Wldlife of Edmonds, WA. 2014

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#1
At 62 pages, the original (2013) Edmonds wildlife thread was getting a bit cumbersome.
http://www.pnwphotos.com/forum/showthread.php?7934-Wildlife-of-Edmonds-WA

I am starting a new local wildlife thread for 2014. This will also help me in the year ahead recall when I saw a particular bird the previous year. We birders/bird photographers often do that.

Wesley and several of his "friends" were having a New Years Day party at the #1 viewing platform of the Edmonds marsh. At one point three or four of them were chasing each other, but they were too fast for me to photograph their high speed antics. I had to do some post processing with these shots as the originals were slightly over exposed, possibly due to the low morning winter's sunlight reflecting off the birds' light colored feathers.

Two were engaged in a stare-down.
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One flew up and perched near the other. This is most unusual for male Anna's, as they are quite territorial.
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Eventually a chase ensued and one returned. I don't know what the white circle is, but I thought it made an interesting background.
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"Artsy" take-off shot.
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Perched on the barbed wire fence.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#2
A Cooper's hawk was drying itself off atop one of the telephone poles by the railroad tracks while I was photographing the hummers.
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A flock of red-winged black birds was also at the marsh. The males were perched in one of the trees by the walkway and making the calls they usually make in the spring.
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The females were far more practical and spent their time hunting larvae in the cattails below the #3 viewing platform.
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Later that afternoon Terry and I saw what we believe was a sharp-shinned hawk at Yost Park, but I did not get any good photos of it. :mad:
 
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#5
great start for 2014 Bill.. i see the males coming to the feeder.... I am assuming is the females with the red heads... do hummers produce in winter?
 

Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#6
great start for 2014 Bill.. i see the males coming to the feeder.... I am assuming is the females with the red heads... do hummers produce in winter?
The males are the ones with the red heads, which look black when the sun is not reflecting off them. The females have just a small patch of red under their chins. Last year we saw a female sitting on a nest in late February.
 

Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#9
The hummers must have all had hangovers from their New Years Day revelry, as I did not see any Thursday (1/2) at the #1 viewing platform. Looking south across the marsh, I did see one of the Pt. Edwards eagles perched on a telephone pole by the railroad tracks and Willow Creek. I drove over to see it, but got held up at the crossing by a train.
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The passing train did not scare the eagle, as it was still there when I parked in one of the marina parking lots. One of my tenets of bird photography is to take early shots, no matter how far away, as the bird may fly off before you get closer.
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Closer views showed it to be the female. She sat there for quite some time, daring me to be the first to leave. The light was not good and I experimented with different settings. The best was to shoot with no exposure compensation using spot metering while aiming at the eagle's dark feathers.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#11
A few from Friday (1/3). With the tidal gate shut for the winter, the marsh is just a mudflat. The only action is Wesley and his friends chasing each other around the #1 viewing platform.

Friday was the closest I have come to catching one hummer buzzing another in a "J" dive. In the lower right corner is a hummer perched on the tree. In the upper left corner is the hummer which had just buzzed it. I focused on the perched hummer and fired away hoping I would get something. My 5D Mk III has a rapid fire rate of six frames/sec. With the good light, I should have been using my 7D, which has a rapid fire rate of eight frames/sec.
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A small flock of red-breasted mergansers was off Olympic Beach.
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Male.
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Female.
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The marina's resident female belted kingfisher was resting quietly at one of her favorite perches. She made no noise and I would not have seen her if I did not know where to look.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#13
Saturday (1/4) was very sunny. I had no favorites in the Wild Card round of the NFL playoffs, so I made the rounds of the marsh and fishing pier prior to my son's basketball practice. With the tide gate shut and coyote sightings few and far between, Wesley and his buddies continue to be the only action at the marsh. Even the resident herons seemed to have abandoned the place.

I was so "focused" on photographing this hummer...
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that I did not see a second hummer perched nearby (and out of focus) until I downloaded the photos to my computer at home.
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The hummers continue to perch very close to the #1 viewing platform, which makes for some very good shots. You just have to be careful about the low winter's sun reflecting directly off their sides and over-exposing the shots.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#14
The marina's resident female belted kingfisher perched on the railing of the walkway out to the fishing pier.
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Some people were approaching, so I set up for her departure.
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She is flying in silent stealth mode these days without her usual loud chatter.
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A rhinoceros auklet made an appearance directly below the fishing pier.
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I got a "butt shot" as it dove. The low winter's sun reflected directly off the white under feathers and played havoc with the exposure settings. :mad:
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#15
I saw some people on the walkway to the fishing pier looking down at something inside the marina. It was a cormorant a swimming underwater. I think this is the first time I have seen a cormorant inside the marina. These are all basically grab shots. The low winter sun is quite a challenge when photographing rapidly moving birds, as you don't have time to change the settings. I wonder if these photos would have come out better had I used my circular polarizing filter.

Under water.
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The cormorant is surfacing. Everything below the base of the neck is still under water.
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Surfaced.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#18
Prof. John M. Marzluff, a wildlife biologist at the University of Washington, has demonstrated that the evil minions of the Dark Lord recognize faces.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/26/science/26crow.html/?_r=0

I have been photographing the Point Edwards bald eagle pair for the past 4-5 years. I often wonder if they recognize me when my big lens and I show up to take their photos. Sometimes it seems that way when one of them looks at me.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#20
Monday 1/6: Continuing Terry's Waterbirds of the Edmonds Waterfront thread. http://www.pnwphotos.com/forum/showthread.php?9644-Waterbirds-of-the-Edmonds-Waterfront

The gull dropped the crab on the beach. I title this series, When Lunch Fights Back. The crab put up a brave fight, but we all know how it ended. Such is the Circle of Life.
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We ran into our birder friend "Young" Dave on the fishing pier, where we saw an out of the ordinary bird waaaaaaaay off the pier. I thought it was a long-tailed duck, Terry thought it was a scaup. I think Terry was correct.
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Terry had to return home after lunch. Dave, my son Daren, and I went to Yost Park to look for the resident barred owl pair. I led our avian trio to the northeast corner of the park, which I believe is the owls' winter roosting area due to the heavy canopy of Doug firs that hides them from the evil minions of the Dark Lord.

Dave spotted one owl perched on a branch where it was very, very, very dark. My camera settings to take the shot without a flash were insane.
5D Mk III + 5.6/100-400L telephoto zoom, 1/125, f/5.6, ISO 51200.
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I had the noise reduction setting at high. The 5DIII handles high ISO settings fairly well as long as you don't have to crop. Fortunately, the barred owls will let you get very close as long as they are up in a tree above you.
 
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