washington

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Osprey Noir

I figured it was about time I added to my Bird Noir series. I was on Elliott Bay, looking out for the re-tern of the terns -- Caspian Terns -- when I saw this Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) flying toward me. I pre-focused where I thought she might be fishing, but she veered off to my left and hovered over a Port of Seattle storage yard that was obscured from my view by trees. Still expecting [...]

2012-04-19T02:32:37+00:00April 19th, 2012|Birds, Uncategorized|6 Comments

Showdown at the Osprey Cell Tower

Three's a crowd ... even in the Osprey world. I'll get back to that thought in a minute. There are two Osprey nesting platforms within three miles of our place, plus several others within ten miles. Last week, all of the Osprey returned to my local spots within the span of a few days. I marvel at the synchronicity of this migration. A friend and I checked the various sites and found at least one [...]

2012-04-18T00:03:54+00:00April 18th, 2012|Birds|8 Comments

Steelhead Poetry on the 18th Weir

This is a postscript to my previous notes on Steelhead Youth. Every year, the audio system in the fish ladder viewing area (Ballard Locks) broadcasts a series of oral histories, each relating to a particular cycle of salmon migration. Right now in April, when you press the red button, you'll hear about the juvenile steelhead migration, and about the precious few individuals paddling tail first from the lake to Puget Sound and beyond. Each informational [...]

2012-04-16T12:02:09+00:00April 16th, 2012|Uncategorized|2 Comments

Steelhead Youth

Puget Sound steelhead travel through the Ballard Locks at a fraction of their glory-day numbers. According to this post at the Friends of the Ballard Locks blog, two to three thousand steelhead used to migrate through the locks. Now, if visitors see just one steelhead looking back at them through the window, they're lucky. A slew of environmental assaults put steelhead on the threatened list in the Pacific Northwest. Those factors include habitat loss, damming [...]

2012-04-16T00:21:54+00:00April 16th, 2012|Uncategorized|7 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

On Double-Banded Knee

Seattle crows are among the most famous of modern crows, owing to studies by John Marzluff which are featured in A Murder of Crows. This PBS Nature episode looks at Marzluff's University of Washington (UW) research projects and the crows' ability to recognize and remember human faces. I've seen a few UW-banded crows around town, but they're usually wheels up with a Cheeto before I can pull out my camera. The other day, I saw [...]

2012-02-28T12:18:45+00:00February 28th, 2012|Birds, Uncategorized|4 Comments

Was it Something I Said?

Spencer Island, Washington -- described by Audubon Washington this way: "A cornucopia of species! Come year-round for Bald Eagles, Great Horned Owls, Northern Harriers, Belted Kingfishers – and woodpeckers: Pileated, Downy, and Hairy, plus Northern Flickers and Red-breasted Sapsuckers. Spring-summer find Tree and Violet-green Swallows, plus Ospreys, Wood Ducks, Blue-winged Teal, Western Tanagers, Black-headed Grosbeaks, Band-tailed Pigeons, Red-eyed Vireos, Common Yellowthroats. Long-billed and Short-billed Dowitchers migrate through in fall. Look for Merlins, Peregrine Falcons, Orange-crowned [...]

2012-02-25T21:35:54+00:00February 25th, 2012|Birds, Uncategorized|7 Comments

These Are Not Leaves

My loose homage to Rene Magritte. They were so quiet, fluttering in the wind just like the leaves. Not even the softest Starling whistle came from that tree. When you've birded or photographed enough, or sometimes even just a bit, it's wonderful how the slightest anomaly then draws the eye. This was more than slight, but the Starlings were in silhouette, and it wasn't until I did a double take, that I saw [...]

2012-02-23T10:59:19+00:00February 23rd, 2012|Birds, Uncategorized|4 Comments

Low Tide Life

“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

2012-02-15T00:30:26+00:00February 15th, 2012|Parks, Uncategorized|3 Comments

GooseORama

This was a much better day for the Snow Geese -- better than my last visit to Snow Goose Central. Hunting season is done, and all of the goose shooting on Fir Island is now camera-only. I started off at this field with one other photographer, and by the time I left, there were six of us, plus a load of SUVs [illegally] lined up on the road shoulder for photo ops. We were waiting [...]

2012-02-04T23:21:07+00:00February 4th, 2012|Birds, Uncategorized|8 Comments

Eagle Noir

I joke (but it's true) that my best eagle and osprey in moments in the Northwest happen in silhouette. There's the issue of light, and how low and flat it tends to be in the winter. There's also the issue of my luck -- where the light is perfect, I'm pointed in the right direction, but the bird has other plans for me, usually flying overhead and hovering mere meters away with a lightbox of [...]

2012-02-02T12:48:00+00:00February 2nd, 2012|Uncategorized|10 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

Bald Eagles Wear the Pants

At the height of Bald Eagle season in Rockport and Marblemount, along the Skagit River, you'll see dozens of eagles, lumbering across the sand bars, dragging and pillaging salmon carcasses. I like to say that birds like pigeons have jodhpurs -- with flared plumes tapering into claws. Eagles, on the other hand, look like they're wearing Wookiee pants, a vision more amusing when these huge raptors cluster together in one spot. We saw such a [...]

2012-01-29T21:22:49+00:00January 29th, 2012|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

Derelict Nets & Entangled Birds

Note: All gulls pictured in this post, and other trapped birds were freed from the netting. Follow Up on 10/21/11: I phoned today and learned that an official went out to this net, confirmed what we saw in terms of bird entanglement, and holes in the net have apparently been fixed as a temporary measure, although I'm anxious to check up on the gulls myself. I was told the Westport seafood company responsible for these [...]

2011-10-19T13:48:29+00:00October 19th, 2011|Ecology, Hunting, Issues, Pollution, Uncategorized, Wildlife Rescue|7 Comments

Yellow Woolly Bear

My caterpillar ID is rusty, to say the least, so a Flickr user helped me identify this caterpillar as a Yellow woolly bear or Spilosoma virginica -- destined to become a tiger moth. I posted about a different variety of woolly bear after a trip to Bodega Head last year where we got some close ups of woolly bear mandibles at lunch. This yellow woolly was crossing a populated path at Nisqually Wildlife Refuge near [...]

2011-10-18T10:43:47+00:00October 18th, 2011|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Pinniped R&R

(about pinnipeds) This group of California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) was hauled out on a dock in Westport, Washington. The scene reminded me of Pier 39 in San Francisco -- although on a much smaller scale. California sea lions are a protected species and, by law, all marine mammals should be viewed from a distance of 100 yards wherever possible. These images were shot with my 70-300mm lens, with a reach of 600mm (35mm equivalent), [...]

2011-10-17T10:56:26+00:00October 17th, 2011|Marine Mammals, Uncategorized|0 Comments

If Orcas Could Buy Sofas …

Orcas can't, of course, pick out sofas. But if they could, they would tell you that their survival may depend on the product and furniture choices we make -- and the industries we support in the process. The orcas of the Salish Sea, who regularly cross the international boundary between Washington State and British Columbia, are among the most PCB-contaminated marine mammals in the world (Ross, Fireproof Killer Whales). They also harbor high levels of [...]

Kingfisher of the New Wave

photos ©ingridtaylar - email me for permissions Big-haired, 80s-style, Belted Kingfisher -- on a windy day in Des Moines, Washington. Kingfishers are famously elusive when they see a lens pointed at them. This girl had good fishing prospects at the Des Moines Marina, so she put up with me for the sake of her prime real estate.

2011-04-03T00:57:21+00:00April 3rd, 2011|Birds, Uncategorized|1 Comment