Wildlife of Edmonds, WA.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#1
Wildlife of Edmonds, WA. 2013

Being retired, I am out nearly every day taking photos of wildlife (primarily birds) in Edmonds, WA., my home for the past 20+ years. Most of my photography is done about five minutes from my house in what is referred to as the Edmonds Birdmuda Triangle. Included within the triangle are the marina and fishing pier, Brackett's Landing and the underwater dive park, the Edmonds marsh, Willow Creek fish hatchery, and the Pt. Edwards walkway. Other local wild life photography spots are Yost Park in Edmonds and Scriber Lake in nearby Lynnwood.

Rather than start a new thread every time I'm out about town taking photos, I'll just post them in this thread with a brief description.

Question: I have several Canon cameras and lenses. Are you the viewers interested in the specific cameras and lenses I used to take the photos, or would you rather I don't bother posting that info?

Friday (1/25) was our last sunny day in what has been a very dark, wet autumn and winter. Here are a few photos from that day.

5D Mk III + 100-400L telephoto zoom
Bewick's wren in my backyard.
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Great blue heron at the marina.
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Pt. Edwards eagle pair in the raptor tree at the Willow Creek fish hatchery. Something got them riled up (not me) and they began screeching
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5D Mk III + 2.8/400L telephoto + 2x extender
Hutt Park eagle pair in a faaaar distant tree (not visible to the naked eye) northeast of Brackett's Landing.
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Cormorants and gulls perched on a log anchored in the underwater dive park at Brackett's Landing.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#4
Here is my contribution to the coyote series started by JaniceL.

Coyotes reside at the Edmonds marsh and can sometimes be seen at the adjacent fish hatchery or Pt. Edwards walkway, which runs half the length of the Pt. Edwards condos.

Pt. Edwards walkway, 3-7-11. The coyote ran right past two condo maintenance workers and a woman having coffee on the back porch of her ground level condo.
7D + 100-400L zoom
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Unoco grounds below the Pt. Edwards walkway just west of the fish hatchery on 1-3-13. I wonder if this is the same coyote I had photographed two years earlier.
5D Mk III + 100-400L zoom
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Note the bare tail. The coyote may have caught it on something which ripped the skin off, like the chain link fence I was shooting through.
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BobH: I figured out how to attach photos into the text. When I do it that way, they are posted in the correct order. I went back and edited my first post in this thread.

Update: Fast forward to post #214 of this thread for more photos of the Edmonds marsh/Pt.Edwards coyote.
http://www.pnwphotos.com/forum/showthread.php?7934-Wildlife-of-Edmonds-WA/page22
 
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#5
A little bit about my photo philosophy. You could consider me a chronicler of animal behavior as I like to photograph wildlife in action rather than try to create the perfect portrait of a bird or coyote. That is why I take hundreds of shots a day shooting rapid fire in jpeg and why I avoid extensive post processing.

I have also steered clear of nature photography websites where photos are picked apart with such comments as: if only the bird's head had been cocked a little to the left. My response would be: tell that to the bird, not to me.

As an example of my photo style, here is a sequence I shot Tuesday (1/29) from inside the Edmonds marina with my "walk & stalk" weapons of choice: Canon's 5D Mk III + 100-400L zoom. It was dark and raining, which precluded nice, crisp photos using low ISO settings. My 5D Mk III can handle ISO settings up to 12800 without too much noise as long as I don't have to crop. Unfortunately; my subjects seldom walk, fly, or swim directly up to my feet; so I always have to crop.

A female goldeneye caught a gunnel......
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......which in turn caught the eye of a gull that swooped down in the hopes of stealing an easy dinner.
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The goldeneye caught sight of the gull and dove.
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The gull made a few more attempts at the goldeneye's meal, but she eventually swam away and ate it undisturbed.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#6
Wednesday (1/30) I made the my usual rounds of the Edmonds Birdmuda Triangle. It was overcast all day, but I was getting cabin fever. If I waited for a sunny day, I would never get outside.

Lots of small birds were foraging for bugs in the leaves along the marsh walkway.

I came across several song sparrows doing their imitation of a fox sparrow.
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Then I saw a real fox sparrow.
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A Bewick's wren was doing the same thing at the fish hatchery grounds.
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As was a flock of golden-crowned sparrows by the retention pond at the end of the Pt. Edwards walkway.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#7
As I walked along the Pt. Edwards walkway back to the fish hatchery where my pickup was parked, I tracked a red-tailed hawk in the trees to the north. These trees border the north side of the road on the Unoco grounds below the walkway and the south side of the marsh.
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The hawk flew to one of the tall firs on the fish hatchery grounds.
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Then it took off and flew past a pileated woodpecker perched on the large snag just past the raptor tree.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#8
I went down to the fish hatchery grounds and got better photos of the pileated woodpecker.

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Earlier in the day I had seen one of the Pt. Edwards eagles perched on the family tree at the top of Pine St. on Pt. Edwards. Later, while I was at the fishing pier at the marina, I saw an eagle fly north along Sunset Ave. and disappear into the low lying clouds.

For years the eagles perched in tall firs located in a yard on Hanna Park Rd., which were vsible from the north end of Sunset Ave. The present owners of the property clear cut the trees, razed the old house, and are now building a new trophy home.

I drove down to Sunset Ave. and saw an eagle perched in a tall fir on the opposite side of Hanna Park Rd. from where the trees were cut down. I walked under the tree and got some photos. It is hard to tell if this is one of the Pt. Edwards eagles, as I cannot decide if the dark spots on the eagle's forehead are slightly immature feathers or an effect caused by dirt or the feathers matting in the rain.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#9
A Tale of Two Hummers

Monday (2/4) afternoon, Wesley, the male Anna's hummingbird who guards the west viewing platform of the Edmonds marsh walkway, was buzzing something in the nearby blackberry bramble with a series of "J" dives.
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The "something" was a female Anna's perched on the barbed wire on top of the fence.
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She gave Wesley a coy wink...
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and fluttered her eyelashes.
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Which caused Wesley to blush.
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The two chased each other several times around the bramble and over the marsh, but I was not quick enough to photograph the action.
 
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#10
Some long awaited sunshine on Thursday (2/7) sent me out photographing the locals.

Song sparrow grooming itself at the fish hatchery. It had probably just taken a bath in nearby Willow Creek.
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Bewick's wren on a Doug fir in my backyard.
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There were two pairs of hooded merganser in the retention pond at the end of the Pt. Edwards walkway. One pair flew off as we approached but the other pair remained. The male gave itself a bath followed by an air dry.
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Horned grebe eating a shrimp below the fishing pier.
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White-crowned sparrow at Marina Park.
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#11
loved your bird shots.. i do like to know your info on your lens you use.. i can see the EXIF data when i have my mouse over the pic.. it gives me an idea of what i can at least try to set my camera to take pics. ( its just remembering ...LOL)
 

Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#13
loved your bird shots.. i do like to know your info on your lens you use.. i can see the EXIF data when i have my mouse over the pic.. it gives me an idea of what i can at least try to set my camera to take pics. ( its just remembering ...LOL)
Unless I post otherwise, assume all of my bird photos were taken with my "walk & stalk" weapons of choice: Canon 5D Mk III + 100-400L telephoto zoom.
 

Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#14
The Pt. Edwards bald eagle pair have several family trees not far from their nest. Friday afternoon (2/8) I was at the marina and could see one of them perched on the family tree at the top of Pine St. above the Pt. Edwards condos. Although I have probably taken thousands of shots over the past 3-4 years of the Pt. Edwards pair on this tree, the sun was out and I could not resist the temptation to drive up to the top of Pine St.; park the pickup; and take some photos.
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Its mate was perched nearby on another family tree at the end of Pt. Edwards Place. When perched on this tree, they can be seen from Marina Park and the off-leash dog beach.
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That is Kingston in the distance. With these commanding views of Puget Sound, it's no wonder the pair returns every year. Location, location, location.
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From its perch on the top of Pine St., the Pt. Edwards eagle could look north across Edmonds and see one of the Hutt Park pair perched atop its family tree, over two miles away as the eagle flies. With their outstanding vision, the eagles probably have a more clear vision of each other than I do with my 100-400 telephoto zoom.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#15
loved your bird shots.. i do like to know your info on your lens you use.. i can see the EXIF data when i have my mouse over the pic.. it gives me an idea of what i can at least try to set my camera to take pics. ( its just remembering ...LOL)
When shooting birds with my Canon 5D Mk III, most of the time I use M (manual) mode, L (landscape) picture style with "default" settings of 1/1000, f/8.0, auto ISO, AWB (automatic white balance) , and evaluative metering. I then make adjustments on the fly depending on the light, etc. For example, I have tried spot metering when confronted with the harsh, low winter sunlight reflecting directly off the white feathers of birds such as grebes and eagles. I'll focus on those bright, white feathers and fire away.

In the case of poor light and/or back lighting, which happens quite often up here in the PNW, I will switch to Tv mode and experiment with different levels of exposure compensation.

For example, here is a photo I took Friday (2/8) of a juvenile red-tailed hawk from the parking lot of the closed Lake Ballinger public golf course in Mountlake Terrace. The light was poor and the bird was back-lit, so I had to resort to extreme exposure compensation levels in the +2 to +3 range. :eek:
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Later that same day, I found some red crossbills in the pines just east of the restrooms building at Brackett's Landing in Edmonds. I used spot metering, but the lighting was so bad deep within those trees that even extensive use of Picasa's post-processing features couldn't do much for the photos.

I took lots of shots of the crossbills, but only three are worth posting. Sometimes Nature triumphs over technology, which is OK by me. Periodically we all need to be reminded about who is in charge of this planet.
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The beauty of digital cameras is that you get instant feedback through the viewing screen and can experiment with different settings at no additional co$t$ for film and developing. In my other hobby of motorcycle riding, we say there is no substitute for "seat time" on the road to becoming a better rider. I could say there is no substitute for "shutter time" on the road to becoming a better photographer.
 
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#16
Avian Railfan?

The passing of Amtrak's Saturday (2/9) morning Vancouver, BC to Seattle Cascades did not affect Junior, the juvie Cooper's hawk we have been photographing in and around the marsh since last October.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#17
Later Saturday I saw a juvenile northern shrike at the east end of the walkway on the north side of the marsh. Someone else had seen it in the same location earlier in the week. I suspect it is the same bird I have been photographing in the area since 10-15-12
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A male Anna's hummingbird stood guard along the Pt. Edwards walkway.
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One female and two male hooded mergansers were in the retention pond at the end of the walkway.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#18
Junior, the local juvie Cooper's hawk that I have been photographing since October, has become quite the railfan. Saturday (2/9) I photographed it perched on a pole near the railroad tracks watching Amtrak's Seattle bound Cascades pass by.

Sunday (2/10) Junior was once again perched on a pole near the railroad tracks on the west side of the marsh. After I pulled up to the parking spots by the main (#2) viewing platform, it flew over me just as I opened the pickup door. All I could get was a departing butt shot.
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Later on I spotted Junior perched on a railroad antenna beside the tracks just north of the Main St. crossing. I parked my pickup and ran back to get a few shots from a bench on Sunset Ave. Due to the elevation of Sunset Ave., Junior was nearly at eye level and only about 20 yards from me.
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A freight train passed by that was closer and louder than Saturday's passenger train. The noise from the train's horn and accelerating diesel engines scared Junior and it flew off.
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I spent about fifteen minutes walking around the adjacent neighborhood looking for Junior to no avail. I returned to my pickup and did a second drive-by past the antenna. Junior had returned, but flew off before I could park my pickup and return to the bench near the antenna. A lot of house sparrows hang out in the blackberry brambles along the bluff, and I suspect Junior was using the antenna as a perch to hunt them.

You can be certain that nothing escapes these eyes!
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#19
While I prefer to photograph the powerful raptors, here are some itsy, bitsy, cutsy birds from Sunday (2/10).

Willow Creek fish hatchery grounds:
Song Sparrow
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Spotted Towhee
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Ruby-crowned kinglet
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Edmonds marsh walkway:
Bushtit
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Bewick's wren
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#20
Monday's (2/11) trip to the fishing pier found a double-crested cormorant taking on a rather large fish. I have seen cormorants spend up to a half hour trying to eat a fish which was too large for their mouths.
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It took this cormorant about five minutes to devour the fish.
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After eating, it washed and dried itself.
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Continued on page 3.
 
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