Wildlife of Edmonds, WA. 2017

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Bill Anderson

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Sometimes the birds come to you. Taken from my back deck Sunday (7/23).

Steller's jay.
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Spotted towhee.
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A flock of band-tailed pigeons has been roosting in my neighbors' trees for 2-3 years. One was on my chimney when I took this photo.
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It flew next door to join another member of the flock that was on my neighbor's chimney. I don't know why the one bird puffed itself up.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
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Later that afternoon my son and I went down to the marsh.

I title this photo Up Periscope. A Canada goose family was grazing in the rushes. Both parents kept their heads poked up out of the rushes to keep an eye out for predators while the goslings fed.
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Marsh wren.
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A flock of bushtits has been spending time around the boardwalk. A bird would land at the end of a bullrush stalk near the seeds. The stalk would then bend over from the bird's weight.
Male
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Female
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Bill Anderson

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Tuesday evening (7/25) I went to check on the two osprey nests in the Meadowdale area of Lynnwood.

The City Wide nest has three juvies that look as though they will soon be fledging. Here is a shot of all three with one parent.
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They were watching something fly over in the distance. Dad coming in with a meal? A marauding eagle?
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No, just a vintage plane heading north, probably to Paine Field.
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The Meadowdale playfields have been closed off due to reconstruction. Shots of the osprey nest can be taken from 168th St. SW that borders the south side of the park, but you will need at least 500mm worth of telephoto lens, preferably mounted on a tripod. This is a cropped photo taken handheld with my 7DII + 100-400L telephoto zoom + 1.4x TC for an equivalent 560mm.
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Bill Anderson

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Wednesday afternoon (7/26) I discovered an active marsh wren nest near the marsh boardwalk.
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An adult kept busy feeding three offspring.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
I returned Thursday (7/27/17) with the big lens for more photos of the marsh wren nest, but first a male kingfisher perched on the old martin "tree" captured my attention.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Sandpipers continue to show up at the marsh and continue to mystify me.

One on Tuesday (8/1/17) looked like a western (black legs and black, drooping bill), but it looked too large for a western when compared to a nearby killdeer.
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A much smaller least sandpiper.
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For ID purposes I find it helpful to get a shot of a sandpiper next to a killdeer, as most people are familiar with the size of a killdeer.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
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Swallows have been flocking to the marsh. I assume they have started their fall migration south. With this year's batch of babies having fledged, there is not much point in sticking around.

Wednesday (8/2): What seemed to be more than the usual number were perched on the telephone lines along the railroad tracks. Periodically they would swoop over the marsh looking for food, then return to the lines.
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Friday (8/4): Several were perched on the side of the building west of the tracks from the #1 viewing platform. I liked the shadows the birds cast on the white portion of the building as they took off and landed.
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Bill Anderson

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The Edmonds smoke screen sunset tour continued Saturday night (8/5/17) with a stop at Haines Wharf Park. The park has a nice streetside viewing platform complete with telescope, benches, and a map of the Olympics for use on smoke-free days. http://www.edmondswa.gov/visit-a-par...harf-park.html

I came for the sunset, but birds and passing trains were added bonuses. Mostly gulls were perched on the roof of the old marina, but a few juvie Caspian terns were present as well.
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The juvie terns can be seen at the bottom of these photos, taken with the 7D + 500L + 1.4x TC, tripod mounted.
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Adult terns have a distinctive growl that sounds like an angry cat. Juvie terns have a distinctive cry of their own. Adults can recognize the cries of their own offspring and juvies can recognize the growls of their parents. Pandemonium would break out when adult terns flew in, as the juvies thought it was feeding time.
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Needless to say, I need to return in better lighting conditions before the juvies mature and the terns migrate south for the winter.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
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Shore birds continue to make stop overs at the marsh during the fall migration. Someone said a greater yellowlegs was seen Saturday, but all I saw Sunday afternoon (8/6) was a small flock of western sandpipers.

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Four rock doves (aka feral pigeons) were on the building across the railroad tracks from the #1 viewing platform. I initially thought they were band-tailed pigeons due to their movement and stance, but a check of my Sibley Guide to Birds showed that two of them were the checkered variation of the rock dove. I have now seen locally all four adult variations listed in Sibley's: checkered, dark, pied, and the reportedly scarce all-brown.

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Bill Anderson

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My observations over the past several years lead me to believe there is a resident pair of Cooper's hawks at City Park that have babies every year. I think these are the juvies I have seen throughout the years at the park, marsh, fish hatchery, Pt. Edwards, and heading north along the railroad tracks.

I recently heard cries of juvies at City Park and talked to someone who believed she saw a raptor there. Tuesday (8/8) I heard two, possibly three juvies crying to each other at the south end of the park in the grove of tall firs.

Juvie #1.
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Only shot I got of juvie #2.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
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Thursday afternoon (8/10/17) a juvie male hairy woodpecker must have thought I was Rocky, as it flew past me and started working a tree about twelve feet away. The site was Pine Ridge Park and very close to the hairy woodpecker burrow we had photographed in May. I would not be surprised if the juvie was from that burrow.

Anticipating the usual low light of the park, I swapped lenses, putting the 100-400L II telephoto zoom on the 5DIII for bird shots and the 17-35L wide angle zoom on the 7DII for shots of the ponds. All photos are uncropped.

The juvie dug some grubs out of the bark.
1/500, f/5.6, auto ISO = 25600
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1/500, f/5.6, auto ISO = 12800
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Both ponds at Pine Ridge Park show the effects of nearly two months without rain. No easy shots of wood ducks this summer. I'll have to check Chase Lake.
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Bill Anderson

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August is the month to look for merlins hunting dragonflies at the marsh. I thought I had found one Monday evening (8-14) when I saw a bird much larger than a swallow swooping low over the marsh. It turned out to be a purple martin, which resembles a swallow on steroids.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
After photographing Sunday's (8/20/17) battle of the tall ships off Sunset Ave., my son and I went to Pine Ridge Park where we found the resident barred owl.

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I hope the owl's habituation to park visitors does not become its undoing. Not even this couple's two dogs fazed the owl.

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Bill Anderson

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I am always amazed at how wildlife has adapted to urban encroachment on its environment. A mother bear and her cub were spotted in Lynnwood earlier this month.
http://lynnwoodtoday.com/two-bears-...a-resulting-in-four-hour-search/#comment-7985

Wednesday evening (8/23/17) I drove my son to Lynnwood High School to play tennis. I had an hour and a half to kill before he finished, so I explored the area. Tall trees adjacent to the tennis courts and a football practice field border the west side of the campus. The trees are in a ravine which serves as a green belt between the school and a subdivision. The practice field was quite busy with youth league football players engaged in practice and their parents chatting and watching.

A red-tailed hawk was perched on a spar above a dried-up retention pond north of a faculty parking lot.
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It was getting dark and I was facing west. For the remaining photos I set the 5DIII to TV mode and cranked up the positive exposure compensation to overcome low light and back-lighting caused by a setting sun.
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A female pileated woodpecker was working the trees in the green belt.
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I'm not sure if this was a second female or the same female at a second tree.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Thursday morning (8/24) a crow kept buzzing a male kingfisher at the marsh. The crow chased the kingfisher off the old martin gourd stand, only for the kingfisher to return. The funny thing was that the day before I had seen a crow doing the same thing to a kingfisher perched on the wire that hangs over Willow Creek in the southwest corner of the marsh. I don't know if the same two birds were involved in both encounters.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
The kingfisher flew south across the marsh and perched on the old dead tree next to Willow Creek.
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A second kingfisher, a female, perched on the stand.
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MIA for 2017: merlin fledglings.
 

Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Wednesday afternoon (8/30) three birders at Brackett's Landing pointed out orcas waaay out in the Sound. With their 60x spotting scopes, the birders had much better views than I did with my 5DIII + 500L + 1.4TC.
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Some harbor porpoises were a lot closer, swimming just beyond the underwater dive park.
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