Posted in Birds and other fun topics

Raven Baby Chatter

This week a dream came true when I found the Raven Family of Lincoln Park. For several years I have been fascinated by how the ravens moved into town.  Many bird sites clearly state that Ravens are in Washington State except in urban areas like Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma etc.  When we went to the mountains I would thrill at seeing these large corvids. I even had an exciting series of photos of one stealing from a motorcycles saddle bags at Sunset on Mount Rainier.

Raven enjoying view

In 2013 I personally saw a raven in my southwest Seattle neighborhood.  In the following years even found a baby in Lincoln Park plus some visiting birds in Fauntleroy Park. Here are the links to those articles and photos.

Ravens in West Seattle 2013?

Raven Baby Lincoln Park 2016

Raven Visiting Fauntleroy Park – Spring 2018

Call of the Raven – Fauntleroy Park – Summer 2018

We have a fairly large park in southwest Seattle with a large forested area. Lincoln Park is best known for it’s salt water pool and the nice beach waterfront area close to the Ferry Dock to Vashon. I usually hang out in the wooded sections admiring cedar trees and hoping for some bird sighting serendipity. This weekend I heard the ravens there but couldn’t get a good photo.  When I finally got my camera out they had quickly disappeared.

The next day I thought I should try again. Betting that small family will still be around. Moving baby birds is not something parents do unless they are very distressed. The park is so nice and full of places for them I doubted they had a motive to leave.

I was so right and for a half hour I followed along on a baby raven ride!!  What a ride it was.

It all started when I heard them from quite a distance and walked quickly to the area I had seen them before. Low and behold I found them because one of the babies was chattering up a storm.  Here is a look at what that first area looked like. Dead center of the photo is where the baby was.  His parent flew into a tree to my right.

Lincoln Park forest with Raven Family

Here is mom or dad swooping in to make sure baby was not messed with. The baby was chattering to everyone in the family about what he was doing. He was testing his voice and crooning, croaking, making echos and having a grand time going from tree to tree. This small murder seemed oblivious to us humans. Very unlike crows who are needless to say very protective of their kids. Bet if we did try to mess with them there would be retribution administered by these large birds.  Perhaps their size makes them bolder than their crow brothers.

Raven Parent watching & listening to his baby

The baby flew towards me and landed on a low branch behind me. Then to my delight another baby flew onto another low branch. At first a parent came over to that tree and then moved in with baby chatty.

Second Raven youngster hanging out

The second baby was quieter and was busy poking into the tree bark looking for bugs. The video below shows him using his large beak to do that.  All the while his sibling continues to vocalize non-stop.

Another lady was watching with me. The singing of the baby enchanted both of us. Then the whole raven crew flew over by her onto low branches of a cedar tree. Before we knew it they landed on the ground and searched for tender things to eat. All the while she was only a few feet away. The parents even went out onto the trail and strutted a little bit for everyone. Such brave strong birds.

Ravens on the ground – fearless of us humans

Then the chase began. The babies flew off to the northwest. I trucked after them following Baby Chatty’s loud talking.

Fir Tree landing spot – check out the big beak & pinkish corner

Next is was a madrona tree with more playing, pecking and singing.

Just hanging out on a summer day!

You can tell for sure this is a baby (as if his and his parents behavior wasn’t enough to tell) by the pink mouth that this photo shows off. Check out how his feathers are so defined too.

Chatty Baby Raven showing off his pink mouth.

This baby was constantly busy. Not only being Chatty Cathy but also pecking at everything. I laughed thinking he was saying to his parents “See what I found? Is this good food? What should I do with this? See how I can land here?”

Raven child pecking on branches

I know you want more audio of this encounter!  Here you go!

Then the adventure ended when the two babies and the one parent landed on a tree branch together.  To my delight the other parent joined so we got this family picture.

Raven Family Photo
Posted in Birds and other fun topics

Christmas Eve Eagles

It was a beautiful day between Northwest winter storms plus I had a new camera to test out. So, off to Lincoln Park I went. There I walked the trails towards a staircase that goes down the bluff to the sound. I heard this high pitch bird screetch which can only be from a Bald Eagle.  There on a snag seen from the forest staircase was the eagle pair sunning themselves.

The first photo above is from the trail staircase. What made me double happy was the excitement the eagles caused to others. Before I hit the staircase an older gentleman on a bicycle had wished me Merry Christmas. I told him there was a pair of eagle on the snag and he followed me.  Then I loaned him my binoculars and he was bedazzled while I took several photos.

Pair of Eagles at Lincoln Park middle staircase
Bald Eagle watching it all

Next I walked down the stairs to the beach in an effort to see if I could get a better view from there. Wow, lots of folks were strolling down the path on the shore. Kids, parents and all sorts of dogs were basking in the sun on this day before the holiday.

I found the snag and the eagles were still just hanging out. They were oblivious to the human parade down below their perch. I took up a place in the driftwood looking for a place to perch my camera to get a good shot.  I started with less zoomed out to document the larger environment.

Bald Eagles sun bathing on Xmas Eve 2018

Then I work on the zoom in close-ups.  Bird photography is at the mercy of the bird staying put. By doing it this way I can at least get a shot. If one starts fussing with zoom you risk getting nothing but a snag.  Who wants to share a photo of an old dead tree?

Keeping those feathers is serious business
The eagle mates hanging out & the feather fluffing continues

Next to me in the driftwood were three kids building something with boards and stray logs. As I was concentrating on stabilizing my zoomed out camera I overhead the dad say to them…. look at the two eagles.

After I got a few shots, I got up and loaned them my binoculars. They were entranced just like the guy on the stairs & very grateful to see these magnificent birds up close.

Eagles on Puget Sound pondering where to have their nursery.

Hope this pair sticks around and raise a family in Lincoln Park like they have in the past. Have to keep my eyes open for them and perhaps get more great shots with my new Nikon Camera.

 

Posted in Birds and other fun topics

Elusive Kinglet

Little birds in the Pacific Northwest brush flicker around from branch to branch in search of insects and other tasty things. They travel through the woods with other small birds like chickadees and kinglets. Photography of them is a challenge that requires taking many pictures with no birds in them. The technique used to capture larger birds where a visual sighting is made and then snapping a shot just does not work. By the time the camera is focused and the shutter hit they are gone.

Today, I gave it a try at Lincoln Park in Seattle. I heard them first and then saw some activity on a fir tree.  Got my camera up and started taking photos knowing some would have them some would not. I got 3 bird shots out of 13. Guess not too bad. All three are of a female Golden Crowned Kinglet. She was so quick I was surprised I got 3 shots.

First the photo you see at the beginning of this post has her on a branch looking away. Her coloring makes her hard to see but she is there tad to the right of center.

This next one is the best of the lot in it’s clarity and her facing us.  You may also have trouble finding her in this shot too but look to the center area. Once you see her you won’t miss her the next time.

Female Golden Crowned Kinglet in Lincoln Park

Lastly is the third picture which is actually the first of the series in my memory card. This one has her in flight. Not a clear shot by any means.  However, I like it since it illustrates the elusiveness of these quick little birds.

Kinglet in flight – so hard to capture on film!
Posted in Alki History Trail

Crowded Head – Alki Trail

Lincoln Park, a large forested city park that faces upon the Puget Sound, is our next stop (#3) on the Alki History Trail. Specifically Williams Point where Coleman Pool stands.

The guide tells us the following:

This name referred to the thick brush that covered the small lagoon. Indigenous place names were very practical in their descriptions of Alki’s geography.

Coleman pool was built in 1941 and donated to the city by the Coleman Family who were one of the first families to settle in the Fauntleroy area. This was after the WPA, CWA and CCC’s helped develop Lincoln Park in the 1930s by clearing underbrush, building trails, seawalls, playgrounds and tennis courts. This lovely rare salt water pool still exists 75 years later. Here is a sign posted by the Whale Trail group. It tells a little bit of the  history around the area and the whales that pass by.

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Historically, the area was used by the Native Americans and where the pool stands was a natural tide pool swimming hole.  The Southwest Historical Society has some information about the area that gives you some more color to the area.

Native Americans appreciated and used Fauntleroy Cove well before white pioneers arrived. A 1915 excavation to widen Fauntleroy Way uncovered evidence of an ancient Native American burial ground near where Fauntleroy Creek flows into Puget Sound. Local residents have found middens of clamshells indicating that Fauntleroy Cove had been a Native American clamming and fishing site into the 19th Century.

At a very low tide one can still see what Native Americans call a ‘spirit boulder’ south of the ferry dock. Native Americans claim that the boulder, Psai-Yah-hus, is the dormant spirit that lives underground and caused landslides and earthquakes. The boulder, slides and quakes are still with us. The Native Americans have long since been gone from the cove.

The mention of the burial grounds near where the creek flows into the sound helps you understand more about why they called the bluff “It has Scorched Face on it” (#2 stop on the Alki History Trail). Until I did this research I thought it was the color of the bluff that we cannot see but now I think it was the ashes on mourners faces.

Another set of clues are here in this quote about the red spirit boulder I can’t seem to find. It is only visible at “Very” low tide. It also talks about how the spirit causes landslides and earthquakes.  Yikes!!  Do I really want to find this special place?

To give you an idea of what the natural salt water pool surrounded by brush might have looked like, while at Discovery Park I took this photo of a tidal pool surrounded by brush. Crowded Head does explain this look don’t you think?

Discovery Park Tidal Pool - example of Crowded Head
Discovery Park Tidal Pool – example of Crowded Head

To make this story complete I have to share the two bird encounters along the way to Coleman pool. First one of my crow family on the driftwood with the Vashon Ferry in the background.

dscn0595The second is a little Anna Hummingbird in the bushes next to the pool building.

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Hummingbird hanging out

Follow along on the trail by going to this directory of all 24 stops on the Alki History Trail at this link —-> Trekking the Alki History Trail

Posted in Baby Crows

Raven Baby in Lincoln Park

To my delight I found a baby raven in Lincoln Park (West Seattle). I heard from someone I met on the trail in Fauntleroy Park that there were ravens in Lincoln. This was the second time someone told me that in the last week or two. Ravens are not known to come down into the urban Puget Sound area. They are found in the foothills and in Eastern Washington but certainly not in Seattle. That makes this news even more special.

So, I walked over and listened for the tell-tale sound of ravens. They have a deeper chuckle rather than the brassy caw of a crow. After wandering around I heard a chattering type chuckle. My brain went… Baby Raven!! It did not have the usually baby crow high pitched momma momma caw but he had a deep bass clucking sound.

I pinpointed the tree and then started to circled it with my binoculars. Sure enough there he was very high up in the tree with another raven. The red arrow on this picture shows how the naked eye couldn’t have found him.

Raven Tree
Raven pair up high in fir tree at Lincoln Park – Seattle

This other bird could be another baby or parent. It is very hard to tell from this distance. Here is a short video so you can hear his baby babbling.

Another identifying thing that makes this baby a raven instead of a crow is the size of his chin ruff and the heavy long beak. This picture shows you his really big schnoz. Plus look in the background and you can see the other raven just hanging out.

DSCN0035
Raven Baby playing and babbling in fir tree in a Seattle Park

I did some research on ravens in this park. They have been hanging out for a couple of years and last year another bird watcher caught a baby on video.

Enjoy!!  Remember to leave your technology in your pocket. Look up and listen for sweet moments like this.

Posted in Birds and other fun topics

Owl harassed by Crows

Serendipity followed me to the park today.  As I walked toward the Eagle’s nest in Lincoln Park, I heard crows mobbing something.   As a crow stalker I am always drawn to what the crows are up to.  This was a great surprise, they were chasing an Owl and I actually got to see all of them in action.   They hung out long enough for me to take some still photos and a small video.

Noisy crows drew me to this Owl
Noisy crows drew me to this Owl

Very special sighting today.

Lincoln Park Owl
Lincoln Park Owl

 

Posted in Crows at the Beach

Three Amigos

Three amigo crows
Three amigo crows

At Lincoln Park on the beach wall three crows lined up awaiting the next peanut hand out.  This sea wall was built by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) that helped employee the unemployed during the great depression in 1930s.

This family of crows followed me from up on the bluff where they recognized me for feeding them peanuts in the past.  Yes, crows know who is naughty and who is nice and I have been labeled to be ok since I feed them.