As soon as I stepped out the door for a walk this morning, I heard a lot of crows making a huge racket down the street. They were perched on a telephone pole, flying up and swooping around like they were trying to scare off a hawk.
Of course I walked toward them to see what was going on.
By the time I reached the end of the block, the crows had given up and flown off. But I noticed people were out in their front yards looking up at a tree. It turns out the crows had been trying to scare off a hawk that had killed a pigeon and settled into the tree to eat it. At first I could only see the occasional feather raining down, until I moved to where I could see through a gap in the branches. Continue reading →
Seriously, though, I was determined to get some decent photos of these two geese because they are unusual. They’re clearly Canada Geese in terms of body shape and the pattern of markings. But every other goose of this type that I’ve seen has had white patches on the sides of the head, not brown patches, and lighter colored wings.
I uploaded the photos to iNaturalist, and since iNat’s AI didn’t have any better suggestions for species, I tagged them with the Branta genus. (Observations: one goose and another goose.) Someone who knows more about geese than I do suggested they might be hybrids, or they might be Canada Geese with a mutation.
I’ll have to keep an eye out for this pair the next time I’m there. I know a lot of the waterfowl use it as a migration stop, but I’m pretty sure some of the ducks and geese live there year-round.
An Anna’s hummingbird perched at local park. Most of the time they don’t stay in one place long enough for me to even focus on them, never mind catch a photo. Even when they pause somewhere like this one, it’s usually just for a few moments before they fly off again.
Of course, the reason the bird was staying in one spot was that it was grooming itself, so I also had quite a few shots that looked…less impressive.
I’ve been seeing hawks lately when I’m out walking, which is new. I know partly it’s that I’m actively looking for suburban wildlife, but I’ve been doing that since last June when I started participating in iNaturalist. I started noticing how many squirrels and sparrows and phoebes and finches were around (in addition to the crows and pigeons and seagulls) right away. Maybe it’s seasonal? Maybe it’s the time of day I’ve been looking?
Whatever the reason, I’ve logged four observations over the last month or so. First, two red-shouldered hawks I spotted while hiking.
This is the best photo I managed to get of any of them, because it was perched in a relatively short tree at Madrona Marsh Preserve. Maybe only ten feet off the ground, just off the trail and not too far ahead of where I was standing. When I saw it, I stopped and took about five photos. It looked around, no doubt trying to spot some of the zillion tiny frogs I could hear (but not see), and then flew up to a higher tree, presumably for a better view.
This one’s not as detailed, but I like the way it came out. I saw it from a few hundred feet away in a tall tree at the South Coast Botanic Garden. Yay for zoom lenses! (Though I still cropped the heck out of this shot.) It stayed there for a while, but I decided not to try to get a closer view and just continue hiking.
And then on two occasions I’ve spotted red-tailed hawks up in the same electrical transmission tower while walking along a bike path. In both cases I spotted them from a distance, perched up in the metal struts, not sure what kind of bird I was looking at until I could get closer.