One of the most impressive views of the Skagit Valley migrating birds are the great masses of them when a flock takes flight. Camera in hand, I only caught a few here and there. The best I managed was here.
However many are in the air I find swans beautiful and elegant and often their wing movements synchronize as they fly.
They’re beautiful to see.
Interestingly, even in the middle of a flock swans take off and land without bumbling into one another.
Smaller flocks of trumpeter swans that gathered nearer to roads in the Skagit Valley permitted closer shots. Some foraged in grass, others in the muddy fallow fields.
Maybe it’s common among swans but I was impressed with this one’s version of swan yoga. Maybe it was sick of standing in mud but if this isn’t a variation on a yoga balance pose I don’t know what is.
As if to cap its performance it blithely tucked its head back, still on one leg.
The Skagit Valley, about a 3 hour drive east of Sequim (including a ferry ride), is a winter birding hotspot. I’d seen terrific photos and videos of great masses of snow geese and swans in the flooded agricultural fields. It seemed a practical way to see what I could learn about shooting birds by paying a visit. This scene greeted us not long after we arrived in LaConner, a sweet little town at the edge of the Skagit Valley.
We roamed the valley for a couple of days. This was as close as we could get to large groups of birds. We found many smaller flocks of swans not far from the road, feeding, resting, honking, and bugleing.
This was a group of hundreds. A wide angle lens would have done it more justice but I was still excited by the sight.
I was trying to photograph a fence and kept hearing branches rattling. “Am I knocking into something?” I wondered. I moved over. Kept hearing it. I’m embarrassed to admit how long it took me to look up and find this downy woodpecker.
It was a very windy day at Dungeness Bay. I saw a grey mass bobbing in the bay. When I zoomed in I discovered ducks…dozens and dozens of them. You know, uhm, birds of a feather and all that.
I hope you’re not sick of swans yet. If the photography gods are smiling you may see more of them, and other migrants, soon.
My new zoom let me look this guy in the eye. Very cool.
It’s a belted kingfisher.