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View Diary: Problems with trying to identify subspecies of Red Tailed Hawks (105 comments)

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  •  I especially like the photos with the light (18+ / 0-)

    through the red tail feathers. Take your point though about how difficult it is to differentiate the varieties - subspecies, morphs. Something about being so cosmopolitan I guess. Photos are the ONLY way to untangle the ID question though!

    Here on the bay, I've been enjoying otter action (plus a mink that ran across the road in front of me yesterday while on my daily bicycling constitutional). It was dragging something about 2/3 its length and disappeared into a bush by the side of the road. I tried peering in to see but it just hissed at me from inside. I go out about 4, and lately that means near sunset (have to adjust that soon), a different set of wildlife active and visible. Here's my view where I turn around, looking southwest across to the Olympic mountains, with some buffleheads close to shore.

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    On my way back, I crossed paths with a river otter, who had to pick up its pace as I approached it on my bike. It was running fast, crossed in front of me, breathing hard, then across the beach and dived into the water. Startling for us both. They do spend time on land, nest there in spring, sometimes under people's houses, and we see them crossing the beach road, but mostly they are out playing and feeding in the water.

    On a kayaking day a week or so ago I saw the family of 3 feeding near a buoy, chomping down on big stuff. I rowed a little closer and could see it was white.

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    This is one otter - that huge thick tail makes them look bigger than you'd expect. Hard to see much of them above water though, they are skittish.

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    When they saw me approaching they booked off toward shore

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    with a gull diving at them

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    Where they had scrambled up onto shore I saw what one at least had been eating, a tiger rockfish, dropped behind

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    Pretty ripply view in waves

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    This is a good sign - it means these fish are around. Rockfish populations have dropped in the last 15 years with recreational overfishing, now that there are no local salmon to speak of.

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