Well, Maybe a Little

Yesterday’s blog entry was just a ploy to introduce today’s shots from the The Woodland Park Zoo, shots of various birds taken in various places. “Various” because I didn’t have time to find and write down the names of all the birds that I took pictures of because I had to keep up with two five-year olds anxious to see the next great thing, or at least to eat lunch.

It almost seems like heresy to go to a zoo without a child in tow, but I imagine that is precisely what I am going to have to do in the near future. That’s the only way I’ll ever have time to get better shots and to identify the various birds, often found in a mixed group in an open area.

exotic bird

Perhaps the name of the bird is irrelevant, for these birds by any other name would surely be just as beautiful. And it’s hard to imagine anything more bizarre, or more beautiful than this one:

exotic bird

At least until you see the gaudy colors on this bird,

Another Exotic Bird

which, in turn, doesn’t seem to have too much over the North American male Ruddy Duck in full breeding colors, a shot I’ve been trying to capture in the wild for over two years now:

male Ruddy Duck in Breeding Colors

I finally know why they call it a “ruddy duck,” though blue-billed might be even more appropriate.

I still prefer to think I’m not obsessed with birds, but, rather, that I am more aware of them than most people. If I am obsessed with birds, than I’m also obsessed with flowers because I came away with many photographs of them, too, both native and exotic:


I like to think I’m obsessed with Beauty and Truth, and, as any Dickinson fan knows, they are One.

Hopefully I can teach my granddaughter to listen and to talk to the birds, too.

Lael and Crow Statues

I am NOT Obssessed with Birds

When we left home yesterday we were sure that we were going to have to got to Pacific Science Center instead of Woodland Zoo because it was cloudy and raining hard here in Tacoma. As we approached Seattle, though, we started debating whether it was likely to rain or not. We finally decided that we would go to the zoo and hope for the best. It turned out to be a great day, though there was far too many grade school students for my taste.

I try to not have any preconceptions when I go out to shoot photos, but the results sometimes suggest otherwise. I’ll admit that I often find it difficult to come up with a new way to photograph “lions, tigers, and bears, oh my,” not to mention giraffes and elephants.

Close Up of Elephant

I did like this shot, though. I love elephants, but I’d never noticed their beautiful eyelashes until I took this shot.

Yesterday, despite numerous shots, I found it impossible to get a good picture of the “baby” gorilla because too many people were crowded next to the window, and, worse, yet, the glass was so smeared that the reflections were beyond repair. Instead, I had to be satisfied with this shot of the father, a remarkable specimen in his own right!

Male Gorilla

And, of course, I tried to get the obligatory shots of Lael and Kylan, but was constantly reminded of how hard it is to get two five-year-olds in the same frame, much less with expressions their mothers would be happy with.

Lael & Kyland

Wood Ducks and More Wood Ducks

I’ve taken so many pictures because of last week’s sunshine, that I haven’t managed to show some of my favorites here. I usually try to limit myself to no more than four photos per entry, and I generally try to present some kind of “theme” so there are some good photos that never get shown here.

The sunshine continued today, and I needed to buy more of Skye’s chews. So I went to Steilacoom and had to take even more pictures. Had no choice. You can’t drive all the way to Lakewood without stopping at the Gyro shop for lunch and at Waughop Lake for a walk.

One of my favorites of the day is this one of a Wood Duck, which you’ve already seen many times before

Male Wood Duck in Breeding Colors

but I never tire of photographing them in spring because they remind me of Spring’s emerging colors.

In turn, this reminded me of last week’s shot at Nisqually,

Wood Duck in Reeds

one I loved as much for the setting as for the photograph of the Wood Duck itself.

No wonder I had so much trouble picking out photographs to donate to my daughter’s benefit and why I enjoy nearly every walk as if it were the first time I’d ever walked it.

Bottle Beach

Since this weekend was the Aberdeen Shorebird Festival, Friday I drove up to Bottle Beach with Ruth Sullivan to photograph shore birds. Ruth thought that that the number of birds was a “rather poor showing,” but for a novice like me there seemed to be an amazing array of birds.

Shore Birds in Flight

I’ll have to admit that I’m even worse at identifying shorebirds than I am ducks and songbirds, so you’ll have to take these identifications, made with two guidebooks at hand as I look at photographs with a grain-of-salt. Identification would be much easier if the silly birds would stick together, but as we sat on shore with cameras mixed flocks worked their way up the beach on both sides of us. Though I generally find it easier to identify from photographs, that’s not always true with shorebirds because size is an important way of differentiating between species and it’s difficult to judge relative size from a full frame photograph.

That said, I’m guessing this is a Least Sandpiper,

Least Sandpiper

this a Western Sandpiper.

Western Sandpiper

I’m almost positive the bird in the front with the black and white chest is a Dunlin in breeding colors,

Dunlin in Breeding Colors

and I am positive this is a Short-Billed Dowitcher, since one of the experienced birders was talking about it at length.

Short-Billed Dowitcher

Naturally I was unable to get a good shot of the birds that most intrigued me, these Black-Bellied Plovers that, unlike the other shore birds, kept their distance from the many birders at the beach.

Black-Bellied Plover

It’s the only time the whole day I envied all the other photographers who toted 500mm and 600mm Canon lenses.

As far as I’m concerned any sunny day at the beach is a great day, and the spotting of several new species was just icing on the cake.