Are We Walking to Alaska

Are We Walking to Alaska
Are We Walking to Alaska - A True Story

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Santa, Crabapples and Shorebirds

Some random fun as we drive around, looking for Snow Geese, or Tundra Swans, or Bald Eagles, or Red Tail Hawks - or whatever might surprise and delight us.
 At first I thought these were rose hips, but no thorns, with the help of neaby blogger, Lorrie, she tells me these are Hawthorn trees - sure would like to see this tree in bloom in the spring.

 And there was a Velvet, vintage Santa, just enjoying the afternoon on the swing - well into the new year.  I guess Santa needs a rest now and then too.
 And a flock of shore birds, Dunlins I think - so far away in the seasonal pond that I couldn't get a great focus - but a thrill anyway - We've looked for these for two years and finally spotted a medium sized flock.

And they scattered as a hawk passed over - what a thrill!

Sunday, February 24, 2019

An Owl on the Skagit Flats

A first for me - a Short Eared Owl - on Skagit Flats.  We were able to pull up quite close to the owl as it sat on a small post and for several minutes watched it as it searched the area.

The sun angle was perfect for catching the tail feathers.
Owls with yellow eyes hunt during the day, those with orange eyes hunt in the dusk or dawn and owls with dark eyes hunt at night.

As we watched the owl, fascinated in how calm it was since it was so close to the road, the man in the car in front of us leapt from his car and swung his gigantic camera around and frightened the owl away - such bad bird watching manners.  You could hear the groans from the cars around us and the little owl flitted off.
Fortunately I had gotten a lot of pictures, and it was especially nice that the sun was lighting up the feathers.  We've been watching for some time for these owls and finally were lucky enough to see one.

Amazing Hawk !

These are some of the best photos of a Red Tail Hawk I've ever seen - and I didn't take them.  
 Our son and family were visiting us from West Virginia for a week in January, and Don took our son and grandson to look for Snow Geese and Tundra Swans.  They saw a lot of Swans but no Snow Geese.
 As they were driving along, a Red Tail Hawk flew right across the road in front of the car, barely above the windshield and landed on a fence post right by the car.  Rusty whipped out his phone and got some fantastic photos of the hawk, just feet away from them, before the hawk flew off - what an adventure.  I've never been that close to a hawk before - they are very skittish and will fly off when cars approach, even if they are up in a tree or on a utility pole.
This one seemed to ignore the car and the people in it. 

And a picture of our grandson Donnie, because I knew you were just waiting for one.  They were at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle one day of their vacation.  It was a fabulous visit and over much too soon.  They are now back in West Virginia and we all have great memories.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Hawks and Herons

Another day - we saw a lot of Red Tail Hawks 
 Fluffing their feathers

 Looking for lunch


 Flying away

 Just sitting
 On a wire

 And a Great Blue Heron in a field with green grass and bright yellow flowers - a pretty winter field.  This is what winter looks like most of the time in our part of the Pacific Northwest (NW Washington State) - all that rain keeps us nice and green.
 Sitting high in a tree
Or stalking something along the edge of the slough.  Any day with hawks and herons is a great day!

Monday, February 18, 2019

Forty Bald Eagles

On a recent trip to Fir Island (where most of the Snow Geese and Tundra Swans overwinter) we saw just over 40 Bald Eagles.  I didn't get photos of all of them - but here are some that I did get.

 Many of the eagles were  perched in the trees lining the dike by the river.

 Some were perched above the fields of Snow Geese and Tundra Swans, often with Starlings in the branches above the Eagles' heads.

 The weather that day changed often, from sunshine to cloudy to partly cloudy and back to sunshine - several times.

 I saw these two perched in a dead tree on the way home on the highway and was able to get a lucky picture of them as we zoomed by.

 More Starlings above the eagle in the tree.

 The eagles have perched here so often they have permanently deformed the top of the tree.
There were five eagles in this tree when we stopped - but one flew off before I could snap the photo.  This was our best eagle day ever.