Wldlife of Edmonds, WA. 2014

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
The waxwings all took off together and were immediately pursued by a raptor of some sort which had been perched nearby.
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I thought it was the adult Cooper's hawk which I have been photographing in the area. I am not ruling out the possibility that the Cooper's hawk was chasing the waxwings, but the raptor I did manage to photograph was a merlin. The original photos were were severely backlit. I had to do a lot of tweaking to determine that the bird was a merlin.
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The afternoon concluded at the marsh with the find of the day, a Wilson's snipe.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Thursday (10/2) my son and I covered the waterfront looking for the return of winter migrants. Squandrons of scoters are gathering in the waters of the dive park. I see the same pattern every year: the scoters remain far offshore until they lose their shyness and come in to swim under the fishing pier in search of mussels
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The zombie-eyed horned grebes always return in time to scare us on Hallowe'en.
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Earlier in the day I had visited the marsh and seen a juvie Cooper's hawk fly towards the marina. A flock of killdeer on the flat, graveled roof of a nearby building panicked and flew out over the marsh as the hawk passed overhead.
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I returned to the marsh in the late afternoon and caught what may have been the same juvie Cooper's hawk on the ground.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
The Cooper's hawk remained on the ground for awhile, then flew to a tree above Willow Creek on the south side of the marsh.
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Three greater white-fronted geese repeated the pattern I had seen a few days earlier of flying from the vicinity of the marina northeast over the marsh and continuing on over town.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
The highlight of the day was photographing two scrub jays which landed on the tall evergreen near the #1 viewing platform of the marsh. I have been told this is a rare bird for Edmonds. There must be something about this tree that attracts rare birds, as it is the same tree where I photographed a palm warbler and western meadowlark last year.

One jay was hidden behind some branches but the other struck a nice pose.
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Both jays took off NE towards the marina.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
A starling was raiding my suet feeder Friday morning (10/3). A flock frequently perches on one of my neighbors' trees, so I am surprised it took one so long to discover the feeder.

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Good to see Wesley is back! How do you tell it's him? If I recall correctly he has a distinctive feather arrangement.

Starlings can be a pest to some but, are also photogenic to others. How are you capturing these shots of the feeder? Almost seems like you are taking the shots from an upstairs window. The feeder is on a shed, right?



Chad
 
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Good to see Wesley is back! How do you tell it's him? If I recall correctly he has a distinctive feather arrangement.

Starlings can be a pest to some but, are also photogenic to others. How are you capturing these shots of the feeder? Almost seems like you are taking the shots from an upstairs window. The feeder is on a shed, right?

Starlings can be a pest to some but, are also photogenic to others. How are you capturing these shots of the feeder? Almost seems like you are taking the shots from an upstairs window. The feeder is on a shed, right?

Chad
The feeders hang from the shed roof. I am taking the shots from my second story deck.

According to one article I read, starlings are the #1 agriculture pest bird in the state of Washington. All starlings in the US are descendants of a handful that were released in Central Park in New York City in the late 1800's or early 1900's by a group that wanted to bring to the US every bird ever mentioned in a Shakespeare play.

I have seen as many as four hummers by the #1 viewing platform of the marsh. I cannot really tell them apart, so you might say "Wesley" is a collective name.
 

Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Some shots from Saturday (10/4).

A male kingfisher on a tree by the railroad tracks.
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Wesley and friend cavorting behind the #1 viewing platform at the marsh. I was shooting at 1/1000 and f/16 so as to get both birds in focus. The photos have been tweaked to compensate for the back lighting.
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The low light near sunset presents special lighting problems when photographing birds with white feathers. I underexposed this shot so as not to blow out the heron's head.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Tuesday (10/7) Terry and I witnessed a "Circle of Life" moment when a crow dispatched a Norway rat at Marina Beach. The former public health official in me could not mourn the rat's passing. Although rats at the marina and beaches can present a public health problem, the presence of other wildlife precludes abatement measures such as poisoning or trapping. Mother Nature has provided predators to control the rats, as demonstrated by the crows.

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The incident also demonstrated the social order of crows. The crows did not fight over the dead rat like gulls would. There were a few dust ups, but the other crows pretty much let the crow that killed the rat eat its meal in peace.
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It took a while for the crow to open up the rat, as crow's bills are not designed for tearing apart prey like the beaks of hawks and eagles.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Wednesday (10/7) Terry, Daren, and I walked the Pt. Edwards walkway. The resident heron was keeping watch from the old light tower above the retention pond.
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A large flock of cedar waxwings was perched on the eagle tree at the top of Pine St.
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They were feeding on berries from trees in a nearby yard.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
From Pine St. we went down to the marsh, where we saw three (long-billed?) dowitchers.
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Unfortunately they did not remain long, but took off headed east.
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I also caught a glimpse of the snipe.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
A large flock of wigeons landed on the far south side as we were leaving. They all appeared to be American wigeons, although it would not be unusual for one or two Eurasian wigeons to be in a flock this large.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
I seldom see seals inside the marina, so I initially thought it was a river otter. It does not have to worry about being hunted by transient orcas there.

Taken from the walkway out to the fishing pier.
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