Anna’s Hummingbirds

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Hummingbird Second Breakfast
Hummingbird Second Breakfast

I’ve gotten my hummingbird feeder up again after having it down for some time, and the hummers are happy. At least three Anna’s hummingbirds have been making regular, frequent visits. They’ve been nervous about me trying to take pictures, but I keep trying, anyway. This morning I set myself up on the deck, about six or seven feet from the feeder, camera, tripod, myself and stool and all wrapped in a sheet. It’s not a proper blind but it’s all I’ve got!

Are you lookin' at me?
Are you lookin’ at me?

The birds had quite a bit to say to me, and a couple of them made a threatening swoop by my head, but eventually one decided it was safe to drink. He came back a few times and I managed to get a few pictures. After drinking he’d go sit in a favorite nearby tree. The other male favors a different tree that’s forms a roughly equilateral triangle with the feeder and the other hummer’s tree. They both sat in their trees and took turns scolding me and each other.

A distant hummer, feathers all puffed up.
A distant hummer, feathers all puffed up.

As I write this they continue to visit the feeder which is suction-cupped to the window next to my desk. I have the blinds down but cracked open so I can see the visitors and they seem more comfortable with me. Every time one visits I want to grab my camera and snap away, but as soon as I pick it up the bird is off in a blur and a buzz. Mostly I keep very still, watching and enjoying their presence.


A Hummer in the Morning

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Anna's hummingbird at a feeder, early morning
This little Anna’s hummingbird looked like it was just waking up.

All the work I’ve been doing lately has been for my zoo projects which I’m not going to post yet, so here’s a photo of a little hummingbird. They only visit my feeder when the blinds are closed so photographing the little guys is challenging. I enjoy them so much that I’m willing to put up with some reflections from the blinds. I’ve had at least four Anna’s hummingbirds visiting the feeder lately.

Heron at the Rose Garden

Great blue heron eating a goldfish
This great blue heron just caught a nice snack.

I was at the zoo for an auction related appointment yesterday. On my way out I decided to take a short stroll through the adjacent rose garden to snap a few pictures. I was trying to get a good angle on a little lily pond when I realized a great blue heron was standing on the edge just a few feet from me, partially hidden by plants. That heron hung around for about fifteen minutes circumnavigating the pool and looking for fish. It eventually snapped up this goldfish, shook out its feathers and flew off toward the zoo.

Heron walking around a lily pond
Taking a stroll

Here’s the heron strutting around the pool and giving me a very serious look.

Great blue heron poised to grab a fish from a pool
Moments before it snatched the fish

Here it is in a classic heron pose.

Great blue heron with fluffed out feathers
The heron shakes out its feathers

And here it is looking decidedly disheveled. I’m a sucker for anything fluffy (except mold) so I love that the heron took a moment to ruffle up its feathers before leaving!



Critter Day at Juanita Bay

Bullfrog on the lily pads at Juanita Bay Park

Today I went to Juanita Bay Park on Lake Washington and took a whole lot of photos. The sun was out and so were the critters. I saw dozens of turtles, a few bullfrogs, herons, ducks, swallows, and a couple little birds that might be juvenile downy woodpeckers. Home again, I’m sorting through all 375 photo files trying to decide which might be suitable for reference for a painting or drawing, which really shine as photograph and which can go straight into the bin.

Some kind of woodpecker at Juanita Bay Park

My camera is a Canon T4i DSLR with a Sigma zoom lens that has an 18mm to 250mm range. I’d love to have more reach, but I’m going to see what I can do with what I’ve got before buying another lens. 250mm is still so much more than I used to have that I’m still delighted every time I use it. On the computer I start off with Adobe Lightroom for photo sorting and initial exposure and color corrections. I shoot in Raw format so I need to convert files to a different format before working on them in Photoshop, anyway. My goal is always to come up with clean, clear photos that don’t require any adjustments, but sometimes the light is just wrong and I’m happy when extreme exposure adjustments mean an image can be salvaged for reference material somewhere down the road.

the little bird pictures to the left is my little mystery bird. I suspect it’s a juvenile downy woodpecker, but I’m not sure of that. If not a downy woodpecker, it’s something related. What a treat! Around the apartment the closest I get is the occasional northern flicker. (I did hear a great horned owl in the middle of the night last week, though! I’d love to get a picture of one of them!)

Cedar Waxwing at the Park

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Cedar Waxwing
Cedar Waxwing

I went for a stroll at the park this afternoon and this beautiful cedar waxwing made my day! Here it is fluffing out its feathers and showing off its crest. I also saw plenty of ducks, crows, red-winged blackbirds and a single Anna’s hummingbird. I also saw quite a lot of people. That’s what happens when the temperature hits seventy degrees in Seattle!


Signs of Spring

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Last night I visited some favorite local ponds, hoping to find some entertaining ducks. The many species that winter there seem to have moved on for the summer, but the year-round Mallard residents have adorable new ducklings. This family was much too busy scooting about the pond to notice me snapping pictures.