A visit to a little known trail up along a windy lumber road in the Hoh Forest. In the middle of winter, we had a lovely sunshine-filled morning as we hiked along the trail. Thick forest growth allowed for moments like this, where streams of sunlight cut through the shadowy trail. Another one of those magical moments in nature. Hoh is one of the largest temperate rainforests in the U.S. and truly an amazing experience.
Living in the Pacific Northwest, another of my favorite subjects in the fall and winter are mushrooms. There are all shapes and sizes to be found almost anywhere you look.
There can be a magical and mystical element ever present when hiking or on a picture-taking odessy into the woods. I can be walking along, searching, and not see a one. Then, suddenly, I see one, just one. And then all of a sudden I can see them everywhere. It’s like this magical veil is removed from my eyes on whim from the fairie world, beyond our usual scope of what we see.
This can often happen for me in nature, because it feels like a whole other world beyond our fast-paced, technologically-savvy existence. It’s using different senses, different instincts. And it trully is magical.
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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Yellow-rumped warbler of the wood warbler family. The only warbler able to digest wax-covered berries, such as bay berries.
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.
Swallow. Not the action, but the bird. Known for aerial feed, as in grabbing food on the go, “swallowing” – the act – without landing. Can be quite a feat sometimes to photograph as the soar and dip and catching them on the go can be a challenge.
Not totally certain about this shore bird as I can’t see the legs, but I’m leaning toward a sandpiper subspecies of the Lesser Yellowlegs, being more of a mid-size species, with a straight bill.
Steller’s jay, another bird with a pretty distinctive call. They usually move pretty quickly through the trees, like the scrub jay. I did manage to capture this phone near McIntosh Lake. Subspecies of the jay, as is the scrub jay, and closely related to the blue jay. Bold and aggressive, with a strong call.
One of those lucky, sunny days at Nisqually Wildlife Refuge. Tide was in, and so were the harbor seals, having a great lazy afternoon catching some rays. Pacific harbor seal, also know as common seals, or “real” seals, have spotted coats, ranging from white to gray, to dark brown.
Sparrows. So many sub-species. Natal philopatry – that strong, driving force to return each year to the area where they were hatched, representing a differentiation between the Savannah Sparrow and other sub-species of sparrows. Kind of like salmon who return each year to spawn, I imagine.