On our most recent trip to Orcas, we had an unusual experience during the ferry crossing to the islands. The crew announced that there would be a rescue boat drill and that we weren’t to worry or do anything. The ferry came to a halt in the open water and the crew manned up the RIB. Fortunately, the RIB they were using was the one mounted on the side of the ferry we were parked on so I was able to lean out through the opening of the car deck and watch the launch.
Two crew members got in the boat and then the davit was swung out and the boat lowered to the surface. They got the motor going, let out the lines and zipped off in to the distance. I figured they would shortly be back but they seemed to go quite a way off and then disappear from view. Instead, the ferry powered up and continued on its way.
As we got closer to our first stop at Lopez, we caught up with the RIB and, after bringing the ferry to a stop again, the process was reversed and the boat was brought back on board before we resumed our normal crossing. Reading the Washington State Ferries news emails, it appears that rescues are a pretty regular feature with the ferries picking up various water users that have got themselves in to trouble. Good that they keep well practiced!
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.
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.
I was riding along the Sammammish River Trail back in to Woodinville one weekend when the noise of geese suddenly filled the air. On the other side of the river from the trail are fields which often are filled with geese feeding. A large flock was gathered there on this day but their grazing had been interrupted by the arrival of a bald eagle. It flew across the area and barely changed course as it did so but it certainly startled the geese and they all took to the air.
They flew around in circles for a while waiting for the eagle to get safely out of the area. Then they gradually calmed down and more and more of them settled back in to the fields to resume eating. However, this was a slow process as they had clearly been spooked and weren’t going to relax easily. This was all starting as I cycled up but I did manage to pull my phone out and get a bit of video of this happening so here is the brief burst of excitement before things settled down again.
When walking along the shore at Mukilteo, I will often see one or two Murrelets diving for food in the shallows along the edge of Puget Sound. They are not rare but nor are they particularly abundant. Consequently, I was rather surprised when at the new ferry terminal to see a large number of them swimming in the water around the new pier structures. There was a constant stream of them diving down and surfacing again.
I can only assume that something is growing on the surface of the steel posts that support the new loading spans. The birds would swim up to the posts, dive straight down for a while – presumably as they grabbed the food – and then surface at an oblique angle. The result was a cycle of birds going down and back up again. It looked really strange and seemed like something that would stop but there must be plenty to eat as they just kept going. I figured video was the best way to show what was happening so below is a short clip of them feeding away!
I have posted a couple of times with ferries at Guemes Island and Lummi Island. While I mainly was shooting stills at these locations, I did get some video too. When the boats are being tossed about, I figured that video was a better way of conveying what the conditions were like. Below are a couple of videos I edited of the two ferries.
It seems like we get one big snow storm a year where we live. It might not last long (although it has once) but it can give us a decent dump of snow. This year was the same thing. We got about a foot of snow. The weather warmed up soon afterwards but for a couple of days, we had lots of snow. I took a walk around to see what it was like. Quite a slow walk given how deep the snow was in places. Here are some shots from that weekend. I also took some video while I was out so the video clip is below too. The best bit was the guy with the ATV pulling a bunch of people around on sleds! They looked like they were having a blast.
The arrival of the balloon in Woodinville resulted in a previous post of the balloon flying in and another of the crew once the balloon was on the ground. I didn’t just shoot stills during the post landing time, though. I also decided to get a little video of the process of deflating the balloon. I was surprised how long it took but, while there is a large vent on the top of the balloon, once the envelope is lying on its side, the vent is no longer at the top and the air needs to be squeezed out. Here is the video I put together.
Lots of still shots from my visit to Coupeville and the FCLP training for their Growlers but I was there long enough and there were enough passes to allow me to stop worrying about stills and to try getting some video from a variety of angles. Here is a video I put together of some of the jets.
As I mentioned in a previous post, my visit to Brewster to see the S-58/UH-34s was not one during which I was expecting to see anything flying. As I drove up, you can imagine my surprise to see a UH-34 in pristine Marine Corps markings hovering in front of me. It transitioned away as I pulled in to the airport so I was pretty annoyed thinking I was just too late to see it. However, I was wrong. They were doing pattern work and, while I don’t know how long that they had been flying already, they were not finished.
I parked the car and grabbed the camera as they came downwind and turned in to approach from a high position. The next couple of approaches seemed to be autorotation training. Each run around the pattern gave me a bit more time to get to a better position from which to get some shots. Initially, there was a building in the way but I was able to move to a spot with a clear view of the action without going anywhere I shouldn’t have been.
As I had managed to grab some shots, I figured I would switch to some video while I was at it. I didn’t get much video but enough to put together one composite circuit of the flying. That video is on YouTube as seen below. They then landed and taxied back to their ramp where, after a suitable cooling off period, they shut down. I was tempted to hang around to see if they flew again but I had a long day planned ahead of me and wanted to make sure I got everything in so I decided, after a short while, to continue on my way.