Monday, October 12, 2020

Hummingbirds - Skies - The Green Flash - Ships


This past summer was the first time I've put up feeders for the little hummingbirds. Their behavior is so fascinating. Getting good photos of hummingbirds is a little bit challenging.

The sunlight must hit the feathers just right to cause the red-headed look.

After feeding - resting for a while.

Is it a he or a she? says this: Identifying male and female genders can be tricky. Hummingbirds as a species have distinct identifiable differences. The most distinguishable coloring between males and females is their plumage or collective layers and composition of displayed feathers. Male hummingbirds tend to be brightly colored to draw the attention of female partners. Female hummingbirds are duller or less vibrant by comparison allowing them to camouflage into their surroundings and be less visible to predators.

Snapped late in the afternoon.

This bird likes to perch on a cedar tree about 6 feet from one of
the feeders. He/she will keep an eye on the feeder and
will go after any competitors to chase them away.


We've had some smoke, to say the least. Here are a few pics, all taken from home, over the last couple of months. It hasn't been all bad. Quite a few beautiful days.

If you are thinking John posts too many pictures of sunsets, then I hear you. Just remember that what I post on here is what I like to see and recall. I love sunsets.

In the shot below, smoke, clouds, and the mountains all worked together to make a dramatic scene at sunset on October 7th. The mountains in the view are the Olympics, west of Seattle.

Another dramatic sunset the next evening, October 8th. And, in the two photos below, which are mostly "zoomed-out" you'll see, in the lower portion, Elliott Bay Marina, which is home to hundreds of sailboats and a few yachts.

At Last -- The Green Flash

For years I have been trying to catch the Green Flash at sunset. Most folks have never heard of it. I finally captured it on October 6th at 6:26 PM. See it in the photo below, then in an enlargement. Explanation below that from Google.

Ships and Boats

I've had plenty of time to watch ships come and go here in Seattle. The big difference this year ... no cruise ships. Let's start with a fairly unusual capture of a sailboat, close in, at full sail. I see sailboats all the time but it is unusual to see one at full sail so close in. The smaller boat is motoring toward the Marina. 

I'm not going to include the date, time, and names of all the vessels below, but all photos were taken from home in the last couple of months. I enjoy spotting and IDing all kinds of the big ships of the maritime industry.

Most of my ship pics are looking to the west with Bainbridge
Island in the background. However, this view is to the south
with West Seattle, Vashon Island, and, most distant, the
west side of Colvos Passage. The ship is headed
northbound into Puget Sound.

Early morning, the sun rising in the east, bright 
reflections from a yacht moored in the Marina.

Below are a couple of unusual sightings. During some fairly dense fog, especially at sea level, the bulk carrier below is being guided into berth at the Grain Terminal. Look closely and you can see a couple of the ship's officers on the bridge extension. I'm sure this docking was a challenge. What you can't see in the photo, and was difficult even to make out with binoculars, is that there were two tugs guiding the ship super slowly on its starboard side.

On a slightly hazy/smoky afternoon I happened to look out and see this giant crane assembly being towed northbound in Puget Sound. Hard to say exactly but I would guess this is about 300 feet from water level to top. It's about 3 miles from the crane to my deck. I wondered where this was going to go. 

The last image is not mine but a screen shot of one I saw online. At first glance it looks like 6 humans are trying to pull in a giant container ship. Reality is they are just trying to get a third docking line on to that post on the pier that already is holding two lines.

Closing thought:  Happy Thanksgiving to all
 my friends/followers in Canada!

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Exceptional Garden Visit

Brief intro ... In 1911, Julius Blodel, a Seattle lawyer, realized the potential in the Pacific Northwest for creating a forestry company. With a couple of partners, he formed a company that, within a few years, became one of the largest logging operations in the world. The company continued to grow and merge with other forestry companies until 1993, when the Weyerhaeuser corporation purchased it. At that time, Weyerhaeuser was the world's largest producer of softwood lumber. As you can imagine, while all this was going on, Blodel became successful financially. In 1951 he decided to purchase a 150-acre property on Bainbridge Island, Washington, and proceeded to turn it into a Reserve that has been named one of the 10 best botanical gardens in the United States.   

The Blodel Reserve is open for visitation and I decided to take a ferry from Seattle over to Bainbridge Island to take a look for myself. The stress of the pandemic will melt away as you enjoy the peace and beauty of this place. Here are just a few photos from my visit.

The home Virginia and Prentice Bloedel lived in.

Check out the Bloedel Reserve website HERE.

Needless to say, I'm already looking forward to another visit.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Jerry Jones' Yacht Anchored - Seattle

Looked out yesterday afternoon to find this yacht anchored near the Marina.
MarineTraffic identified it as Bravo Eugenia.
Google identified the yacht's owner ... Jerry Jones.
Jones is also the owner of NFL Dallas Cowboys.
Note little boat aft, probably yacht's tender.
August 5, 2020, Seattle, WA

Screenshot from MarineTraffic showing location of Bravo Eugenia.

Another look at the vessel this morning.
August 6, 2020
Bainbridge Island in the distance across Puget Sound.

Closer look.
I do not know if Jerry is aboard.

Freighter departing gives some interesting size comparisons.
About 6:30 AM August 6 2020

Screen shot from Yacht Harbor website.

Screenshot from Reddit
Reddit member "whatever1001" posted the pic above yesterday.
As of this morning there are 226 comments.
Interesting to read all the opinions on this vessel.

Per Wikipedia's List of motor yachts by length, Bravo Eugenia is Number 42, at 109 m (358 ft), which means it won't quite fit, length-wise, on a standard football field, 100 m (300 ft).

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Unexpected Blog Joy

Fellow bloggers will know that one of the pleasures of blogging is discovering something entirely new and unexpected. That's exactly what happened recently when Red, of Hiawatha House blog, posted about picking gooseberries in his garden and making gooseberry jam. When I read his post I was unaware of gooseberries. As I told Red in a comment ... I've got to see if I can find some jam to give it a try. Sure enough, it's right there on Amazon. I ordered and received the 12oz bottle in the photo above. The next day, with my morning coffee, I enjoyed toast and gooseberry jam. It is delicious. It is close to my all-time favorite ... plum jam. But that's not just any plum jam ... it's the jam my grandmother made from the fruit of the plum tree in the backyard of the home where I grew up. The bottom line here is, gooseberry is a great find, and so I say thanks to Red for telling us about it.

Other Recent Snaps ...

An OOCL freighter northbound into Puget Sound.
I like the reflections in this one.
Morning haze is evident in the distance but the sunshine lights up the ship nicely.

Having a lot of fun watching my new (this year) feeders.
Can't seem to stop snapping pics of these little birds.
The experts say hummers can learn to recognize humans.

Not the greatest of photos but I liked the way the morning sun was lighting 
up the ferry that sails between Seattle and Bainbridge Island.
That's Bainbridge in the distance and several homes that must have
an amazing view of Seattle across the water.

Very neat loading on this Matson freighter.
Barge and tug beyond are northbound.

Couldn't resist snapping a wide view of the sky on the morning of
the last day of July.

Unusual anchorage.
The MSC Ajaccio dropped anchor just beyond Elliott Bay Marina.
It seemed to me to be unusually close to the shoreline.
Shifts in the tide can bring it around very close ... see next pic.

Barge fascination ...

Watching the arrival of freight barges from Alaska increases my curiosity about maritime life. Early last Sunday morning I spotted the barge below as it arrived. The sun was lighting it up nicely but by the time I got the camera in hand it had made it all the way over near Alki Beach which explains the unusual perspective in the photo and the tug was already out of view. The thing that fascinates me is wondering what it's like to be the Captain on one of these voyages between Alaska and Seattle. The trip takes several days as the speed is so slow. I checked out the company website and they have a neat photo gallery. The bottom two pics are screen shots from that gallery.

Freight barge from Alaska arriving Seattle early morning.
Alki Beach in the distance.

Screen shot from company website.
How the tug/barge combination travels.
(From Alaska Marine website)

View from the tug's bridge.
I'll bet the Captain's experience here varies on every trip,
despite the same route.
(From Alaska Marine website)

Thanks for stopping by John's Island.

Hummingbirds - Skies - The Green Flash - Ships

Hummingbirds This past summer was the first time I've put up feeders for the little hummingbirds. Their behavior is so fascinating. Gett...