My visit to Cattle Point in search of foxes had me trekking along the cliff tops hoping to spot some creatures on the prowl. I met a local couple that suggested they normally saw foxes further along the coast and so I headed that way. As I kept moving, I did get some wildlife encounters but it was with bald eagles rather than foxes. They were soaring along the cliff tops using the updrafts. At one point, one popped up over the edge close to me and stared at me briefly before gliding on. I was too slow to pick up the camera and instead watched it fly by. I did catch some of its compatriots later in my walk, though. If I’m not getting foxes, eagles are okay but I can get them at home!
Tag Archives: wildlife
Sheep Checking Us Out
Our wanderings through the lanes of Longparish took us past a bunch of fields filled with sheep. When they are young, sheep are super cute. As they get older, not so much! Also, my encounters with them over the years have suggested that they aren’t the brightest of creatures. Doesn’t stop me finding them interesting, though. These guys were munching their way around the fields, hiding under trees, licking tree trunks for some reason and occasionally coming close to the road to see who it was that was the other side of the fence. There was no way I wasn’t going to take some pictures of them!
How Many Coots Do You Need to Stay Safe?
We went through a phase at Juanita Bay when the number of coots really rocketed. They were a popular source of food for the local eagles, but they had to work for it. The coots were gathered in large groups on the water and the eagles would do their best to get one isolated so that they could pick it off. As they got close, the flocks of coots would get startled and would start flying around to evade the eagles. Watching this action from a distance was fascinating as this large number of birds tried to move as one to protect themselves. Not a time for being independent!
I have seen deer in the grounds at Fort Casey before. When I was there recently, they were feeding on the grass near the gun emplacements. At first, I was disappointed because they were in the shadow of the emplacements as the sun got lower. This made for shots that were just not as interesting. Then, they gradually made their way out into the sun and the shots got a lot better.
What amazed me was how they really didn’t seem to give a crap about the humans wandering around near them. I was trying to get into a position where I could get a good shot but was moving very cautiously to achieve this. Then a bunch of people would walk by on the trail and the deer might look up briefly but would then return to munching. I imagine that they see people so often and are never threatened by them so are not worried at all. I could probably have walked a lot closer to them without them flinching!
Wood Pigeons Own the Place
During our UK visit, we stayed in the village of Longparish. The gardens outside our place had a stream of wildlife coming through. By far the most common visitors were the wood pigeons. They were always wandering around the garden looking for snacks in the ground. They are so plump compared to normal pigeons, and you could see why eating pigeon might have been a big part of people’s diet. They seemed so confident in themselves. We felt like we were intruding on their space as we came in or out. It was really their place, not ours.
Mergansers Show Up Before the Sun Does
We have a bunch of birds that are regulars at Juanita Bay which I will still photograph but that don’t stand out. Then, when you walk along the shore and you see a flash of something different, you quickly change direction. I was walking along the shore back towards the park when a white bird came into view and I saw it was a merganser. I reversed course and managed to get some shots before it too reversed course and disappeared behind the foliage. I was able to get some further shots further across the bay later, but they weren’t as close as this initial encounter. Sadly, the sun had not come up very far. It was a sunny morning, but it was midwinter and the trees were providing plenty of shade this early in the day.
Crabs Hunting in the Rocks at Edmonds
Nancy and I were walking along the shore in Edmonds and decided to stroll out on the fishing pier. This follows the line of the breakwater for the marina and the large rocks that the breakwater is constructed from make for a good habitat for wildlife. We saw a starfish on one area but, since they don’t move too quickly, it was not much fun to watch. However, there were a couple of crabs lurking down there. One was just hanging in its little space waiting for something to come its way. Another was a lot more active and was making good progress across the rocks. I got a bunch of still shots but also played with a little video as you can see below.
Red Kites Hunting for Food
The reintroduction of red kites in the south of England has been very effective and they are now widespread across the south. While were were visiting recently, I was initially excited to see one but rapidly got used to them being around. We didn’t have to go far before we saw one. The forked tail makes them easy to identify compared to the longer established buzzards. Getting a good shot of one was a different story.
While we were walking through Longparish, we saw one hunting near the river. The conditions were rather overcast so, while I got a few shots, they weren’t as clear as I would have liked. However, the next time we were walking that way, the sun was out, as was the red kite! It was just a case of getting lucky and having it come around to the side where I could get some good light on it and then I was able to catch some shots. There was actually a buzzard circling nearby but it didn’t come very close. I guess it was camera shy.
Fishing Boat Versus Gulls Versus Bald Eagle
I started my morning of a trip to Whidbey Island at Moran’s Beach. This is a good location for morning arrivals at the airfield but it also provides a nice view out into the water. You can get some wildlife passing through if you are lucky and I was. A bald eagle was hunting in the area. It was hanging out in the trees just north of me and then heading out to the water. There was a fishing boat working not far offshore. It was attracting a ton of attention from the local gull population and they were swarming around the boat. The eagle was also interested, though. It would swoop through periodically, looking for a cheap snack. The gulls were not too impressed by the interloper!
Friday evening after work, the sun was out and, with the time having changed, it wasn’t getting dark too early. I decided to have a stroll down at Juanita Bay Park before going home. Of course, the camera came with me. Things were pretty quiet, and I was taking a few photos but decided it was time to head home. As I turned to walk back, I saw a friend of mine, Lee, walking towards me. I was about to greet him when he started running towards me and called out “otters”!
I turned around a pair of otters were swimming across the bay towards us. They came towards the little island area and climbed out on to the shore. It is a bit difficult to get a shot there, but I managed a few. They moved along the shore and then back into the water. They headed out to the middle of the bay. Clearly, they were planning on hunting so we gave them a little time. A short while later, one appeared on the surface with what looked like a fish.
Often, when the otters have a catch, they go to a buoy to eat it but, this time, they seemed to be heading back our way. I was hoping that they would come up on the beach to eat. Amazingly, that’s exactly what they did. However, it wasn’t a fish that they had caught. It was a duck of some sort. One of them had caught it and it didn’t seem interested in sharing too much. It proceeded to chomp down on its meal.
The sound of a otter’s teeth crunching the skull of a duck was hard to miss as it made it’s way through its meal. The second otter was keen to share but the first one would the carcass up and turn around to try and avoid the interloper. This was repeated several times. In due course, it decided it was done and just left the remains. I suspect some bits just aren’t that tasty. While I did get stills, the eating process was far more interesting as video, so I shot more of that. The feathers everywhere looked quite funny as they got stuck on the otter’s head while it ripped into the body.