Lunch to Go

This week’s photo, taken November 25, 2012 at Green Lake in Seattle, WA, features a BALD EAGLE, seconds after it picks up its lunch, an AMERICAN COOT, from the lake surface.

Midday on Sunday, Laura and I walk the 2.8 mile loop around Green Lake, one of Seattle’s most popular walking and running destinations. The park is also popular with the birds. While we are driving to the lake, we decide to tally how many bird species we can identify during our stroll, not only for the fun of it, but because the task will increase our awareness and help us find more birds.

Our first species, a BALD EAGLE, makes a dramatic entrance by landing atop a nearby fir tree while we are getting out of our car. A few minutes later species #6, an AMERICAN COOT, comes in for a fast water landing about 50 yards from shore. What happens next catches the coot (and us humans) by surprise. The eagle appears out of nowhere, swoops down to water level, extends its talons and snatches the unsuspecting coot out of the water. It happens so quickly that I fail to photograph the moment of impact. We’re only 4 minutes into our 75-minute walk, and the day’s most thrilling nature event has already occurred.

During our excursion, we identify 26 species, either on the lake or along the water’s edge, including several types of ducks that winter there.

Notable Green Lake species:
COMMON MERGANSER
HOODED MERGANSER
BUFFLEHEAD
NORTHERN SHOVELER
STELLER’S JAY
BUSHTIT
BEWICK’S WREN
YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER
PINE SISKIN

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About Joe Sweeney

I photograph birds to share the beauty and wonder I find in nature.
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