Originally published at The Wild Beat in 2013 I stepped out of a mist and I knew I am. I am what I am. And then I thought, 'But what have I been before?' And then I found that I had been in a mist, not knowing to differentiate myself from things; I was just one thing among many things." ~ Carl Jung, The Red Book I used to think about Jung and bird [...]
I spotted my first migratory ducks on the urban shores of Elliott Bay last week. The new arrivals are on edge -- wary and easy to flush. Lifting my lens is enough to send them skittering to the middle of the bay, and I can only imagine what sights and sounds have jarred them into high alert on their long journey home. I think of how far the winter ducks soar, finally dipping into [...]
This is my annual re-post -- on the first weekend of waterfowl hunting season in both Washington (where I'm living now) and California (my home). I've been lightly tweaking the post each year, adding new information or links.My reason for re-posting this piece is to bring attention to some of the lesser discussed aspects of duck hunting. The most significant issue for me is the enormous injury rate in all wing shooting -- a facet [...]
This is my annual post -- on the eve of waterfowl hunting season in both Washington (where I'm living now) and California (my home). It recounts a waterfowl hunt I encountered unexpectedly in the Sacramento Delta area of Northern California. I've been lightly tweaking the post each year, adding either a few new details or links. This year, I'm recommending a book by Marti Kheel: Nature Ethics: An Ecofeminist Perspective. Kheel addresses the gap between [...]
“When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty.” ~ John Muir
One experience can change a word forever. This experience took place in Venice years ago, on a guided tour of the Doge's Palace. Our lovely guide, who couldn't have been more enthused about his subject matter, simply could not pronounce the letter "W." So, we took note of the palace's 'ooden beams, the historic 'ooden boats, and the 'ooden prison stalls. CUT TO: Seattle Arboretum 2012 There's an area where the resident Mallards like to [...]
Ducks have reason to be nervous around us humans in the winter, and diving ducks are always dive-ready if danger is imminent. Sometimes, I refrain from even pointing my lens at ducks, having learned that this act alone can be a stressor for them. Almost all flying ducks will divert course, even a little, when they see an object like a lens pointed at them. Yesterday, I came upon this male and female Barrow's Goldeneye [...]
I wish I'd been closer than the far reach of my lens, struggling for focus in the thick of weather. I snapped these from the shore, capturing the distant dynamics of a Bufflehead courtship ritual. Two males were vying for the one female pictured here.
If you know birds, you know that preening isn't cosmetic fluff. It's a meticulous cleaning and placement of the bird's survival gear: feathers. Feathers need to be pristine for flight and for insulation. During oil spills, the analogy used about feathers is that a spot of oil on a bird's plumage is like a hole in a wetsuit. A substance like oil breaks the seal of the perfectly hooked barbules of the feather, [...]
. . . it's a Seattle thing. First alert -- a look overhead and warning calls: American Wigeon first responders leave lone Eurasian Wigeon to contemplate his next move: And he's off: Safety in numbers: The instigator comes into view: The juvenile Bald Eagle shows little interest in the ducks, catches the thermals, and whirls up over the trees. The wigeon [...]
I went to the local duck pond to follow up on the American Wigeon flock that took residence there in the late fall. The one Eurasian Wigeon in the flock is still among them . . . I'm not sure if he has a mate. There were several obvious couplings in the group, with pairs sticking close together, preening next to each other, and puttering around the pond in tandem. During one of my previous [...]
Here's my segue from Winter Water . . . to the semi-graceful form of winter ducks. The snow is gone, but I still froze my fingers into Rocket Pops, snapping pics of these ducks navigating their own version of tundra. Unlike me, the ducks kept their digits warm, thanks to the ingenious countercurrent circulation system employed in their feet. In short, the capillaries of a duck's feet work with the arteries to modulate foot temperature [...]
Distant Arrival - ©ingridtaylar There's an Eliza Doolittle thing happening at the local duck lake. Hugh and I have been frequenting our neighborhood shoreline on Puget Sound -- a local, private beach where we hold the golden ticket: an access pass. It's a coup really, because a lot of the shoreline is privately held here in Washington. This short strip of beach is a gem. It's the tip of a 10+-acre restored wetlands [...]
There's a wetlands pond not far away, with a group of friendly, habituated Mallards . . . and a small contingent of alert, migrating ducks (this week: Wigeons) who keep to themselves in the shade of the reeds, as far from humans as possible. The Mallards approach any new human. The possibility of food from neighborhood locals is too great for them not to exploit it. When someone does arrive with snacks, mayhem [...]
As we inched our way toward the cranes, I heard the sound that always shatters my serenity like, well, a shotgun. Because it was a shotgun -- very close by. In a clearing across the river, just a hop and a skip from where we were ...
I snapped some shots this morning of a ducks flying overhead. Poor ducks will reverse course sometimes if they see something pointed at them ... like a camera lens. If you make a trip to heavily hunted turf like Gray Lodge or the areas around Cosumnes Preserve, you'll see what skittish really looks like. The slightest footfall will send them flying and scampering. I wish they didn't have to be so terrified. But they do. [...]