Friday, April 2, 2021

Dogs, Birds, Skies, Ships


In early March it was fun following the famous dog sled race in Alaska known as the Iditarod. The 848-mile race took place starting March 7 in Deshka Landing and the winner, Dallas Seavey, crossed the finish line, on March 15, after 7d 14h 8m 57s. I followed the race on 

One of the joys of following the race this year was finding Dave Poyzer's photography. I sent an email to Dave and asked if I could share some of his photos here on John's Island. Dave gave me permission and thank you Dave! 

All of the following Iditarod photography is by Dave Poyzer (Production Manager & Director of Photography at Canoe There).  Click on images for larger view. If you enjoy these photos be sure to check out Dave's website to see many, many more!

Photography by Dave Poyzer

Photography by Dave Poyzer

Photography by Dave Poyzer

Photography by Dave Poyzer

Photography by Dave Poyzer

Photography by Dave Poyzer

Photography by Dave Poyzer

Photography by Dave Poyzer

Photography by Dave Poyzer

Photography by Dave Poyzer

Photography by Dave Poyzer

Photography by Dave Poyzer

Many thanks to David Poyzer. Check out his website!


My fascination with hummingbirds continues. I've kept the feeders clean and fresh all winter and have had multiple hummers daily. All of them have been the species known as Anna's Hummingbirds. It's a challenge to distinguish one hummer from another in the same species. So, I don't really know how many birds I've seen over the last several months. Activity has picked up quite a bit since the weather has warmed up the last few weeks. Now that so many flowers are in bloom I'm happy that they have access to food beyond the feeders. There were many days in March when I picked up the camera and waited on the deck to capture a few shots of the hummers. Patience is a virtue but it rarely takes more than 5 minutes for a bird to show up to dine at the feeders. Getting the right amount of sunlight on the birds has been one of the biggest challenges. At my location, getting direct sun on the feeders only starts in the afternoon and from then until sunset the sun moves through the western sky. The feeders hang on the western edge of the deck so you can see the backlighting issue. Below are a few captures from March.

The easiest time of day to catch hummers at the feeder
is around sunset. They must bulk up on food for
the night when there will be no feeding.

Sometimes the birds feed and then just sit still for
several seconds as if in thought ... how much
shall I eat? 😊

Hummer activity seems greater on clear sky days.

Finally, I caught two on the feeder at the same time.
This is rare because hummers are not normally happy
to share.

This little one would dip into the feeder and then
take a look back to check on me. Over and over.
The "experts" say the birds do recognize humans.

I included this shot with a question:
How about the bulge right below the hummer's neck.
It looks about the right size for a egg. But,
if an egg, it seems like it should be lower in the body.
What do you think?

For this and the next few shots I put the camera
in macro and actually stood right by the feeder.
The hummers did not seem afraid of me.

While you can see the iridescent red feathers ... the
light has to be just right. Note the same bird in the next

In a previous post, I mentioned Hummingbird Spot, a place on YouTube where you can watch a little hummer at her nest ... lay eggs, keep them warm, see them hatch, and take care of them until they fly away. Update April 26 2021 ... The streaming camera contined to watch the mother hummer, Emerald, with her second brood. However, nature threw in a curve. Hummingbird Spot published the video below to explain what happened.

Linking up with Saturday's Critters. Check it out for critter photos from Eileen and other bloggers. Thanks, Eileen, for hosting.


Recent sky views ...

Giant storm cloud moving over Puget Sound
March 9

Sunset almost exactly due west on a
clear sky day.

Trying the "creative" setting on the Canon camera.
The colors are false, of course, but kind of interesting.
March 11

Similar to the previous shot but with natural colors.
March 12

Thin layer of clouds made the sun look huge.
March 27

For any first-time visitor to John's Island, know that beyond birds, I am also fascinated with big ships and trains. My location in Seattle gives me a good view of the entrance to the harbor and it's easy to keep an eye on the ships coming and going. I like to capture memorable sightings with my camera. 
Here are a few recent captures ...

NYK Line "RoRo"
This is a roll-on, roll off vessel probably carrying cars.
Most of the RoRo vessels look like this ... sort of a fat ship.

Not an unusual scene as the ferry crosses between
Seattle and Bainbridge Island multiple times daily.
I liked this one out there all by itself near sunset.
I often wonder what it would be like to have a ferry
ride as a frequent part of your daily routine.

I'm sure people will ask why take pictures of ships and why post them on a blog. The ability of humans to design big ships is not lost on me. I actually find it, to use an overused word, amazing. So, I'm fascinated with these vessels and love being able to spot them right out my window. Then, there is the memory aspect. Snapping the pictures and then putting them here on the blog serves the purpose of being a digital journal I can look back on and enjoy ... memories recorded. These days, as a retired person, I have more time than anything else. It's fun to go back and look at posts from years ago. Yes, I could just store the images on a hard drive but then they probably wouldn't be organized and labeled as nicely as they are here on the blog. 

A bulk carrier arriving in Seattle

Easy to ID with the colors of the containers.
This tug is towing a barge of freight from Alaska.
Alaska Marine Lines containers all have a
give-away green color.
I often wonder what it would be like to be the
tug Captain on this voyage.
Boring or just plain fun?

A TOTE RoRo northbound in Puget Sound.
Enroute to Alaska?
Tote Maritime website

Hapag-Lloyd departing Seattle.
Unusually small load of containers.
There is currently a global container shortage.

Another RoRo southbound, probably to Tacoma, WA

This load of crushed vehicles on a barge looked strange.
Close up below.
This was coming into Seattle so I wondered where it
came from and where the salvage will go

Unusual ...

Smaller Crowley tug is towing big one ... the NANUQ
See link below for information about the Nanuq.
Possibly being towed into Seattle for repairs?
    The Nanuq was designed to move tankers around
oil facilities in Alaska.
March 30

Closer look at the small tug

Huge Crowley tug NANUQ

Tugboat Information website
Read about Nanuq on the Tugboat Info website.
What would I do without the World Wide Web?

Especially interesting ...

Red Zed 1 arriving Seattle March 29
Very unusual vessel caught my attention.
Red Zed 1 info on

This ship can actually partially submerge itself, load a
giant cargo, and refloat to voyage ahead.
March 30 as Red Zed 1 departed Seattle.

Closer look at the bow.

Photo from the web showing Red Zed 1 with 
communication towers loaded.
Where it is going I don't know, but it
will require a lot of clearance.
Photo from

Photo showing the full cargo.
Those towers are probably over 100' (30.4m) tall.

Photo from Wikipedia showing the MV Blue
Marlin carrying the USS Cole. The only way
to load cargo this heavy is to partially submerge, load
cargo, and refloat. I am curious ... wonder how deep
these ships can submerge themselves.

Red Zed 1 on YouTube ...


  1. What a fascinating post! Especially loved the hummingbird shots, sky and Sigma's photography.

  2. Hello John,
    Your post is just actions packed. I enjoyed every one of your photos. It was nice of the photographer Dave Poyzer's to share the dog sled race photos. The dog sled race is something I would like to see. The sky photos are beautiful too, Sigma Sreedharan's sky images are gorgeous. Your hummingbird captures are amazing, great closeups. I like seeing the ships, the Red Zone 1 is a cool ship. Wishing you a blessed and Happy Easter. Thank you for sharing your post. Take care, have a happy weekend! PS, thank you for leaving me a comment.

  3. You've shared so many amazing photos! I love seeing the big boats and ships in the water. And your hummingbirds are always so pretty. The sky photos are something to see! And I think I'll go look at more of the dog sled race! What a neat thing to follow online! Enjoy your weekend!

  4. Hello,:=) All very interesting from the fine photos of the Dog Sled race, to the Humming Birds, and from the birds to all those wonderful sky shots, to the many different ships you see, which is just fascinating. Thank you for this delightful variety of subjects, and a very Happy Easter to you.

  5. All topics that I am interested in. I see hummers only once a year. I never see a ship or a dog team. By the time I went north dog teams were very seldom used. The ski doo and airplane had taken over.

  6. Very interesting about the dog sled race, good way to follow it. I loved the hummingbird especially the first one. See you still love those sunsets brilliant blog full of interest

  7. Hi John! :) Those are some interesting shots of the vessel...very neat. And your sky photos are gorgeous. I love seeing your Hummingbirds! You do take beautiful photos of them. Their colours are fabulous...I must put up some feeders soon. They buzz around the maple tree in my backyard but they are so quick, I never have a chance to photograph them! I saw a documentary about the Iditarod called The Great Alone - it was really good. Those are some fabulous photos from Dave!

  8. WOW all those amazing photos!!! Too many to have a favorite but enjoyed each and every one!!!

  9. I sure enjoyed this jam-packed post, John. The hummers are so delightful, and the dog sled race looks like quite an adventure. And of course I am more clued in today about those barges and tugs because of the Ever Given fiasco. I heard the tug that actually released it celebrated with a rousing chorus! Thanks for the interesting stuff, and Happy Easter!

  10. WoW! tHis post is filled with interesting images. The Iditarod is a race I have often heard about but never followed. That fella took some great shots. Of course I love the hummers. It will still be a while before they show up in Manitoba, but they are coming. Just fun photos. thanks for sharing them. Happy Easter.

  11. Hello John
    Happy April Wishes to you.
    What a fabulous post, I enjoyed all of the subject matter and seeing all of the photographs ... they are amazing.

    Enjoy the weekend and happy Easter wishes.

    All the best Jan

  12. There is so much to love about this post. The birds are a favourite but the photos of the race are gorgeous! That take you there on site. Love the ships, such variety there. Our harbour just melted so ships may be coming in here soon.

  13. Happy Easter JOHN- great photos of the Sunsets and Storms. Regards. KEV.

  14. Dear John Happy Easter to you and loved ones!

    these shots of birds and sunset are breathtaking !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    it is hard to remove eye from what you captured astonishingly beautifully believe me :)

    thank you for sharing the link where we can find more wonders of nature shared as amazingly!
    i must say you are one of the finest photographer !

  15. I made a note of the Iditarod site for next year. Thank you. That picture of the Northern Lights as the racers made camp ...can you imagine that? (Seeing the Aurora Borealis in all its glory is the only thing that would get me to Alaska in the Winter!). ...Those Puget Sound skies are very beautiful too! And I’ll take winter rains anytime over snow! We’re fortunate here in the great PNW! ...We also like looking at boats, pleasure and commercial, and boy do you have the perfect spot for ship watching. Bill has bookmarked the website where you can look up all the info about any vessel. ...of course you know I love the hummers...great pictures, esp the rare one of the two together...those tiny things are definitely fighters, which surprised me. ... sorry for all the comment kerfuffle. Hope this one goes through.

  16. Wonderful photos and information!


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