Nancy has been busy planting in our back yard at home and one of the plants she has gone with is a lavender plant. Some of the plants take a while to get established and even longer to attract the wildlife but the lavender seems to be an instant hit. It has had a steady stream of bees visiting it as well as other creatures. Bees are the focus today.
I spent a little time lying on the ground by the plant with the macro lens fitted. This is not necessarily an ideal choice as my macro is not a high end lens and it has pretty slow focusing motors. The camera tries to drive it but often it can’t keep up. However, stick with it and you can get some shots that work out. One of the things I had not anticipated was the proboscis that the bees have. Maybe they tuck it away when not on plants but, as they move between parts of the plant, it stays out and it is rather an intimidating looking item!
I spent the Friday of Seafair down at the shore of Lake Washington watching the flying demonstrations (and taking the occasional work call). The planes weren’t the only aviators over the lake though. Despite a TFR being in place, a local osprey decided to ignore it and cruise along the shore line. I never saw it actually dive after any prey for the whole time I was there. Instead it would just start towards the south end and gradually drift northwards. After it had completed the leg, it would return to the start and repeat the process.
Fortunately, it was very close to the shore and nowhere near the display box so there was no risk being posed to the performers in the show. However, it was quite a distraction to everyone around where I was and we would turn to watch it rather than the display aircraft each time it came through. Initially it was a little offshore and a bit of a reach with the long lens but it came progressively closer in and was right overhead on a number of occasions.
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!
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.
When I lived in the UK, I don’t remember seeing dragonflies at all. They may well have been there but I didn’t notice them. Moving to the US, there were dragonflies all of the place and I was immediately fascinated by them. Of course, over time, I got used to them being everywhere so stopped paying attention. However, when I have visitors from the UK, they are taken with them in the same way I originally was.
When mum was here, we went down to Juanita Bay to have a look around. It was a lot hotter than it had been on any of my previous visits and it was also popular with bugs. I got bitten a few times which has never happened there before. I guess the bugs meant the dragonflies were happy and we saw plenty of them. Here are a few shots I got of them when they landed. I have yet to get anything useful of them while flying. They are quite tricky to track!
Nothing special behind today’s post. It is just that I have a bunch of photos of wood ducks that I have taken over recent months and I figured they warranted their own post. No story about how it was taken or that they were doing something unusual. Just a bunch of duck photos.
There is a log in the water in Juanita Bay that is just above the surface. It provides a good spot for the eagles to land when they want a drink and need to clean themselves. It is a bit far from the viewing platforms but you still get a good look at them as they rest and sort themselves out. Watching wildlife do things like this seems perfectly normal but, I think law enforcement might be involved if it were humans!
A recent post showed some of the closest shots I have yet got of cormorants. What I didn’t originally realize when I was shooting them but which soon became apparent was that the structure was not just a place to hang out for them. A pair of birds had built a nest within the metalwork. At first, this was a little obscured from where I was and hard to see. As the ferry moved out, though, I was able to get a good view of the nest. The main area was shaded from the sun, understandably, but it was still possible to get some shots.
This heron was standing around on Juanita Bay when mum and I were there. It wasn’t showing any sign of hunting so I assume it had already eaten well. The sun was out and it was pretty hot so, after a little preening, the heron adopted a pose I had not seen before. It opened out its wings and faced the sun. I couldn’t work out whether this was a position designed to absorb the sun’s rays or whether it provided a mechanism for cooling by maximizing the surface area exposed. Whichever it is, it was curious. I also shot some video of the bird which is below.
There are no prizes if you know that one of my favorite birds is the cormorant. They are just so cool in my eyes. I am constantly struggling to get good shots of them as they are pretty reticent about being close to humans. Who would have thought any wildlife would view us suspiciously? One place that they do like to hang out is the structure around ferry terminals. They are isolated from the land so have a measure of protection. They can also go straight in to the water whenever they need to fish.
I got the camera ready when we boarded the ferry in case they were close to where we were. Sometimes the light angle is bad, sometimes they happen to be on another structure. Fortunately, on this trip, I got lucky. I was really close to them. The light angles were not ideal but it was still pretty good compared to anything I have ever got before. The sides of the ferry are open so there is the risk that you can spook them. However, there is something about the boat that seems to be less concerned about your presence. It is a bit like seeing deer when you are in a car and looking out of the window.