urban wildlife

:Tag: urban wildlife

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. [...]

2019-02-01T00:51:42+00:00May 20th, 2014|Blog|1 Comment

Gull Chicks and Gateway Birds

"When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it's your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not."~ Artist Georgia O'Keeffe Gulls are among the birds I call "gateway birds." They're common and accessible. They [...]

2019-02-01T02:37:15+00:00August 1st, 2013|@Popular Posts, Blog|22 Comments

Herons + Friends With Totipalmate Feet

It begins with a twig in the bill and the throaty croak of the swamp. They're creatures of the marshes, the Great Blues, now on ascent to a season in the trees where nests incubate eggs, and where clumsy young legs will soon dawdle on branches until they get their wings. They call this place the satellite colony, since the rest of the rookery is tucked in a ravine so lush it might as [...]

2019-02-01T21:14:44+00:00April 5th, 2013|@Popular Posts, Blog|5 Comments

Return to the Mother Ship

This was a serendipitous capture ... getting the two honey bees in a straight line, and in the same plane of focus. I was photographing a single, pollen-soaked bee when the other entered the frame and queued up behind. Whenever I see bees on a slow approach to sunflowers, I can't help but think of mother ships and gravitational pull. I shot the bee photo in one of Seattle's vibrant P-Patches, tucked below [...]

2012-09-11T18:46:15+00:00September 11th, 2012|Flora, Parks, Uncategorized|2 Comments

Steam as Bird Backdrop

My affection for wildlife in urban and industrial settings brings me the subject of steam. There are obviously a lot of distracting elements in urban photography. Although I lean toward a photojournalistic style of realism when I encounter them, I also find it challenging to show the grit of these scenes while retaining some aesthetic and balance in the shot. That's when I'm shooting wider, contextual shots. For closeups, even in the city grind, I [...]

2012-09-08T15:24:49+00:00September 8th, 2012|Uncategorized|2 Comments

Arc of the Kingfisher

I have a few terabytes of backlogged photos I've never posted -- many of which should probably stay archived. But, I thought for sure I'd published this one. When I searched my blog archives, it appears this image never touched the pages of The Quark. This is a banner I created last year of a Belted Kingfisher in flight (Ceryle alcyon). I shot these frames off Elliott Bay in Seattle, and layered them in Photoshop [...]

2012-04-10T13:13:04+00:00April 10th, 2012|Birds, Uncategorized|8 Comments

Bird Photography Outtakes

Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) in Seattle, Washington. Okay, I'm pretty careful when I'm photographing around roosts. And, cormorants give you plenty of warning with all of the guano splatters below their perches. In fact, I can't think of the last time I got hit by a big bird ... so, it's funny that on the same day I photographed this display, my camera and I got a nice spray from a different cormorant -- filtered, [...]

2012-04-02T15:23:17+00:00April 2nd, 2012|Birds, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Say It’s Only a Cormorant Moon …

... sailing over a cardboard sea. The sun came out and I raced down to the locks where, just a few days before, I'd seen the most perfect light on alighting herons. There's a rookery that spans a ravine, the northern terminus of which is at the Ballard Locks. Several Great Blue Heron couples (Ardea herodias) took up residence there last month, as they do each year ... above the roar of the spillway, the [...]

2012-04-01T15:34:58+00:00April 1st, 2012|Moon, Uncategorized, Weather|6 Comments

Too Much House, But Still Some Goose

In 1905, the Duwamish native Cheshiahud told The Seattle Times that he could no longer catch trout in Lake Union because “too much house now -- they all gone.” 1. Seattle's city-central lake was then known to the Duwamish as meman harsh, or "little lake," surrounded by marshes and streams that fed both the lake and the Duwamish people. European settlers named it Lake Union, on the promise that it would be the unifying body [...]

2012-03-29T17:47:53+00:00March 29th, 2012|Uncategorized|2 Comments

From the Primordial Soup of Lake Union: American Coots

American Coots creep out of lakes like creatures of the bog, drawing up mud with their lobed toes as they march, single file, from the water to their feeding grounds. I once watched hundreds emerge, one by one, from the low-tide flats at San Leandro Marina in California, forming a line of black baubles from the shoreline to the golf green where they stopped to feed. Almost as suddenly as they appeared, they marched back [...]

2012-03-17T01:44:41+00:00March 17th, 2012|Birds, Uncategorized|6 Comments

Parrots Directing Traffic

As my life in California drifts farther behind me, I'm given to fits of sentimentality ... especially for the wildlife and wilderness we left behind. Among my emotional favorites are the wild parrots of San Francisco -- actually, Red-masked Parakeets or Cherry-headed Conures. These are the celebrity birds featured in Mark Bittner's The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill. I always loved the parrots. But I grew genuinely attached to them after intercepting some would-be parrot [...]

2012-03-04T18:37:47+00:00March 4th, 2012|Uncategorized|4 Comments

These Feet are Made for Diving

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 [...]

2012-01-31T20:06:23+00:00January 31st, 2012|Uncategorized|3 Comments

The Flying Wallendas … I Mean, Pijendas

I'm a sucker for pigeons. I loved them long before Hugh and I rescued a couple of lost racing pigeons, and I continue to love them long after. People who've never observed pigeons will marvel when they first notice how pigeons out-maneuver Peregrines in harrowing chases. These birds, whose ancestors sprang from the cliffs alongside their evolutionary partners, the falcons, have a lineage that defies their humble reputation. They've been war messengers, like Cher Ami. [...]

2012-01-26T21:21:15+00:00January 26th, 2012|Birds, Uncategorized|6 Comments

Grackles & Apples …

... and grackles foraging across Nevada, exploiting urban food scraps. One of my favorite things about visiting southern climates is the summer night chatter of grackles ... the cavatina that becomes the dissonant ensemble of grackle song when huge groups of the birds roost on urban plazas. These were winter-time grackles -- Great-tailed Grackles roaming the parking lots of Las Vegas in search of handouts and leftovers. I particularly love the way grackles use their [...]

2012-01-17T05:05:10+00:00January 17th, 2012|Birds, Uncategorized|4 Comments

Bird Noir

There are wildlife photographers who apologize for any urban elements -- like street lamps -- in their bird images. I embrace those shots, for three reasons: I admire the rugged survivalists that are urban birds and wildlife. What we throw at them in the way of obstacles, pollution, windows, automobiles, poisons, traps, wires and electricity, and still ... they persist. They not only persist, they thrive. They find ways to turn our infrastructure into shelter [...]

2011-12-03T20:56:03+00:00December 3rd, 2011|Birds, Uncategorized|6 Comments

Home is Where the Cell Tower Is

Sequestered indoors for the rain, I've been sorting through my photo archives, hoping to cull my duds, once and for all. I came upon my gallery of Osprey shots ... taken this summer as I checked in occasionally with a local nesting couple. These two never did not appear to produce any young, but there were long spans when I didn't visit, so it's possible. I hope to see them together again next year as [...]

2011-11-25T19:04:02+00:00November 25th, 2011|Uncategorized|1 Comment

If a Heron Had Written “Your Song” …

Hugh and I watched two herons dance around the idea of landing on this roof, skirting the aerial chaos of gulls along Alki Beach. One finally planted its feet on the A-frame, while the other lurked in a tree above. Looking at the pic, Hugh started singing the lyric from Elton John's Your Song ... "I sat on the roof ... and kicked off the moss ... " It occurred to me that the heron [...]

2011-08-24T10:14:41+00:00August 24th, 2011|Uncategorized|2 Comments

Bald Eagle in the Backyard

This is a huge bonus of living in Seattle: the urban and suburban wildlife includes a multitude of Bald Eagles. This morning, Hugh went into our friends' garden to fill up their bird feeder -- a chore we both kind of enjoy. A huge contingent of birds descends right when our boots leave the scene of the feeder. As he walked into the garden, seed in hand, he saw this [very] big bird, perched on [...]

2011-03-08T20:57:51+00:00March 8th, 2011|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Dine Like an Eagle

We came upon this scene on a Seattle area beach . . . a small stretch of private community beach where we have a pass. Planted on the pebbles, way far away, too far for my 70-300mm lens, we watched as this Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) wrangled with a second eagle, a group of crows, and a vortex of gulls overhead, all looking for a freebie from the eagle's fish. The bird intruders annoyed the [...]

2010-10-24T01:24:37+00:00October 24th, 2010|Birds, Uncategorized|2 Comments

Pigeon Over Seattle

This pigeon did aerial turns and hovers that rivaled a raptor's. I captured a few frames as she took off from Pike Place Market and hovered for a few seconds against Seattle's skyline. Thanks to SkeletalMess on Flickr for the Creative Commons texture "Tainted" which I used in the above rendering. Related Pigeon Posts: Lancelot-Guinevere: The Case of the Castle Pigeon Changing Our Cultural View of Pigeons [...]

2010-10-06T14:04:05+00:00October 6th, 2010|Uncategorized|0 Comments