Wildlife of Edmonds, WA. 2018

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Bill Anderson

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The clouds cleared by late afternoon, so we went to Brackett's Landing North.

I initially thought this was an osprey, as it was gliding over the water. Closer examination at home showed it to be a light morph red-tailed hawk. According to my Sibley's, only 1% of the adult red-tailed population is a light morph.
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Caspian terns are back. This one let out its signature "angry cat" growl after it passed me.
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Brant are still here, but probably not for long.

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Horned grebes in mating plumage will probably not stay around much longer, either.

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Bill Anderson

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Shots of a bustit nest taken Saturday (4-28-18). It is much easier to get a photo of an adult entering the nest than leaving as it chirps on arrival and perches on a nearby branch before entering. Although I shot these at +1 exposure compensation, I still had to do quite a bit of tweaking (for me) due to a dark day + back lighting.

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The female has spooky yellow eyes.
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Bottoms up!
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These were taken handheld. It would have been much easier to use a tripod + remote shutter release to lock onto the nest without having to hold the camera for long periods of time.
 
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Bill Anderson

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I wound up Saturday with a trip to the fishing pier.

A gull with a black head brings hope of another sighting of a swallow-tailed gull, but this bird was a Bonaparte's gull in breeding plumage.
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A pair of rhinoceros auklets exhibit the breeding plumage that gave the species its name.
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A pigeon Guillemot in breeding plumage.
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Three western grebes were off the pier. This is my best photo of one.
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Bill Anderson

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Monday (4-30-18) at the marsh. A crow was perched on one of the swallow nest boxes. Look closely and you can it getting buzzed by a violet-green swallow. I wish I had set up the 500L telephoto lens.

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The crow finally flew off.

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Bill Anderson

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A photogenic black-capped chickadee off the #1 viewing platform. It may be the same one I photographed three days earlier checking out the nearby #1 swallow box.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
At least five western grebes and a pair of marbled murrelets have been cruising around off the fishing pier the past few days.

One of the grebes got close enough on a sunny May Day afternoon for some good photos with the 5DIII + 500L telephoto + 1.4x teleconverter. These photos show the grebe's semi-webbed feet.

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A little farther out, but I wanted to get shots of the grebe eating a fish.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
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I have long lamented that I have never taken good shots of a semipalmated plover. These birds, which look like miniature killdeer, have a habit of making cameo appearances at the marsh among flocks of sandpipers. Those times I have seen them have been during bright sunny days when good photos are impossible due to distortion caused by heat waves radiating up from the mudflats at low tide.

Sunday afternoon (5-6-18) a regular birder at the marsh told me that semipalmated plovers had been spotted the day before. I did not see any as I was attempting photos of a group of sandpipers out on the mudflats. A crow buzzed a small raptor, which in turn flushed the sandpipers as it retreated south over the trees that line Willow Creek. The flock flew north past me, made a circle over Harbor Square, and returned back to the marsh.

It wasn't until I put my photos on the computer at home that I discovered four semipalmated plovers in the flock. While not closeups, my photos were the best I have taken of that species. Look closely for the four in my photos.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
As I was putting my gear into the pickup in preparation to leave, a sparrow began foraging in front of me. My first reaction was that it was just another song sparrow, which are common at the marsh, but it was noticeably smaller and much lighter in color. If anyone can ID the sparrow, please post it up here.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
I posted a link to these photos on Tweeters. So far there has been one vote for a juvie song sparrrow and two votes for a juvie dark-eyed junco.
 

Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Monday morning (5-8-18) I caught a glimpse of a Virginia rail at the marsh. I only got some Sasquatch shots before the rail crawled into the foliage.
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I heard a lot of strange bird sounds coming from the foliage, which led me to believe the rail had chicks.
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That afternoon while I was photographing the eagle at Pt. Edwards, I noticed parts of pine cones falling from a tree across the street. The litterer was one of the neighborhood's Douglas' squirrels.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
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The bright sunshine generating heat waves off the mud continues to make telephoto shots nearly impossible at the marsh.

For the past few years, two pairs of Canada geese have raised families in the marsh despite the abundance of predators such as coyotes, racoons, and eagles. Both families were out for a walk Saturday afternoon (5-12-18).

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Two of my many attempted swallows in flight shots came out. You can see an insect in the violet-green swallow's bill.

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Song sparrows have been giving good impersonations of marsh wrens.

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Bill Anderson

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I try to get artsy shots using backlit cattails.

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The #2 swallow box is about the farthest I can shoot from the #2 viewing platform using the 500L telephoto lens + 1.4x teleconverter in the bright sunsine without heat waves distorting the photos.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Monday evening (5-14-18) a friend alerted me to Wilson's phalaropes at the marsh.
https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Wilsons_Phalarope/id

The presence of Wilson's phalaropes west of the Cascades is unusual and several birders were at the marsh watching them.
https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Wilsons_Phalarope/maps-range

Three birds were present. One was at the far south side of the marsh while two were fairly close to the #2 viewing platform. The larger, brighter colored bird on the left is a female in breeding plumage. The smaller, duller colored bird on the right is a male.
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Left to right: male phalarope, adult killdeer, baby killdeer, female phalarope.
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The phalarope that was on the far side of the marsh joined its comrades.
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The baby killdeer along with two least(?) sandpipers.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Two "lifers" for me in five days at the marsh. Monday it was three Wilson's phalaropes, Friday (5-18-18) it was three male blue-winged teals.

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A few American goldfinches have been at the marsh the past two days. It is the Washington state bird.

Male
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Male and female.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
There was a lot of activity going on at the nest box off the #1 viewing platform.

A pair of violet-green swallows was checking out the box as a possible nest site.
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However, the box has already been claimed by a pair of black-capped chickadees. They have been hunting for food to carry into the box.
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And have been carrying fecal pellets from their hatchlings out of the box.
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