Monday, December 26, 2016

Holiday Hmmmmm's

Now that Christmas is over, I am preparing for a camel ride into the New Year (photos to follow soon) and plenty of exercise at the new Sequim YMCA.

Maple Valley, WA
To get this energy moving, I had the good fortune to spend some time with my dear friend, CJB, and her husband Joe, near the Nooksack River (Bellingham area of WA) and as part of my Christmas gift, she took me down to the North Fork of the Nooksack to watch the eagles having their Christmas dinner of spawning salmon.

The day before it had snowed a lot so we had the added attraction of driving in rutted paths down back roads listening to the crunch and slush of the snow, depending on whether or not it was in full sun or shaded by tall evergreens.

Such fun to turn around one corner after another and find a vista of snow-covered mountains framed by a cool blue (cerulean ?) sky.

Last year I was here in January and between all the photographers with their space-deep reaching lenses and the eagles flying about, it was kind of crazy.
North Fork of the Nooksak River, near Maple Valley, WA.

This year it was quieter; mostly eagles calling out to each other in their lovely scree-ing tones and the crisp sound of snow under my feet as I tried to find a clear shot through the trees.

We sat for a long time just listening, occasionally snapping a shot, and watching as the eagles triangulated for their chance to have some fresh seagull meat.

It was peaceful. Far from the pre-Christmas scramble to get one last present and farther still from any world news of disruption or upheaval.

How many eagles do you see? When I took
the shot, there were at least eight; I may have
cropped a few out.
Anyone who says the world is black and white after a snowstorm has not tried to paint a winter landscape. It is not just shades of grey, either... it is 50 or more of lavender, blue, green and even orange or brown.

This bird was down at river's edge,
feeding on its catch.
Just as a crow is not really 'black,' but a variety of dark colors which, when viewed in some light, comes across as black. One of my favorite crow photos makes the bird look almost purple.

But I digress from the swarm of eagles on the Nooksack, where hapless salmon have been arriving to spawn and once done, they expire to feed a variety of critters.
Mt. Baker, I think, partially obscured by clouds, taken on the Mt. Baker Road.
All these photos were taken with my Sony which has a digital 30x zoom, but the challenge is holding it steady because it is small, the air is cold and I am breathing a little heavier with the excitement of seeing these majestic birds so near by. I tried the mono-pod for stabilizing, but I really needed the tripod.

There is a side road called Mosquito Lake Road off the Mt. Baker Road which has probably the best photo opportunities for these eagle shots. One of the residents has this funny front yard decoration.
Looks like the guy in the sleigh has been waiting a long time
for the cow to take flight...
One day I will bring my tripod and my lunch and just plan to spend the day taking photos, but for now it was good to have an hour or so watching and listening. These are all, to the best of my knowledge, different birds in different trees. The all-brown one appeared to be a youngster learning to land... it made several attempts to get itself on the branch.

And so ended my day-before-Christmas... joy, joy, joy!

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