BRRRR, the  unusually  windy and icy cold winter day walk along the shoreline at a beach on Whidbey Island discouraged me from my usual 2 mile stretch.  So I turned back and walked to a warm cabin to enjoy a warm blazing fire in the wood stove and enjoy the wildlife activity from a nearby window.

Looking out at the choppy steel waters my eye caught the marine ducks trying to catch a meal deep in the wild dark salty waters.    So, I grabbed the binoculars to observe the interesting activity of the Pacific Sea Gull and Surf Scoter.  The Surf Scoter was seriously focused on deep sea diving to grab a fish or other marine life for its daily meal.  While the Pacific Sea Gull was stocking very close to the scoter waiting for an opportunity to  grab the specimen before the scoter quickly consumed the catch.  The sea gull was so near the scoter, I thought it would soon attack it for the live fish or sea animal.

Further in the distance was a lone Pacific Loon diving under the water surface bringing up its catch from the deep water.  It struggled with the fish on the water surface before it was able to manipulate it at an angle to slip down the loon’s esophagus; then down the loon went for more goodies.   I think loons are not social birds.  I always see the Pacific Loon alone on the salt water searching for food but never near another loon.  Loons mobility is more successful on the water or in the air.  Their legs are further back on their bodies which makes it difficult for them to walk on land.

Sea gulls can be very aggressive birds in obtaining food from other birds, or their own kind  crying a variety of loud calls to attract other sea gulls to the scene.   I have observed them to attack a variety of birds during all the seasons; the crows have learned to be very cautious of them and will fly when gulls behave aggressively.  But, when a gull spots an eagle silently gliding toward a fresh sea food item the sea gulls are gathered around, they will suddenly scatter.  That’s when we look for the eagle arriving like a quick jet for its prey.

Even with the few minutes of observering the marine birds on the Puget Sound waters three days ago, I gained so much pleasure and knowledge of their activities; now I share those moments with those whom browse my journal.


11 thoughts on “Marine life on a cold December day on Puget Sound

  1. Small prey seem to have an instinct when danger approaches enabling to quickly fly to safety. What fun to sit in your house and watch the outdoor entertainment and be educated about bird behaviors. We also have the loud crabby Blue Jays appear in our neighborhood during the summer. Their behaviors become very aggressive in the campgrounds when we trailer camp along the west coast. We’ve seen them hop into the back of SUV’s to steal food from campers; I guess that’s why they are called “Camp Robbers.” They are beautiful birds and enjoyable to watch giving us a few laughs..

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  2. Between your charming artwork and descriptive narrative, I feel as though I was observing right beside you on that day! We enjoy watching our backyard birds and know exactly when the hawk is looming a few yards away. Some birds immediately scatter, some remain eating but are very cautious, and the blue jays communicate loudly. Thanks for sharing your findings!

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  3. It’s so interesting to find out that similar birds habitat the east coast several 1000 miles from the PNW coast. Thanks for the info. The gulls are more visual than the other marine birds since they are closer to the shoreline; they have a variety of water and land behaviors to watch that other birds don’t show. Thanks for blowing my blog


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