Posted in Birds and other fun topics

Stellar Silhouette

Wandering through my favorite park in West Seattle I heard some larger birds making a ruckus. I could see them through the treetops flipping around sometimes in pairs and other times just single birds. As any bird watching can go, I had to change position to get a better view and figure out what kind of birds these were.

Their size was enticing in that they were crow size but not black enough. That means they might be a woodpecker or if I was in luck a hawk. Ruled out an eagle since they were just not that big.

Down by a bridge and boardwalk over Fauntleroy Creek I finally got my binoculars on one of the birds. To my delight I saw a hawk. But that was all he would give me and he was gone before I could get my camera on him.  I kept searching the tree tops for more movement in hopes of getting that elusive photo.  Dreams that this would be one of the Cooper Hawk babies danced through my head.

Then I saw a bird in silhouette. Camera ready I got these shots and found I had captured a pair of Stellar Jays playing chase me catch me.

Here is the first culprit I got my eye on.

Jay way up in the trees

Notice how there is little color in these photos. Almost a perfect silhouette but if you look close his blue jay blue shines through.

Look close and you will see his blueness

Then he met up for his rendezvous and they flicked into a tree together.  They even posed for this family portrait.

Stellar Silhouette Time
Posted in Birds and other fun topics

Backyard Camping

Let me tell you the story of a girl who wanted to go camping. She set up her tent in the backyard and filled it with blankets and pillows.

The backyard? How tame is that? Her husband laughed at her and said “Have at it. I am sleeping in the bed and not on the hard ground”.

She persevered and as night came cuddled up in the blankets with a good book. The cats even gave her hell. They stared at her through the back door wondering what kind of crazy this was.

Darkness came and it cooled down even more. The birds and other critters chirped and rustled into their beds too. The world got quiet except the breeze and the wind chime. The stars came out despite the city lights. Then sleep came upon her.

It got colder but all was snug in the tent sleeping away in the great outdoors. An odd metal sound woke the tent girl. It came from the neighbor’s yard over the fence or so it seemed. Then a snuffling and munching sound came from the garden that was near by.

Garden and bird bath that had a visitor near the tent

That got the girl’s attention and sleepiness vanished. Would you open the tent door or just hang tight? How big was it? What was it? In the end the tent stayed zipped up and it had to be something small like a raccoon or possum.  But then it could be a coyote or a bear. Unlikely a bear but a coyote was possible.

What happened next was even more unnerving. It started to growl. Yes right  next to the side of tent a creature was grumbling at the tent or another creature. The girl was happy now that she hadn’t open the tent door for a peek. The flimsy tent wall was all she had between her and the growling creature.

This went on for what seemed forever. Then the sound of claws on bark and wood came as music to ones ears. The creature had climbed up the pine tree and gone back over the fence. That sound of claws on the tree sealed the deal that it was a raccoon coming for water in the bird bath or some snails in the moist soil.

Sleep came again at last. Then it was dawn. NOOOO!!  It was back and had set off the motion detector floodlights in the back yard. The tent was blasted by light and more sounds. Over on the other side of the yard it could be heard walking on the rock walkway and rummaging around for bird seed.

The lights went out and relaxation came back. BAM!!  The lights came back on again and the noise continued. Then the lights faded out and it was gone at last.

How dangerous is the backyard? Some would say not at all. However, if they heard the growling creature what would they say then? The sleeping girl stayed strong and did not run into the house. She snoozed off again knowing it was safer than out in the true woods.

Then it really was dawn. A soft light filled the tent and bird calls welcomed the day. Time to get up they called.

Morning at the Backyard Camping Spot – see the Pine tree the creature climbed in the background

Out she popped from the tent and the girl was greeted by a stellar jay getting his breakfast from a monkey puzzle tree cone in the neighbor’s yard. What an adventure! Started out and ended peaceful but had a bit of sheer terror in the middle.

Leave you with the photo at the top of a Stellar landing on the big seed cone and below of the jay pecking away in our urban oasis.

Stellar Jay getting a Monkey Puzzle Tree snack
Posted in Birds and other fun topics

Fluffy Birds

The sun is coming out at last. The Crows are playing hidey and making themselves scarce. The stick building seems to have ended and it is time to get busy with that family thing.

May not have taken any crow photos but I was delighted by flicker woodpecker triplets and a stellar blue jay. Starting with the flickers.

They were hanging out on our neighbor’s roof. Mom was there keeping her eye on the brood. The main clue that they are babies was their fluffy, downy appearance. I was able to get a shot of one. The other two got busy and dove off the house.  So, is bird photography.

Young flicker hanging out in the morning

The next shot shows his profile and red flicker markings.

Fluffy Flicker

The stellar jay I captured today was up in a budding maple tree. He was sunning his blueness in the sunshine. He is not a downy baby but rather his feathers require maintenance. It has been so damp he took advantage of the warmth to get some overdue fluffing in.

Stellar Jay fluffing his feathers.
Cleaning under the wing
Got to get the other side!
All better!!

Never know where a peek into nature will show itself.  Glad I could share these two with you.