Postcards from a Freegan Raccoon

If I had a photography motto it might be "follow the crows." As sentries of the canopy, crows know what's going on. So I pay attention. If it mattered at all to crows, they could tell me who shattered my car window last month and who stole our Christmas tree (with decorations) back in 1995. What obviously does interest crows is those pesky interlopers, especially during prime nesting season. Around here, that interloper is most often a Bald Eagle. [...]

2018-02-13T04:14:50+00:00 May 20th, 2014|Blog, Mammals, Pollution, Uncategorized|1 Comment

North American Beaver … Eating Lily Pads Like Enchiladas

It's like waiting for a geyser to erupt ... or an eclipse. There's a start time to this endeavor. At 6:45p, we're told, a North American beaver or two (or more) will swim into this stew of lily pads and systematically take them down for dinner. They have a lodge not far away, this family of four. It's plain good fortune on our part, taking a spontaneous walk on the shoreline trail, that we encounter a local photographer [...]

2018-02-14T17:34:07+00:00 May 13th, 2014|Blog, Mammals|11 Comments

Sleeping With the Fishes

This isn't the first time I've seen an Osprey napping with a fish in his talons. Last year, while observing the platform way across Seattle's long-abused-but-recovering Duwamish River I watched a male Osprey land on a utility pole, clutching a half-eaten meal. A crow who'd been tailing the Osprey, landed alongside. The Osprey perched, adjusted -- then appeared to doze off. The crow who'd been haranguing him for some leftovers seemed to be in the [...]

2013-06-16T22:46:07+00:00 June 16th, 2013|Uncategorized|5 Comments

Dear Catfish … the Heron is Not Your Friend

This is the largest prey yet that I've seen a Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) catch and eat in one bite. The heron was hunting around Union Bay Natural Area in Seattle when it suddenly flew off, its breast skimming the water because of the drag from a large fish. The heron landed out of sight, shrouded by distant marsh grasses. When it finally lurked into a clearing, I took a close look through my [...]

2012-06-07T03:05:53+00:00 June 7th, 2012|Uncategorized|9 Comments

The Caching Benefits of Jays

Disclaimer: As you can see, this Steller's Jay is grappling with a few almonds, all of which were left out for the jays who are probably nesting nearby. In other words, this particular food was not foraged from local tree sources. At this point, the jay had four or five almonds stuffed into its expanding esophagus. ------------------- Shot through my kitchen window with the Olympus OM-D E-M5 + Lumix 100-300mm lens. ISO1000, 1/800, f4.5 [...]

2012-06-03T16:00:36+00:00 June 3rd, 2012|Birds, Uncategorized|4 Comments

The Benefits of Anthropomorphism

If you work with or care about animals, the nonhuman ones, eventually, someone will say something like, "shouldn't you care more about what happens to people?" That question doesn't faze me anymore. Given our predominantly anthropocentric world view, I'd actually be surprised if people didn't ask it. I have plenty of answers for why it's a good thing to care about species besides our own. But my top four [anthropocentric] ones are: What happens to [...]

2012-05-03T13:56:26+00:00 May 3rd, 2012|Birds, Uncategorized|3 Comments

Thursday on the Beach With Brant

On the surface, Brant Geese -- in this case, Pacific Brant or Black Brant or Branta bernicla -- are a marvel to behold. That's but a superficial observation. There's a lot more to a Brant than her aesthetic, but let's face it, aesthetics form our first impressions. Clustered together like Tribbles, they call out in staccato, a sound sometimes described as "throaty" or "crackling," but which to me is the tuning of an orchestra horn [...]

2012-04-30T12:55:15+00:00 April 30th, 2012|Birds, Flora, Uncategorized|0 Comments

No Frozen Hummingbirds, Please

In the winter of 2011, my hummingbird nectar froze into a giant lifesaver of an ice cube. I'm a Californian which means I'm used to nectar that ferments into birdie moonshine after a few days in the sun. But last year we migrated north to Seattle ... at the same time Anna's Hummingbirds decide not to migrate south. So, I learned what it means to be a committed nectar provider and a hummingbird enabler. We [...]

2012-01-06T00:42:30+00:00 January 6th, 2012|Birds|0 Comments

Teaching the Kids to Forage

Juvenile gulls are as determined to get free food from their parents-- as their parents are to wean them from the freebies. I've seen many adult gulls swimming or flapping away from their begging youngsters, forcing the juvies to forage on their own. I haven't often watched a parent gull patiently teach the babies to forage ... in this case, luring them toward the meat of a floating salmon carcass. For the sake [...]

2011-08-30T19:27:12+00:00 August 30th, 2011|Birds, Uncategorized|2 Comments