Kathrine Lloyd lurks around in the bushes, capturing candid photographs of Washington’s local fauna.
AFTER SPENDING COUNTLESS HOURS volunteering my time at the PAWS Wildlife Center in Lynnwood, Washington, helping to rehabilitate and return orphaned and injured native animals into the wild, I endeavored to observe and photograph these animals in their natural habitat — viewing them as the healthy and wild beings they’re meant to be. All of the animals pictured here are living wild and free and were not baited with food, sound recordings, or anything else.
[Note: Matador editors selected this Community gallery for publication at the Network.]
I went to Seattle's Magnuson Park in an effort to catch a Spotted Sandpiper one afternoon. After lurking in the tall grass of the newly restored wetland habitat for quite some time, this dragonfly unexpectedly rose in front of me like a helicopter. I felt as though I should see someone sitting in the cockpit looking out at me.
While heading back towards my car as the last light drained from the sky at Matthew's Beach Park, this male Anna's Hummingbird appeared in front of me. With another male nearby, he was compelled to put on quite a territorial display.
This shot, captured in the "dime lot" of Seattle's Union Bay Natural Area, was a combination of luck and perseverance. This Killdeer had chosen the busy parking lot for her nest, which I'd stumbled upon on a separate trip. I felt compelled to follow it from beginning to end. I became a guardian of the nest, which was the only way those eggs survived. On this particular day, I had checked the nest in the morning. Knowing how long Killdeer eggs take to hatch, I ventured back that afternoon and was lucky enough to see two of the chicks emerge from their eggs. If you look closely, you can see the chick still has the "egg tooth" attached to the tip of its beak. It is something you only see for about the first hour or so of life with birds.
I'm not a morning person, per se. I suppose I am if you consider staying up all night and viewing the sunrise afterwards. At any rate, I see beautiful sunrises and sunsets due to the hours I keep. I was shivering in the cold beside the boat launch in Seattle's Magnuson Park as I waited for the sun to show itself, when I heard a group of Canada Geese honking as they approached me in the fog. I captured them as they passed by, watching the fog stir with each powerful wing beat.
Trumpeter Swans aren't a common sight in Seattle. During an unusual cold snap one winter, a flock of swans remained on Lake Washington for over a month. This was the last time I saw them as they headed north at the beginning of their spring migration.
I had just gotten out of my car in the lot by Kite Hill at Magnuson Park when this Cooper's Hawk caught my eye high in the branches. I ventured over to the base of the tree and watched through my viewfinder as I brought the bird into focus, capturing him just as he stretched. It was the beginning of a quick preening session before heading back down out of the branches to continue the hunt.
I ventured out to the Union Bay Natural Area one morning just after sunrise in Seattle and found myself discouraged by the conditions and light in general. As I headed back on the trail beside the southwest pond, this Red-tailed Hawk grabbed my attention after calling out and came screaming in for a landing in front of me. I felt the wind in my hair as she swooped over my head into the branches. I watched her as she paused briefly in the tree before descending back into the grass for a successful kill.
I was in the beginning stages of hypothermia when I captured this shot at East Point on Lake Washington. I had remained nearly motionless at the lake's shore as I waited for the Trumpeter Swans to come into range of my lens. I can't say how thankful I am for image stabilization as I was shivering nearly uncontrollably when the swan snapped its wings open as the sun was setting. I asked a friend of mine later if wildlife photography was worth hypothermia. He believed the hypothermia was a transient thing and that I could enjoy the photo the rest of my life. While I agree with him, my hands still sting and I still feel cold each time I look at this shot. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.
This Canada Goose caught my eye as she slept in the grass along the water's edge at Matthew's Beach Park. She looked so serene, I was envious of her peaceful sleep. As I observed her through my telephoto lens, the feathers on her back parted, revealing her chick's head. It was the first and last time I have seen a gosling sleeping on its mother's back.
Anemone at low tide
While wandering around amongst the tide pools in Seattle's Golden Gardens Park at low tide, this anemone was glistening in the early morning light. It wasn't long before it closed up entirely and disappeared into the sand.
The Heron and the Skate
I watched for several minutes as this Great Blue Heron figured out how to swallow this Skate. It took a number of attempts, but it finally went down. Photo taken along Puget Sound in Seattle's Golden Gardens Park.
This male Red-winged Blackbird was singing and putting on a territorial display amongst the cattails in Seattle's Union Bay Natural Area. He leaned forward, showed me his colors, and then burst into flight. It was a brief but memorable encounter on the loop trail in Union Bay Natural Area.