I am not sure which of these species is the star of this little photo shoot. Is it the brave crow brothers telling the eagle he is not wanted here? Or is it the story of a juvenile bald eagle just finding his way in the world?
I am torn since both birds are widely loved and admired and disliked. Taking sides is like betting on your favorite sport team. I will leave it to you to decide.
The picture above of the eagle shows this youngster hanging out in the winter wind. He is perched in a snag tree that adult eagles favor. Perhaps his parents are the ones I spotted there last fall. He might be returning to his only home or a roaming teenager looking for a place to call his own.
It is not likely he will win the battle for this piece of the Puget Sound coastline. It has long been staked out by older eagles. They will not think kindly of this one or two year old child interloping on their territories.
The reason I call him a youngster is his lack of white head and tail. The process to adult plumage in bald eagles takes about 5 years.
Add to his challenges of growing up is a crow murder that lives here at Lincoln Park. He is lucky only the brothers have found him. If it was later in the year during nesting season, not only would he be harassed by his own kind, but also a crow mob of larger proportions.
For me I had a grand time this sunny Sunday winter day. Many like me had come out to enjoy a reprieve from rain and dark skies. Since I was walking around with binoculars and camera in hand many asked me what I was seeing. Then they too saw this interlude that they might have otherwise missed.
My favorite thing to do is to hand them my binoculars and watch their face as they see a bit of wildlife up close. Their gratitude for talking to them and showing them is very fulfilling.
I share with you now a video of the air show our brothers crow performed.
I have been on the hunt for the caramel crow this week since seeing her on Friday. Here is the link to that sighting. Caramel Crow – Round One
As I walked the streets and trails around the area and where I saw crows flocking I talked to quite a few folks. Many said they had seen her & a few said there are two. I am not 100% sure the one I saw today is the same. It could be because when you look at these photos you can see how white or cream colored her back is. The first encounter when she flew off I could see all that white.
She seems to be more like a Siamese cat than brown all over. That is a black/dark brown head with a white body. See what you think in this photo.
One last thing before you watch my short video. This crow is very shy and both times flew away as soon as I got a step closer. I have to assume many people and children have tried to see her or even catch her. Will have to use a few peanuts to win her respect.
Whenever you search for waterfalls in Seattle you get a list hikes that are up in the foothills and mountains. No one mentions that at times there are a few smaller versions when we get a downpour. This waterfall chaser found just such a little gem this weekend.
It is on a normal day a blah drainage ditch type stream that flows across Lincoln Park in West Seattle. She comes to a bluff that overlooks the Puget Sound and drains down a rock strewn slope. I suspect this was man built by the 1930’s W.P.A. (Works Projects Administration) in an effort to protect their other work.
They built quite a bit of Lincoln Park’s features from the rock wall along the beach to the covered picnic areas. This includes the covered spot with a fireplace right below my waterfall. A grand sidewalk winds down the bluff – it has two sides; one heads north and the other south. Below the twin cement paths is a restroom and the fireplace shelter. Hence their desire to control run-off.
The north side is where our waterfall exists. So, enough said. Here are the photos and video you crave of a city waterfall.
Starting at the top of the bluff here is a cell photo of the water flooding over the muddy path and roaring down the chute. This is a bit of a hidden area above the developed area I describe above.
Next is a video I took from my cell phone from the top looking downward to the beach and posted on my Instagram account.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Then the chase began. The babies flew off to the northwest. I trucked after them following Baby Chatty’s loud talking.
Next is was a madrona tree with more playing, pecking and singing.
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.
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?”
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
The second is a little Anna Hummingbird in the bushes next to the pool building.
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.
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.
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.
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.