Red-Tailed Hawk Above

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed hawk doing a fly-by, intent on its destination. Another of the birds of prey. Rarely will I find hawks stick around for very long in order for me to get a good shot. They tend to thwart me more times than not. But on occasion I can get a decent shot.

Late fall and early winter are the times when I have my best chance of getting a decent hawk photo as they seem to be around more during that time of year. This one was taken in November.

Cedar Waxwing and Red Holly Berries

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar waxwings flocked to this holly tree one early fall. I had several days of photographic opportunity to observe these birds as they picked this holly tree clean of red berries at their leisure.

I sat in the car, and watched the birds, using the car as a sort of blind since the tree was next to the driveway. Loved watching these little guys as they interacted and enjoyed a plethora of berries, keeping me very entertained for quite some time. And a generous helping of photos to sort through once they were gone.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Eagle After the Rain

Bald eagles are a predatory bird that I see more often than one might expect. This one appeared to be drying off after a rainstorm, or perhaps after diving for a salmon for its lunch.

This is not a bird I often see close up, so, again, a long lens is necessity, especially since the trees are very tall, and eagles always like to take that top seat to get the best place to survey the world around. Again, if I’m out and about early in the morning, when few others are walking or running the trails, I have a better chance of seeing them nearby to photograph.

Wintering Swans

White Trumpeter Swan rising from the water

Swans arrive in winter and stay around till February. Just the other day a saw a wedge of swans flying by as I was out hiking. So, I’ll be looking for them as usual this year. Such graceful, lovely birds to watch and photograph, sometimes on the lakes, sometimes in the fields. If I can get out early in the morning I find them easier to spot on the water in smaller groups, sometimes called bevies. Further north, and I can get a glimpse of tundra swans, closer to home we see trumpeter swans. They winter with us for a short time, and then they move on.

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker, Fir Road, Skagit County

Downy woodpecker taken from an extreme distance. There are times when I take a photograph, but I’m not exactly certain what species of bird I’ve gotten until I get back to my computer to process images. This happened to be one of those images.

One of the fun aspects of photography is the surprise encounters. When I go out with my camera, I expect surprises because one cannot anticipate what nature and wildlife will appear on any given trip. Even if I’ve been there time and again, something new and different is always likely to occur. it might be a bird, it might be a flower, it might be an insect, it might even be a structure, anything can happen. As it happens this was my first trip to the wildlife refuge near Fir Road, in Skagit County. I hope to get back up there sometime in the near future. But for now, staying close to home. I’m glad I did get the chance to get there last year.

It’s about remaining open to the possible as well as the impossible, the expected, and the unexpected, be it familiar territory or unfamiliar territory. It’s never boring.

Junco with Personality

Junco at Mt. Ranier

Junco at Mt. Ranier, where you can usually find some snow even in summer. This little guy was perched at Paradise at the top of the mountain. He sort of looks like he’s ready to have a conversation starting with, “Who are you and what are you doing on my mountain?” Or maybe, “Got anything good to eat?”

Northern Shoveler

Northern Shovelers

The Northern Shoveler is somewhat of a dabbler duck. Favors broad, shallow marshes. Often found using its large bill to strain insects and seeds from the water.

Caught here at rest and contemplation, but often seen with bill to water ferreting out their prizes as they move with purpose. Interesting to observe as they have developed a rhythm of circling, bill immersed in water as they hunt. Like watching a syncopated dance on water, especially with a pair such as this.

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Two Crows on a Rail

twocrows-0479_blog

American Crows that landed nearby. Crafty and intelligent. The oldest recorded crow lived to approximately 16 years. Usually traveling in large numbers, unlike the raven, which will travel in pairs rather than larger groups. Murder of crows, the term used for large groups or flocks of crows, so known because of their scavenger-like nature.