Theme Day: Nature

Today’s Theme Day topic, Nature, is my favorite subject. For me it’s impossible to narrow down to a single photo. Or even a single concept. “Magnificence” comes to mind as it broadly encompasses the beauty of the natural world. Here, Washington’s Hoh Rainforest teems with so much life it’s hard to tell where water ends and forest begins.

And yet, in the moonscape desert of Death Valley in California the magnificence of time and elements never fails to evoke its own form of awe.

Nature’s creatures are another wonder. Who can ignore the wild majesty?

Great or small, Nature surrounds us with magnificence.

For other interpretations of today’s theme, click here.

Red-breasted sapsucker

A local friend heard this bird making a racket as it drummed on a wire fence at her house and shared several nice shots. Not surprisingly the drumming was part of a mating routine that’s undertaken by both males and females. Bang, bang, bang. “Hey, baby, what’s up?”

As best I can tell this is a red-breasted sapsucker. I tell you this not just to inform you but because I also find it one of those descriptive but amusing names. Maybe it comes with the territory if you beat your head on a wire fence to attract a mate. But then humans don’t always have very dignified rituals either.

Thank you for the photo, my dear local friend!

Other birds

Though I sadly missed shots of many smaller birds on my San Juan Islands excursion with Puget Sound Express last week, I didn’t miss them all. Cormorants posed on piers, driftwood, and rocks as we passed.

Occasionally they took flight.

I spied great blue herons now and then.

We saw lots and lots of rhinoceros auklets and even though these are small I have to post a tiny sample since these are such pretty specimens. Auklets are alcids, common residents here during spring and summer. They’re the chubby black birds with white markings in the center of the shot. There are shorebirds on either side of them, along with a duck. Auklets generally hang out in deep salt water and dive for fish.

Late note: I’ve incorrectly identified the rhinoceros auklets. These are in fact male harlequin ducks. My mistake. I’m certain they were correctly identified on our journey. My memory is at fault. For more details click on today’s comment section and see the comment from Paul from Powell River, a superb blogger and knowledgeable birder.

Eagles

Our trip through the San Juans with Puget Sound Express last week included plenty of birdwatching and it didn’t disappoint. The boat trolled near shores of many small islands that Bob Boekelheide, our Audubon bird expert, identified as bird habitat.

We saw dozens of different kinds of waterfowl, loons, grebes, cormorants and more. And I was nearly consumed with envy as other photographers on board zoomed in with their honkin’ big lenses to capture beauty shots of the smaller birds.

But the abundance of eagles throughout the region was no minor compensation for the shots that got away. We saw eagles young and old, in flight and perched.

From the looks of it the San Juan Islands support a robust population of these top raptors. And in the lower left of this shot those are seals, part of a population of at least a dozen that we saw at this location.

Some of them looked better than others. On a rainy afternoon this wet one looked pretty miserable.