Tag Archives: bird

Sea Eagles

Woodland Park Zoo has a pair of Stellar Sea Eagles in an enclosure.  The Sea Eagle is a big bird.  This pair were pretty active as well.  They were making a lot of noise and flapping around the enclosure not stopping at any one spot for long.  It made for a fun time trying to get some shots of them.  Shooting through the enclosure is a bit tricky but, being close enough to it allowed everything to blur out and the shots worked out pretty well.  They are an intense looking creature.

Inquisitive Crow

This crow landed on a street light near me.  It caught my attention because it seemed to be fascinated by something under the light.  It would lean right over the edge to try and get its head underneath – presumably because there was something edible there.  It even tried flying up from the underside but that didn’t go so well.  I’m not sure if it got what it wanted or just gave up.

Pileated Woodpecker or Pterodactyl?

I was riding down along the west side of Lake Washington approaching Renton when I saw something large on a dead tree trunk alongside the road.  With the number of bald eagles and ospreys that I see down there, I was assuming it would be one of them.  However, it was a woodpecker.  I have heard of the pileated woodpecker but had never seen one for real.  It was pulling the trunk apart with abandon and it was huge.  Combine the size with the crest and it looked just like a pterodactyl.  The thing was massive when compared to any other woodpeckers I see.  My phone was not ideal for photos but it did a pretty good job of getting some video.

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.

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?).

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.

Buzzed By A Bald Eagle

We had a day out on Whidbey Island and we stopped off at Fort Casey to eat our lunch.  We parked up near the lighthouse and there was a bald eagle hanging around along the cliff tops.  The updrafts made soaring around a piece of cake for it.  It landed in the top of a tree near us as we walked along the cliff.  When we turned around and headed down the slope towards the fort, it started flying high above us and then appeared to swoop down into the bushes – presumably to catch a snack.  We lost track of it at that point but a short while later it emerged from the bushes flying just above head height and straight towards us.  I had the camera on the wrong settings to maximize my chance of getting a good shot but I still managed to get a few slightly blurry ones as it buzzed by.

Swallows Over the River

After a visit to a shop in Renton, I stopped by the airport to see what was going on.  I was taking a walk along the trail alongside the Cedar River that runs parallel to the runway.  As I headed back to the car, I heard a noisy bird making its presence felt.  Looking up at a power line across the water, there was an osprey a short distance away.  I didn’t have anything other than my phone with me so went back to the car to grab a long lens and to see if it would wait around for me.

Sadly, it didn’t appreciate the situation and had gone by the time I returned.  However, the river was not empty.  Tons of swallows were swooping along its length feasting on the bugs above the water.  Looking along the river towards the bridge from the Boeing ramp, you could see loads of them at work.  Getting photos of swallows is not easy.  They move very fast and do not hold course for long so getting a track on them with a long lens and keeping it is tough.  The 500mm is a challenge for this but it is what I had.

There were tons of failures but you don’t get to see these.  I was surprised how often I managed to track one and that the camera did a really great job of getting a focus.  There was a little predictability of the flight paths which did help but, even so, I was rather pleased with the results.  Also, given that these are still heavily cropped, to get this sharp was quite a result.

Killdeer With Attitude

Nancy and I were at Meydenbauer Park in Bellevue when we saw this Killdeer.  A crow was hopping about nearby and it seemed to be causing the killdeer some concern.  We wondered whether the crow was going to harm it in some way when we suddenly realized that the killdeer was far from defenseless.  It suddenly went on the attack and charged the crow which freaked out and took off.  There was I worried about this bird and it was totally in control.

Heron Hang Out

The end of the boardwalk at Nisqually brought me to a view over a piece of land that seemed to be the favored spot for the herons.  I had never seen so many in such close proximity.  They were hanging out on the grass rather than by the water so maybe this is a safe spot to rest after a busy session of fishing before heading back to the water to start feeding again.  Periodically, one of them would head back to the mud flats to look for some food but the rest were just hanging around doing nothing much in particular but slowly wandering around their buddies.