Tag Archives: wildlife

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.

Cattle Traffic Jam in Beaulieu

For some reason, I don’t think this made it to a post previously.  Nancy and I were going through some old shots from vacations in the UK and we made a stop in Beaulieu at the beginning of a trip nearly a decade ago.  (This stop included me having a nap in the car as the jet lag caught up with me.). One of the funny things of this visit was that some cattle were wandering through the middle of the village.  If you have ever been to Yellowstone, you know that the bison have priority over the cars.  UK cattle might not have the same weight as a bison but I assure you that the average UK motorist is not going to try their luck.

How To Spook Geese

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.

Watching You Watching Me

When out looking for wildlife, it pays to keep your head swiveling.  There are the things you are expecting to see but also the odd one you weren’t.  It was close to high tide as I walked far out on the boardwalk at Nisqually but the tide had turned and the water was starting to flow out.  As I glanced across, I saw three shapes in the water.  Some seals were drifting out with the tide.  Two of them were swimming along but one had stopped close to me and was staring directly at me.  Consequently, he got photographed.  We stared at each other for about a minute and then he disappeared under the surface and I didn’t see him again.  The other two were long gone so I assume he was chasing to catch up with them.

Murrelets Feeding On the Dock

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!

Who Can Identify a Heron?

Anyone a bird specialist reading this?  I saw this heron sitting in the trees along the shore at Camano Island.  It didn’t seem in a hurry to go anywhere and wasn’t spooked as I got closer to its perch to get some shots.  It was high enough that it didn’t see me as relevant.  I have seen Great Blue Herons but this didn’t look like that (it could be and I just didn’t recognize it).  If you know what it is, please let me know.

Trumpeter Swans on Fir Island

The snow geese are a famous visitor to the Skagit area of Washington but they aren’t the only big birds to show up.  Trumpeter swans are also a regular visitor and they are even larger.  They don’t have the same social gathering approach as the geese so you won’t see them in their thousands.  However, they do sometimes travel in smaller groups.

I was driving out towards Fir Island when I passed a bunch of them in a field.  They were right next to a church which made for a convenient place to park without being in anyone’s way.  They were not far from the parking lot and seemed to be busy feeding.  Some immature examples were still showing their grey plumage but were well grown at this point.  A little dispute resulted in some noise and flapping of wings but it all settled down quickly when the important matter of eating took over.

Unusual Patterns on an Old Log

I was walking along the shore and saw a log that had clearly been in the water and then out of it for a long time.  All sorts of things had happened to the wood.  Some of it looked like it had worn away while other marks suggested that creatures had been chewing their way through.  Some wildlife was still clearly living on the surface and in the nooks and crannies.  It was such an unusual looking log I just couldn’t avoid taking some pictures.

Eagles on Camano Island

There were a few bald eagles hanging out on Camano Island during our trip there.  There was one in a tree near the shore when we first got there.  It didn’t seem in the least bit interested in us as we walked below it.  If an eagle has recently eaten, it is quite likely to hang around for a long time doing nothing so we didn’t wait around to see what it did.

When we came back there were now two eagles in the area.  I’ve no idea whether one was our original or if these two had come along since.  A third flew past at one point getting the two quite agitated.  If you have never heard the noise a bald eagle makes, you might be quite surprised.  They have a high pitched squeak which doesn’t seem in keeping with their size.  It is easy to identify though.

I wandered around trying to get the two of them in shot together.  They were quite offset distance wise which meant getting them both in focus wasn’t practical.  I did try and little Photoshop focus stacking when I got home though.  It’s funny that bald eagles are so common in this part of the world but it is still exciting to see one and everyone seems to respond the same way.