Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Audacity of Coloration

Ruby and crimson and emerald and shimmery--this Anna's hummingbird is in his full glory, unlike the tabula rasa juvie seen at the bus stop (in previous post).

And bossy and territorial and ballsy. He was divebombing a courting cedar waxwing just before I took this shot.  The courtship was really sweet: both birds were offering berries to each other.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Bus Stop Birding

Pure serendipity: waiting for the bus this morning and was accompanied by this Anna's hummingbird. I'm pretty sure it's a juvenile as it lacks much coloration on its head and throat. Plus, the wings extend beyond the tail; in an adult, the tail feathers extend beyond the wing tips.

And it had a pure, naive affect--too young and inexperienced to realize that I was a potential threat. Instead of zipping away upon seeing me, it placidly checked me out.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Babies Are Coming, the Babies Are Coming!

The bushtit nest a few blocks away is suddenly wiggling with life--mother and father are on ceaseless food procurement duty now that their babies have hatched.

Here is dad with a creepy-crawly high-protein meal.

Below is dad, left, and mom, right, as they emerge from nest after feeding young.

Parking Lot Birding

Sometimes the best birding happens before the birdwatching officially begins. On Saturday morning I was waiting with a bunch of Auduboners in a parking lot before setting off for a field trip to Fort Lewis, when I noticed this very, very waterlogged bird.

It was taking advantage of the dewy grass and taking a bath--burrowing and burrying its head into the damp blades and shaking back and forth with great enthusiasm.

It wasn't the "best" birding of the day, but it was definitely the most charming.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Path to Yum

"You guys are so mean!" Uncensored and admonishing, these were the first words out of my mouth yesterday.  (Yes, I talk involuntarily out loud to birds.)

I was talking to the two crows who lucked upon a juvenile robin for breakfast yesterday. As I approached, one flew off with its head. The body was freshly dead, still warm and pliable.

While I photographed the body, one crow stood sentry above, waiting to claim the corpse.

Many conflicting thoughts: Those damn opportunist crows. But crows need to eat. I love crows. The cycle of life. The poor bereft robin parents. Robins are plentiful and skilled procreators, at least thus far into the century. Survival is a numbers game; that's why birds lay so many eggs, sometimes more than once per breeding season. I, too, am an opportunist. I am taking advantage of the bird's death by transforming it into a blog entry. Opportunism has a perjorative implication, but in the ecological sense, it can be used in a neutral sense too, I think.

Here is a more amusing, and less successful, Attempt At Yum I saw a few hours later in Marymoor Park in Redmond:

Clearly, this male mallard had found his own Path To Yum, as evidenced by his grassy beak.