making a ton of noise while the parent was busy trying to find something to keep it quiet!

Jumping Chickadee

Tracking moving birds can be tricky, particularly if they are small ones that are very agile and move fast.  There was a chickadee perched on the railings of one of the platforms in Juanita Bay Park and I got a few shots of it as it hopped along the wood.  A couple of times it launched into the air as I was tracking it.  The shots are not that sharp as I was not prepared for it to move and it was quick but I found the look it is – as if it was jumping up – to be rather interesting.  A cute looking bird.

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.