Sunday, March 18, 2012

Red-tail Hawks, Beavers and Stellar's Jay Origami

A couple weeks ago I was lucky enough to get these shots of one of the neighborhood Red-tailed hawks as it was flying close to our rooftop, possibly checking out our chickens.  This is one of the pair that is using the nest in a large cottonwood tree in the wetland behind our fence (the area officially known as Kenmore's Wetland #3).  Its mate was soaring much higher up in the sky.

Back in February I noticed that something had been nibbling on the root of the giant willow tree next to the stream at the front of our yard.  I didn't find evidence on any other trees in our yard.

...until a couple of days ago when I discovered brand new damage on two quaking aspen trees further downstream in our yard -

and some branches chomped off of a willow -

I'm assuming it is a beaver, of course.  I wrapped the damaged aspens with chicken wire to a height of about 4 feet to hopefully prevent further damage.  

But today I noticed that there is new damage on a smaller trunk next to the others....

On a lighter note, a pair of house finches were foraging together in one of our raised beds -

You couldn't miss that little guy's bright red head.

This is a collage of the process I witnessed of a Stellar's Jay folding up a long strand of old onion or leek leaf that it scavenged from our vegetable garden -

A pair of jays has been building a nest somewhere next to our house in our neighbors' trees.  I hope to see their fledglings in our garden this summer - little jays are the cutest little things.  

A funny thing I noticed when putting together this collage is that the jay didn't only snag the plant matter for its nest. It is also is holding onto a plastic plant marker in the first two photos.  It must have grabbed that with a claw at the same time it flew off with the onion bit in its beak!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Kenmore Heron Rookery 2012


I spent a little time down at the Kenmore heron rookery in mid-February watching, listening (quite spellbound by the crazy noises being made) and taking pictures.  It appeared that the heron were in the midst of fixing up nests, showing off to potential mates and being very territorial.  I regret that I didn't make a sound recording while I was there, because in the times that I have been back there since I have not witnessed the same cacophony.

(Yep, that actually is a picture of herons mating...)

I had never seen heron flare/puff up their feathers before.  What a show!  Here are several pictures of varying degrees of showiness -

That sleek neck turns into quite the bottle brush!

I didn't realize that those long, dark head feathers would stand straight up like this.

And some other miscellaneous photos of the heron.  Too bad it was such a dark, gloomy day -

A Metro bus driver who was on his break at the Park and Ride told me that the babies make quite a racket.  So I still have a chance to record some crazy sounds down there.