Today on the trail I met two chaps observing something through a huge 3′ telescopic lens. I stopped to chat, curious about what they were looking at. It was a hummingbird nest.
I looked but didn’t see it at first, thinking it must have been 100 feet away. But it wasn’t – it was close at hand right on top of a bare branch, exposed to the weather. The mother returned and flitted around for a minute or so before a lighting on the branch, whereupon she began feeding the babies. I could see wide open tiny yellowish beaks from where I stood, but there was no sound. The big camera began clicking away and I didn’t want to horn in while watching, so I waited until many pictures had been taken then raised my own camera and focused on the mother. She stopped feeding, looked up and flew away. I did get one picture of her, however.
hummingbird and nest
Not far from there I saw a squirrel lying unusually still.
squirrel at rest
The field nearby is full of daffodils.
Going through the pictures from the last month I was struck by how much the weather has changed. In February we had plenty of snow.
Today when the sun came out it seemed like winter was long gone. Three days ago I saw a turtle, sunning.
People here are saying spring is a month later than normal.
red tailed hawk
flicker ground feeding
one of the “wild” cats that hang out in the park
a mouse, after the owl ate it
blue bug on the window
There has been a noticeable shift in the weather lately – despite almost constant rain for days, the sun’s warmth can be felt when it deigns to shine. Spring means migration, and the appearance of birds which either left town or went into hiding over the winter. I also got a very close look at the heretofore very shy muskrat, which inexplicably one day last week stood its ground despite the loud attention of numerous enthusiastic kids, and me with my camera almost in it’s face. Only the attack of an irate duck sent it on it’s way. Green buds abound in the brush, and in the field I saw new flowers poking up suddenly.
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
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
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
I was too busy snapping to notice the tail 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.
A Cooper’s Hawk showed up, too. Sometimes I have a hard time discerning the Cooper’s from the Red Tailed.
More birds here, somewhat easier to identify:
Red Wing Blackbird
Glaucous Winged Gull
NaNoWriMo has begun and I’m already behind in my word count. But sunshine beckoned and I made a tour of the lake after lunch. Not only is this a good time of year to find typewriters, but it’s shaping up to also be excellent for sighting birds and animals. Here are a few shots from the last three outings.
Trumpeter Swans on high
I don’t often see this, and at first I thought they were Canada Geese.
This owl was hiding in an aspen grove, close to where the Great Horned Owls were.
Pied Billed Grebe
This Grebe was here and gone in a day.
We came face to face with these two the other day; they simply stared at us.
This guy I discovered from his tell-tale tapping. It took me a minute to find him right in front of my nose.
The Wren hops about so quickly I was lucky to get this shot.
This female was on the ground, presumably poking her beak about for ants.
Now back to the typewriter, merely 800 words behind. I’m using my Olympia Splendid 33 at the moment.