Photo of the Week - March 5, 2013

Red-tailed Hawk overlooking Interstate 5
Near Mercer Street
Seattle, WA

March 5, 2013

Birds are creatures of habit, just like you and me. They have territories where they live and hunt. Red-tailed Hawks are a common sight on lamp posts and trees adjacent to highways all over the United States; they are drawn to the good lighting, easy perches, and abundant rodents in the medians. Even so, most of us probably think of Red-tailed Hawks as predators of suburban and rural areas.

Recently, I noticed a hawk perched above Interstate 5 near Denny Way in Seattle. It was on a lamp post. I was a bit surprised because there was no grass or vegetation for wildlife in the immediate area. A few days later, a saw it again, about 1/4 mile north of Denny. I made a mental note to check again; over the course of a month, I spotted the hawk several more times.

Finally, one day I had my camera with me. With the help of a band of harassing crows, I soon found the hawk, perched in a tree in the median between the north and southbound lanes of I-5 near Mercer Street. From the safety of my driver's seat photoblind, I was able to capture several shots before the hawk turned and stared me down. With the tenacity earned from minding a perch with 100,000 cars passing everyday, she quickly indicated to me that it was time to go!

Photo of the Week - March 5, 2013

Great Blue Herons
Ardea herodias

Green River Natural Area
Kent, Washington
March 5, 2013

The Green River Natural Area in Kent, WA is a 304 acre wetland wildlife area, co-existing with a stormwater detention facility. The site provides habitat to an estimated 165 bird and 53 mammal species in one of the few remaining large tracts of open land in the valley.

A colony of Great Blue Herons makes the Eastern edge of the refuge their nesting area. While visible from one of the area's main arterials, the rookery is mostly hidden until the herons take off en masse when spooked.

Once the tall Cottonwood trees leaf out, the herons will enjoy a very private refuge for their nesting and rearing of their young.

link to City of Kent's GRNA website

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