I haven’t been to Juanita Bay Park much recently. The middle of summer is not a great time to go because the sun is high, the humidity is quite uncomfortable, the bugs can be in a bitey mood, haze makes photos even worse than the sun angles – you get the picture. I did head down one afternoon after work, though, just to see what was happening. The lake was covered in water lilies with the pads spread out in all directions. The flowers were not quite so common but there were still plenty. I was taken by how they were dominating a space that is normally wide open.
Much of the wildlife I end up photographing in Juanita Bay Park is the birds or the aquatic life. However, I do occasionally come across some other creatures as I stroll through and one afternoon it was some deer. I have seen deer in the park before. They tend to stay away from the more heavily trafficked areas, but they do cross the paths when getting from one spot to another. That was what happened in this instance. They jumped out of the bushes ahead of where I was heading and across to more foliage. I thought they would be gone but they stopped and munched on some of the leaves for a while. Not clearly in sight but not avoiding me either!
Amazon became an investor in Rivian, the electric vehicle manufacturer. Part of this investment resulted in Rivian creating a new delivery vehicle for Amazon that is electric. I first became aware of it when watching a Doug DeMuro video but it wasn’t long before they started showing up around here. We do have Amazon’s headquarters here so it shouldn’t be a surprise. I have seen them on the roads a lot but have not been able to get a shot of one because I was driving. Then one showed up at work, so I took a few pictures from my window before it headed off. It took me back to the unusual FedEx delivery vehicles I saw when we lived in Chicago but, of which, I have seen nothing since.
One morning I drove up to the office and, as I pulled into the spot I usually use, I saw a bunch of deer on the grass in front of me. This area may be popular with wildlife, but I have never seen anything near the office other than crows! I was going to stay in the car to avoid spooking them but, there was a guy from a contractor loading up his truck and they didn’t seem bothered by him so I figured I could go indoors without them worrying. Sure enough, as I walked by, they looked at me but were unimpressed.
Once I was upstairs, I looked down on them chomping on some of the bushes and then they headed across the parking lot and away. I thought that would be it but, when I headed home, they were back and in the same place. I guess they found our shrubberies tasty. I have seen them once more since but they are clearly not a regular feature yet. I could imagine that this was a thing when the office was closed for the pandemic but to have them around now when things are busy again was a surprise.
The arrival of warmer weather encourages the turtles to show themselves in Juanita Bay Park. I am used to seeing a lot of them but, one weekend, I wandered out to the water and there were more turtles than I had ever seen before. There was not enough space for them on their regular logs so they were climbing up on each other to get a spot to sunbathe. Seeing them stacked up like that was really funny to me and it certainly amused many of the other visitors. Plenty of shots were taken that day, I think.
I was walking through Juanita Bay Park when I saw this bird sitting on the sign. It sat there for a while before flying beyond it. I am not sure whether the sign was really directed at the local wildlife or just the humans but, if it was for the birds, it either can’t read or it was a little disobedient.
When you are watching wildlife, you don’t have the same considerations that you would for other people. I was down at Juanita Bay one evening and realized that there were a couple of otters on the bank. It rapidly became apparent that they were in the process of mating. This went on for ages. The male had the female grasped tightly. They would end up in the water where he almost seemed to be drowning her. Then they would end up on land again where he would continue to grip her tightly. The occasional yelp would be issued and then they were back in the water.
A load of people were gathered by this point watching this process. The idea that a large group of people would hang around and watch humans doing this would involve a violation of a bunch of laws – at least in the US. However, we are fascinated by animals so there we all stood. Eventually I had other things to do so, while close encounters with otters are prized, it was time to move on. I guess we shall find out before too long if we have a bunch of new little otters in the park.
Most of the animals in the park are pretty accustomed to the humans. Provided we remain a reasonable distance away, they are comfortable getting on with their lives. Get too close, and they will be spooked. The exception to this rule is red-winged blackbirds. They really seem to be quite blasé about the humans. Stand on the boardwalks and they might come and land on the handrail next to you and wander up alongside you. Sudden movements might scare them, but steady movements won’t phase them at all. While watching other wildlife, you can almost not realize that they are there. I find my phone is the best option for getting images because they are too close for the regular set up.
There are loads of turtles in Juanita Bay and, on a sunny day, they will be out of the water and sunning themselves. I saw a bunch of them on the shore and was not bothered since this is hardly a new shot. Then I noticed something that seemed outsized. I couldn’t make it out exactly but took some shots to review later. Turns out to be a different species of turtle to our regulars. This fella is way bigger than the rest. I don’t know if they are common in Lake Washington or whether this is an unusual visitor, but it certainly was large. The other turtles didn’t seem bothered, though.
There are plenty of great blue herons that hang out in Juanita Bay. While they are quite calm most of the time, they do get a little aggravated if they intrude on each other’s turf. If one flies close to another, a little spat will ensue. What is hard to tell is who is the one that is the aggressor and who is the one on the receiving end. A pair of them ended up circling and wheeling around over the water one evening. I wasn’t entirely sure how it had started but they were coming around on each other repeatedly. Eventually they went in different directions and it was all over. I’m not sure if either of them ended up in the space that they were fighting over!