Tag Archives: bald eagle

The Falling Leaves

Daylight time has gone. Today I ate lunch at 11.30 since my stomach is still on its former schedule. Before the light faded this afternoon I decided to head out around the lake for a quick walk before dark. Good thing too, because the sun was sinking low as I left. I grabbed the camera on my way out, and fixed the big zoom lens, just in case. I haven’t carried this camera for months, but I had a hunch today might be the day – the day the owl returns. Until recently the leaves have been hiding the life that is now visible since they are rapidly falling. What they reveal is very interesting.

a barred owl returns to the same branch every year

Well, sometimes you get lucky. As soon as I entered the copse of trees where the owl can often be found in November, I spotted one, and the sun was lighting it up as if it had been placed there as the perfect setup just waiting for me to come along. I wiggled my way into the brush to get a bit closer and tried to find a line of sight that didn’t have branches in the way.

buck with something funny on his head

Satisfied with some decent pics I continued on my way, taking a diversion to check for horned owls in another part of the wood where they have been known to hang out, but they weren’t about, or couldn’t be seen if they were. Back on the main path, a doe jumped out in front of me and into the brush. Then I spotted her mate half hidden behind a tree. He cautiously came out and I got a shot of him crossing the path. With his pointy antlers I stayed well away in case he took a notion to shoo me off. I didn’t notice the odd antler that looks like it sprouted from between his eyes! Just a few yards further on I looked up to see a huge paper wasp nest that was now in plain sight.

a big wasp nest

Continuing on I crossed the new floating bridge and was pleased that the far end of the trail will never again be flooded over, since they raised a berm there about 4 feet high. Around the backside and turning east I glanced up to see a Red Tailed Hawk sitting in a bare tree, and right below it another large dangling wasp nest. I crept as close as I could to get a better shot of the hawk, expecting it to take off at any second, but it seemed to be watching things on the ground and it chose to ignore me. Often they depart as soon as I start approaching.

red tailed hawk

The south side of the lake has now flooded again as it does once the rain comes, and the slough was filled with ducks and geese. Way off in the distance near some tall firs I thought I saw an eagle fly past.

ducks being ducks, and geese being geese

Once I rounded the last side of the circle I spied a pair of Bald Eagles wheeling and spinning over a small flooded meadow. They dropped down as if to grab a fish not once but several times and scattered a flock of ducks and birds.

eagle swooping in

final approach

The pair landed beside the water, a rare sight, and I watched them have a drink.

think I’ll have a drink

Then they left and the ducks all soon reappeared as if nothing had happened.

all clear, back to feeding

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Three of a Kind

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A few more for your viewing pleasure:

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Filed under Birds, Photography, Poetry, Wildlife

Lucky Streak

Last night I won $84 on my 6/49 loto ticket. So I purchased another one. I know that statistics prove that lucky streaks are random occurrences, but maybe I’m having randomly occurring luck. It certainly seems to be that way with the birds recently. I’ve seen three bald eagles in the past five days, another one just today around noon. It seems to have taken up residence in a local tall tree.

resident eagle

resident eagle

Another bird that is quite literally trying to take up residence is a Pileated Woodpecker. I heard its tapping and then saw it low down on a rotten tree trunk, right beside the trail, excavating a huge hole. I had the camera set up at f32/400th of a second, which was a mistake, because the auto ISO function set the ISO so high the image was very noisy. I’m trying to improve my image sharpness, but this was over doing things. I also took some video of the woodpecker, but it wasn’t in focus.

Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

Crossing the floating bridge I was treated to a show of herons and ducks. One heron was preening itself as several Mergansers cruised by. One Merganser then  flew right in front of me but the photo was out of focus, sadly. However, I did catch another heron as it swooped by.

heron and merganser

heron and merganser

heron in flight

heron in flight

Yesterday, close to home I spotted a Cedar Waxwing.

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

Now to spread the good fortune around I will be promoting my novel The Game of Hearts, by giving away the Kindle ebook free for the next five days, starting tomorrow, January 7th.

Just go to the Kindle website listed at the top of this page and you will find it there.

postscript:

I returned to the tree 2 hours after I first saw the Pileated Woodpecker to try my luck again. This time I set the camera on a tripod and waited. Sure enough after a few minutes the woodpecker returned with a series of squawks, and began digging out the tree. It was on the opposite side of the first hole however, and the sun was right behind it. I had to move the camera into the shadow of another tree, which obstructed my view somewhat, but the results were much improved. While I was waiting for the woodpecker a wren arrived to check out the excavation.

pileated 2

too much lens flare!

pileated 3

pecking the other side of tree

wren

wren checking out the digs

 

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Winter Birds

During the last weeks we’ve had a lot of sunshine here, which makes for good lighting when it comes to photographing birds. I’m trying to be diligent and not venture out into nature sans camera with telephoto lens affixed. My reward has been a few good bird sightings. We made a special trip last week to seek birds in the farmland nearby, but had no luck. So we went down to the beach that faces east to the mainland and were treated to an excellent view of Mt. Baker in Washington.

Mt. Baker, Washington

Mt. Baker, Washington

Back at the lake we watched some ducks slip sliding around on a frozen section. Parts of the ice were so thing the ducks kept falling through, which was hilarious.

Ducks on ice

Ducks on ice

We’ve seen plenty of raptors lately, including one Red Tailed Hawk that had just captured its lunch – a rat. I only noticed the rat when I downloaded the pictures.

Red Tailed Hawk

Red Tailed Hawk

I was too busy snapping to notice the tail of the rat!

a closer view of the rat

a closer view of the rat

We were treated to a perfect view of a Bald Eagle one day last week, sitting in a tree right beside the path. It’s very rare to get so close to one of these; they usually sit at the top of much taller trees, generally evergreens, too.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

A Cooper’s Hawk showed up, too. Sometimes I have a hard time discerning the Cooper’s from the Red Tailed.

Cooper's Hawk

Cooper’s Hawk

More birds here, somewhat easier to identify:

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow

Red Wing Blackbird

Red Wing Blackbird

Glaucous Winged Gull

Glaucous Winged Gull

Spotted Towhee

Spotted Towhee

Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker

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