Photo of the Week - April 26, 2011

Heron, Human and Crow tracks on the sand dune
Umpqua Lighthouse State Park
Reedsport, Oregon

April 26, 2011

Photo of the Week - April 26, 2011

Gaultheria shallon

Oregon Coast
April 26, 2011

Photo of the Week - April 14, 2011

Migrating Western Sandpipers
standing in the surf during a hail storm
Grays Harbor, WA
Calidris mauri
April 14, 2011

Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival
April 29 - May 1, 2011
From late April through early May, hundreds of thousands of shorebirds concentrate on the muddy tideflats of Grays Harbor Estuary on the Washington Coast. Grays Harbor Estuary is one of four major staging areas for shorebirds in North America and one of the largest concentrations of shorebirds on the west coast, south of Alaska. Shorebirds gather here in the spring to feed, store up fat reserves, and rest for the non-stop flight to their northern breeding grounds.

The Western Sandpiper (Culidris mauri) is the most numerous shorebird on the Pacific Coast of North America. Between 250,000 and one million individuals are present on single days in San Francisco Bay, Grays Harbor, the deltas of the Fraser, Stikine, Fox, and Copper rivers, and Redoubt and Kachemak bays during spring migration from mid-April through mid-May (Page et al. 1979, Butler 1994, Gill et al. 1994, O’Reilly and Wingfield 1995).

Western Sandpipers migrate from as far south as Peru and Panama to Alaska and the Arctic.

Check out the Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival website for birding trips and lectures during the migration.

Check out the Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge website for best times for viewing shorebirds at Bowerman Basin.

Photo of the Week - April 11, 2011

Male Red-winged Blackbird
landing on cattail reeds
Agelaius phoeniceus

Photo composite of 4 images in sequence

Swantown Marina
Port of Olympia
Olympia, WA

April 11, 2011

Photo of the Week - April 9, 2011

Get outside before Spring has Sprung!
Pileated Woodpecker Excavations
Dryocopus pileatus

• The Pileated Woodpecker digs characteristically rectangular holes in trees to find ants. These excavations can be so broad and deep that they can cause small trees to break in half
• The feeding excavations of a Pileated Woodpecker are so extensive that they often attract other birds. Other woodpeckers, as well as House Wrens, may come and feed there.

There are lots of wonders awaiting you if you step outside this week or next. The natural world is in full blown transition from Winter into Spring. Birds are migrating, establishing territories and finding mates. Spring plants are emerging and blooming in all their tender glory. Come out and enjoy the awakening.

Native Bleeding Heart
Dicentra formosa

Deer Fern
Blechnum spicant

Trillium ovatum

Photo of the Week - April 8, 2011

Male Red-winged Blackbird in flight
Displaying red wing-patches
Agelaius phoeniceus

Swantown Marina
Port of Olympia
Olympia, WA
April 8, 2011

from BirdWeb: ©2005-2008 Seattle Audubon Society
Red-winged Blackbirds are among the most well studied birds, especially in regard to behavior. They form flocks outside of the breeding season and nest close together. Although they pack tightly into small areas, they are very territorial during the breeding season. Males often sit up high on tall cattails surveying their territories and will aggressively fly after intruders with their red wing-patches displayed boldly. They forage on the ground, but will also forage in shrubs and trees.

Red-winged Blackbirds can breed colonially, but that may be more as a result of patchy breeding habitats than true colonialism. They are polygynous: males commonly mate with 2 to 4 females and can have as many as 15 mates. Nests are made of grass, and are usually lashed to cattails, bulrushes, or other emergent vegetation close to the water. The female incubates 3 to 4 eggs for 11 to 13 days. She broods the young and brings them food. The male may help feed young at the nest his primary mate, but additional mates do not generally get help from the male. The young leave the nest 11 to 14 days after hatching but stay on the territory for another two weeks. The female (and occasionally the male) feeds the young while they are on the territory and for up to three more weeks after they leave the nesting territory. Females occasionally will raise second broods, but single broods are the norm.

Use fill flash with macro photos for better detail

First photo: Taken with a Canon G11 camera
Manual exposure
1/50 sec. at f/ 4.0
Flash is off
Second photo: Taken with a Canon G11 camera
Manual exposure
1/50 sec. at f/ 5.0
Flash is on

Photo of the Week - April 4, 2011

Graffiti Painter at the Capitol Theatre in Olympia
April 4, 2011

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