Wildlife of Edmonds, WA. 2017

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Wednesday evening (9/13) I set up on Sunset Ave. to photograph the sunset. Shortly after sunset, a large mass of birds took off from the Shell Creek spit. Most appeared to be gulls. One flock of birds; however, did not look or fly like gulls or Caspian terns. The birds flew very fast in a tight formation low to the water. They looked and flew like sandpipers, but they were much, much larger than the least and western sandpipers we have been seeing recently at Brackett's Landing.

Since I was there to photograph the sunset, I did not have my 500L telephoto lens and 1.4x TC set up. I hope someone can take a stab at identifying the birds by their silhouette and flight pattern from these shots I took with the 100-400mm telephoto zoom.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Could be plovers of some sort... definitely not gulls or terns.. they don't fly in tight groups like that.
I got five replies from people on Tweeters: four votes for black-bellied plovers and one vote for terns or small gulls. I'm amazed anyone can ID the birds from those shots.

I returned last night with the 500L + 1.4x TC hoping for a repeat performance, but no such luck. :(
 

Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
I went out to the fishing pier Friday afternoon (9/15) to get in a final photo shoot before Bird Fest. A great blue heron was snagging fish from the marina breakwater opposite the pier.
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What would cause the heron to suddenly fly away from the dinner table in a huff?
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The answer lies in the lower right corner of the photo.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Two river otters were swimming north along the breakwater. Gulls perched on the breakwater also left amid much noise.
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The otter's muscular tail.
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The otters disappeared into a passage at the northwest corner of the breakwater......
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and emerged on top of the breakwater.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Both otters swam out off Olympic Beach between the breakwater and the ferry dock.
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But only one returned with a fish.
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The otters swam along the metal breakwater below the walkway out to the fishing pier.....
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then climbed out on the rocks of the breakwater.
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The otters did not stay long, but swam around the corner of the breakwater and headed south back along the same route where I first started photographing them.
 

Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Catching up on photos from Bird Fest weekend.

Friday morning, 9/15.
Closeups of the juvie Cooper's hawk that appeared in the King 5 Evening Magazine video.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Tuesday (9/19/19) I ran into my friend and fellow bird watcher Bev at the marsh. While we were at the #2 viewing platform, I spotted what I hope turns out to be a resident juvie Cooper's hawk hunting in the reeds and cattails.
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It perched on one of the swallow boxes for several minutes before flying south across the marsh to a dead tree next to Willow Creek.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Bev left and I walked on the boardwalk toward the #1 viewing platform while looking out over the marsh for the long-billed dowitcher that I have photographed over the past week. As I approached the #1 platform, the hawk flew by me. I would have gotten some great photos of it perched on the platform had I followed by own bird photography advice and paid attention to what was in front of me.

Instead I had to settle for these butt shots of it flying past the #2 platform.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
The hawk perched on the old martin gourd stand after I set up the 5DIII + 500L telephoto + 1.4x TC on the tripod.
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It took off just as I knocked the shutter speed down to 1/250 for some low ISO shots while it was relatively motionless. If blur suggests motion, this hawk was going supersonic.
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It landed on a low-lying branch of a tree beside the #3 platform.
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I returned to the #2 platform in time to see the hawk fly past me heading north through Harbor Square towards Dayton St. I hope it decides to spend fall and winter in the area around the marsh.
 
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Two backyard birds from the last day of summer (Thursday 9/21).

A female pileated woodpecker was working a branch of one of my fir trees. You can see her tongue in some of the photos. I live a block north of Pine Ridge Park, home to a breeding pair that had babies this year.

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Steller's jays have developed a fondness for something in my mixed seed bird feeder and are stopping there quite frequently. In the past they only showed up at my back deck to beg for peanuts.

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I missed a shot earlier in the week of a hairy woodpecker at my suet feeder. I also missed a shot last week of a Cooper's in my back yard. My wife found the dried out remains of an eastern gray squirrel in the same area. I wonder if the Cooper's is the same juvie that I photographed earlier this summer preying on a flicker on the sidewalk across the street.
 
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
The juvie Cooper's hawk continues to make appearances at the marsh.
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It took off and flew right past me as I was photographing it.
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I have been ID-ing this hawk as a Cooper's. If anyone thinks it is the Cooper's look-alike cousin the sharp-shinned, please speak up.
 
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Winter migrant ducks are arriving at the marsh where American wigeons, gadwalls, and northern shovelers are joining the resident mallards.
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Two of us noticed this mystery duck with its long, slim, blue-gray bill. Northern pintail?
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The long-billed dowitcher continues to hang out at the marsh, but I have not gotten any better photos than the ones I posted up on 9-12.
 
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Daren and I went to the fishing pier Friday afternoon (9/22/17), which was the autumn equinox. Two birders on the pier pointed out a parasitic Jaeger that was flying north towards the underwater dive park beyond the ferry dock. Parasitic Jaegers usually only appear in the Sound off Edmonds in September and it is only the second time I have ever seen one.
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We relocated to Sunset Ave. where we saw the Jaeger harassing Bonaparte's gulls.
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The Jaeger followed one gull continually. I don't know why, as the gull did not have a fish in its bill.
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