Fir Island and Samish Flats 1-13-2019

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#1
After what has seemed like an eternity of dark and rainy days, my son and I took advantage of a clear Sunday (1-13-19) to head up north. First stop was the Hayton Farm Reserve on Fir Island. The view from the road leading to the parking lot is quite scenic. There is a large flock of ducks out in the field.

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Our search for short-eared owls once again came up empty, but there were other birds, primarily eagles, to photograph. A juvie, probably a 2018 hatchling, was perched in a tree by the road and not far from the nest of the resident adult pair.

1Dx + 100-400L II telephoto zoom

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7DII + 500L telephoto + 2x III teleconverter.
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An adult flew in and landed on a tree next to the nest tree.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#3
A flock of dunlin was on the shore near the levee, then took off. My son Daren took these photos with the 1Dx + 100-400L II telephoto zoom. He is becoming very good at photographing birds in flight, which is very helpful for me as I no longer risk missing shots when switching between camera setups.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#4
Highlight of the stop was a northern shrike. Taken by me with the 7DII + 500L telephoto + 2x III TC from a tripod.

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Daren took this shot from the pickup of a northern harrier patrolling fields next to Rawlings Rd.

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I took a scenic shot of Mt. Baker and a flock of swans from my side of the pickup.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#5
Next stop was the Samish flats. Samish Island Rd. makes two 90* turns between Edison and Samish Island which birders have named the East 90 and the West 90. The East 90 is just wide shoulders on the side of the road where you park at your own risk.

The West 90 is a DFW water fowl hunting area with a parking lot, Port-Potty, and trails. It is currently water fowl season, so I recommend wearing hi-viz, day-glo apparel if you are going to walk the trails and fields this time of year. Daren and I did not venture off the short, paved walkway that leads south from the parking lot.

After we arrived and set up the 7DII + 500L + 2x III TC on the tripod, some birders asked us to help them identify two raptors in the distance. One was a kestral.

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The other was a rough-legged hawk. I was looking directly into the sun at the roughie and had to shoot with positive exposure compensation.

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The roughie took off and hovered over one spot. The birders, who had recently moved up from California, said it is behavior typical of kites back on the Golden State.


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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#7
Closest shots, taken very near sunset.

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Daren took some shots of ducks in flight from the pickup as we headed home.

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I got a final scenic shot of Mt. Baker from my side of the pickup.

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The ones that got away: A large flock of eagles of various stages of maturity was in a field off Field Rd south of Edison. The flock took off as we pulled off to the shoulder. A young woman who had been watching the flock said there were about a dozen birds. I assume they were winter visitors from Alaska and Canada.
 


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