Lovely Birdies of Bothell, Plus Undignified Kitteh Pics


It’s a fantastic time of year, my darlings! The birds are out and about, singing lustily as they endeavor to find someone to perform one of the three Fs with, and the new leaves aren’t big enough for the feathery bastards to hide behind. For someone trying to photograph something other than waterbirds, this is outstanding.

I went up to that bit of North Creek a couple miles from my house that has a possible blueschist wall, and one of the first things I spotted was this magnificent towhee. At least I think it’s a towhee. Tell me if I’m right.

Wee wonderful towhee.

Wee wonderful towhee.

So there I am, unslinging the camera, all super-excited because it’s not a duck or a sparrow! I get it in focus – it’s not flying away! I click the magic button. And I hear the shutter click several times in rapid succession. My subsequent cursing scared the towhee away. Either that, or it disapproved of my language. Said language was because I’d taken pics of the cat the night before and forgot to take the camera out of handheld twilight mode. And now here we were, using a night setting in brilliant sunshine. Fucknuggets.

But when I got it onto the computer, it actually turned out quite well. Even cropped, it looks good.

Cropped version of the wee wonderful towhee.

Cropped version of the wee wonderful towhee.

Nice, vibrant colors and acceptable clarity. I’ll take it.

Alas, I didn’t get the opportunity to take five billion photos of the towhee. But there was a crow not far away, sitting on a branch, and making all sorts of weird racket. I think it’s some sort of mating call thingy, because it was engaging in some stereotyped movements and looked kinda like it was fantasizing. So I took five billion pictures of it instead, and I really love this one because of the detail of the feathers.

Crow acting curiously.

Crow acting curiously.

Gotta love ‘im.

When I got home, my cat was having a sun bath and doing a bit of desultory washing. I’m a bad kitty mommy. I put the camera in burst mode with every intention of catching her in an undignified position. This one doesn’t quite qualify, but I think it’s adorable because I’m her mommy and that’s how kitty mommies roll.

Itchy kitteh

Itchy kitteh

I’ve helpfully edited the photo so you don’t get whacked in the face by her asshole. You’re welcome.

And yes, I did get the undignified photo I wanted.

Washing kittehs cannot retain dignity.

Washing kittehs cannot retain dignity.

So that gave me a sense of accomplishment. Sad little life I’ve got.

The following day, as I was sitting at a picnic bench along the creek that runs along the ball fields, there was another crow doing the same thing as the previous day’s crow, only this time in the grass. I feel a little sorry for them. They look desperate.

I learned something valuable that day. If you’re going to sit at one of the benches along that creek, you’d better damned well bring duck food, or you’ll get yelled at. Instant I sat down, there were two ducks, making a beeline up the bank toward me. No fear and no shame, little beggars. Much like my cat.

That was Easter weekend. The sun is gone now and the rains have returned. I took advantage of a brief break in the weather to go walkies. I swear I felt like I was strolling through a bordello. There was a dark-eyed junco singing away, and I’ve never heard them singing, so I know he was trying to impress the ladies. Another bird a bit further down was telling the entire neighborhood in loud tones that it had a little sumthin-sumthin for any interested females. Those were the two loudest, but the neighborhood was full of lots of horny birds trying to get laid. One gets the feeling they really shouldn’t intrude.

A robin offering to rock your world. If you're a lady robin, that is.

A robin offering to rock your world. If you’re a lady robin, that is.

I love the springtime. It’s full of brilliant, beautiful life that has a harder time hiding from the camera.

Comments

  1. azportsider says

    Yup, that’s a Spotted Towhee, all right. It’s interesting to see one from below, because they spend most of their time scratching in the leaf litter on the ground (and very noisy they are too!). This would be a male making himself and his intentions obvious to any nearby unattached female. Good shot, Dana! You even got his red iris.

    • Dana Hunter says

      That red kinda freaked me out… but it’s awesome. I was delighted with the results of that shot, considering I thought it wouldn’t come out at all!

  2. rq says

    Maybe the night-time setting is better for sunlight than previously expected! Very nice colours on the towhee photos, the contrasts are great and the reds and red-browns stand out marvellously against the brilliant blue sky.
    As for the cat, well, mine has learned to get up and run when I approach with camera or camera-phone, because he feels he has suffered too much indignity at the hands of my photo skills. But there can never be too much indignity, I say, never!

    • Dana Hunter says

      LOL. You are so right. Here, kitty kitty! Mwah-ha-ha!

      (We’re responsible cat owners. Really. We are.)

  3. says

    What an excellent towhee photo! He’s really colourful! I might now try leaving my (crappy, unable-to-deal-with-dim-light-even-during-the-day) camera on the nighttime setting to see if that brightens my pictures.

    Your goofy crow is engaged in bill-wiping, which is a thing birds often do to clean and possibly sharpen their beaks. I found some (sadly non-open-access) papers that explain a bit about this behaviour, here and here.

    • Dana Hunter says

      Ah, that’s what he was up to! You’ve made me less ignorant! Huzzah!

      Let me know how the low-light setting works. This may be a Thing.

  4. Trebuchet says

    Lovely towhee indeed. As #1 said, they’re usually down scratching in the leaf litter on the ground. They do a half-decent job of cleaning up the dropped seed under our feeders. Which we haven’t been filling for some time now due to my breaking myself. Getting close to normal now, however.

    • Dana Hunter says

      Yay for close to normal! I’m so pleased – I didn’t expect you to heal so quickly. And just in time for summer! If one has to nearly kill oneself, I suppose the time of year you did it was ideal for Seattle, so, um, hooray? ;-)

  5. rowanvt says

    Is there a chance I can send you some photos of various mystery-fungi that I found on my hike today?

    • Dana Hunter says

      Oh, yes, by all means! dhunterauthor at gmail. We loves fungi! I’ll get it posted asap.

      • rowanvt says

        A great many pictures have been sent, for you to pick and choose from. Plus some geology.

  6. fastlane says

    Definitely a towhee. Good call.

    And I know what you mean about the ducks. I’ve got a pair of mallards that like to winter in the pool at our apartment complex, and apparently, I’m not the only one that has fed them breadcrumbs. They now hang out outside my sliding glass door (which is great kitteh entertainment) and come running if it opens and they’re about. So, of course, I feed them whenever I get a little slightly stale bread. :D

  7. Karen Locke says

    I like crows. I find them fascinating, and there’s no end to the fascination where I live; my California suburb is full of them. Driving home from an errand today, I encountered a crow wandering across the street in my neighborhood. I had to stop for him. He didn’t fly away, but graciously doubled his pace to get out of my way.