Wildlife of Edmonds, WA. 2015

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
A juvie Cooper's hawk was perched in a tree adjacent to the one where the merlin and great blue heron were perched. I wonder if this is one of the juvies from City Park, which is straight east of the marsh, just across Hwy. 104/Sunset Ave.
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The hawk flew over to the merlin's tree.
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One of the Pt. Edwards eagles was perched in the family tree on top of Pine Street. An osprey flew by, which rounded out a four raptor day at the marsh.
 
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Thursday afternoon (8/13) Daren and I went to City Park to look for the juvie Cooper's hawks.

We found one perched on a tree beside the driveway through the park.
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Here's looking at you, kid.
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The old game of "spot the bird."
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Helpful hints.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Earlier that morning I had spotted what looked like a flock of least sandpipers flying over the beach just below Sunset Ave.
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I may have spotted the same flock later that afternoon at the marsh.
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I may also have spotted the second juvie Cooper's hawk at the marsh, which is just across Hwy. 104/Sunset Ave. from City Park. I hope it decides to stake out the marsh and fish hatchery as its new territory.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
The merlin continues to hunt at the marsh using one of the dead trees as a lookout perch. I got some flight sequences with the 5DIII + 500L + 1.4x teleconverter.
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I have considered using the 2x teleconverter to get closer, but I'm afraid it would limit my field of vision too much to get flight shots.
 

Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Friday morning (8/14) I caught a Douglas's squirrel scampering north along my back fence. Everyone's back fences on my side of the court line up to form a squirrel freeway to Pine Ridge Park, home to many Douglas's squirrels. A few minutes later I photographed the squirrel on my neighbor's fence as it was headed south back to the park.

The squirrel had a peanut in its mouth. This is the second time I have seen a Douglas's squirrel doing this. I suspect it is stealing peanuts that I throw out for the Steller's jays. The jays stash the peanuts in hiding spots and this squirrel may have found one.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Later Friday morning I took advantage of the cloud cover to photograph two semi-palmated plovers at the marsh.

Two plovers and a western sandpiper.
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The semi-palmated sandpiper (rear) looks like a miniature version of the killdeer (front).
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Plover and a western sandpiper.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Sunday evening (8/16) two of the resident marsh raptors put on quite a show for three of us photographers.

The merlin flew up to the top of the evergreen tree behind the #1 viewing platform to eat a dragonfly. I used two different camera/lens combos to photograph it. I'll let you, the viewing audience, decide which one was the better choice.

7DII + 100-400L II telephoto zoom, handheld
If you look closely, you can see the dragonfly's wings in some of the photos.
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5DIII + 500L telephoto + 2x teleconverter, tripod mounted
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
The juvie Cooper's hawk made two flights so close to the #1 viewing platform that I was unable to photograph it. :mad:
It did pose for us on the man-made snag from which the martin gourds used to hang.
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It flew from the snag to the boardwalk handrail, where we lined up to photograph it.
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The hawk took off and made some passes over the marsh. At one point it landed in a tree and was attacked by a juvie crow. I got photos of the altercation, but they were not good enough to post. By now the marsh was in shadows , so these photos were taken with insanely high ISO settings. I just felt fortunate that I was able to track it and get some flight shots with the 500L telephoto + 2x teleconverter.
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It returned to perch on the snag.
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I assume this is one of the City Park juvies. I don't know how large of territories are needed by Cooper's hawks. I hope one of the juvies can settle at City Park while the other calls the marsh and fish hatchery home.
 
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Prior to the arrival of the Cooper's hawk at the snag, a kingfisher flew up there while the merlin was eating the dragon fly. I hoped the merlin would not take off as I grabbed some quick shots of the kingfisher.

The sun was very low when I took photos of the kingfisher and the Cooper's hawk perched on the snag. The photos of the Cooper's hawk I posted above were tweeked with Picasa's auto color correction feature, which I assume adjusts the white balance. I keep my cameras' white balance settings on auto.

Here is the kingfisher photo as taken:
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Here it is with auto color correction.
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As taken:
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Color corrected:
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As taken:
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
The Edmonds marsh continues to be visited by migrating shore birds. Unfortunately, the bright sunshine of our "California" summer does not allow for good photos with the attendant glare and heat waves. I may try my circular polarizing filter the next time I am at the marsh. It may not do any good, but it certainly cannot make matters worse.

Some interesting shore birds were present Saturday (8/22), making a nice change from the usual western and least sandpipers.

Two semi-palmated plovers were out in the mudflat.
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They later took off. From their size, shape, and manner of flight; I mistook them for their larger cousins, the killdeer. I realized my error when I later viewed the photo on my computer.
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A flock of about thirty sandpipers took off north, probably westerns and/or least.
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The flock of sandpipers was followed by a pair of Wilson's snipes, which stood out by their larger size . We usually see snipes in the winter and spring. I have never seen them here in the summer or fall. I don't know if that is the fault of me or the snipes.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
The juvie Cooper's hawk continues to hang around the marsh.
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It is not shy about visiting the north side of the marsh and the boardwalk, where it is more likely to be near people. It may have become habituated to people if it is one of the two that hatched and fledged at City Park. Four of us at the #1 viewing platform watched it groom for several minutes while perched on the rail of the boardwalk.

These two bird watchers had to leave, so I set up to catch some flight shots. The hawk let the women get fairly close before it took off.
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I like this photo of it flying past some walkers.
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It flew over to the man-made snag which used to hold the martin gourds.
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Thinking back to years past, I usually see at least one juvie Cooper's hawk in the collective Pt. Edwards/marsh/fish hatchery/marina area each year. I wonder if they are all offspring of a resident local adult pair.
 
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
I have not seen Wesley in quite some time, but there is a young male in his territory.

I used the 7DII + 100-400L II zoom to photograph the hummer hunting bugs off the tall evergreen behind the boardwalk near the #1 viewing platform.
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Later in the evening I got some interesting backlit photos with the 5DIII + 500L telephoto + 1.4x teleconverter.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
I was in my backyard Sunday afternoon when something very falconesque landed atop one of my neighbor's trees. Yes, one of the Maplewood merlins is back.
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It flew off and I relocated to my back deck to see if it had flown two blocks west to the trees near the house of my friend Mona the artist, the last place we had seen them. The merlin was indeed perched on top of one of those trees. It spent the next several minutes harassing two flickers which had flown into the same tree. The merlin made several passes at the tree, chasing the flickers as it dived past them.
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It was probably a training flight as I don't think the merlin was large enough to take out a flicker.
 
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
My son and I then went down to the marsh to test the use of a circular polarizing filter against the glare of the sun off the mud and water. I saw a raptor-like bird chasing some shorebirds at the far southwest corner of the marsh. It then flew to the marina and perched on the mast of a boat. I could only get some distant shots of it with the 7DII + 100-400 II zoom before it flew off.

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I think the bird was a peregrine falcon and not the juvie Cooper's hawk based on its tapered wings. If I am correct, it was a two falcon day and my first shot of a peregrine this year.

Correction: Reviewing this thread, I forgot that I took shots of a peregrine falcon at the marsh over a two week period in late February and early March. Such is life over 60. Terry tells me it gets worse over 70. :(
 
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
A flock of band-tailed pigeons has taken up residence in one of my neighbors' trees. I can hear their soft cooing in the morning (which my wife thought was an owl), but I have been unable to spot them. One morning I caught three of them near my bird feeders but was not fast enough to get any photos.

When I returned from the marsh Sunday afternoon, five were perched in a tree in the backyard of my next door neighbor. I suspect they have been clandestinely residing in his backyard for several years, as I remember seeing one perched on his roof a few years ago. Every once in awhile I will spot one in the neighborhood.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
I haven't seen Wesley all summer. Thursday (8/27) there were three or four hummers vieing for his territory near the #1 viewing platform of the marsh. I got some shots of two of them together.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Later that evening I dropped my son off for tennis at Lynndale Park in nearby Lynnwood. I heard the distinctive barking of the PNW's native Douglas' squirrel in a tree near the courts, so I parked the car and tried to locate it. Douglas's squirrels have the habit of barking incessantly when a threat is near, so I was hoping the squirrel had seen an owl. I don't understand why the squirrel wants to reveal its location as owls hunt by sound as well as by sight.

It turned out the squirrel was hunting for blackberries, as were several people I came across in the park.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
I walked some trails in the park looking for owls. I did not find any, but I came across a mystery bird on the trail. It was getting dark and I was shooting with my 7DII, which does not handle high ISO settings as well as my 5DIII. Even so, I think these shots are good enough so someone can identify the bird.

I suspect it may be a common bird in juvie or molting plumage, which is making it hard to ID. It looked larger than a sparrow and moved rather quickly on its feet along the trail as though it is a regular ground feeder.
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Note the white feathers on the underside of the tail.
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