Seattle Stickies is now available on the iOS app store. They are available as a free download to all iPad and iPhone owners for a limited time.
It is a collection of Messages stickers celebrating the landmarks and culture of Seattle and the Puget Sound. Great for residents and travelers. These stickers are made in the distinctive canvas art style. Help celebrate the art and culture of all Washington by using these free stickers today.
Version 3.1 of Nature & Wildlife Pictures is now available with many new images and performance improvements. NWP is a free download with most of the 60 downloadable images available at no additional cost including the one at the top of this post. There are also additional images available for sale.
Among the other improvements the app now allows image purchases on both the phone and iPad and the entire process is more robust and informative to the user. Previously purchased images are now shaded in green on both the phone and iPad and allows users to easily restore purchases they have already paid. This version is also translated into Spanish and shows local currency rates for all countries.
Nature & Wildlife Pictures is a free download for all users so if you enjoy the pictures you see on this blog you will love the application.
According to a study by the Wildlife Society Bulletin Comparing bird and bat fatality-rate estimates among North American wind-energy projects, the Obama administration seriously underestimated the number of birds killed by wind farms. More than 30% not including bats. My first thought is that the agency responsible did not miss the estimate, they lied about it to make themselves look better. A few years ago that would be considered crazy talk but today anyone who dismiss the notion out of hand is simply caught in a rundown between bases. So who cares anyhow? Even I had a relatively casual attitude about the wind farm issue poking fun at the liberal conundrum, but numbers ware piling up and there is increasing cause for concern. You may be wondering if there are many wind farms? There are 120 “Large” wind farms currently in the US with another 20 coming soon, actually a whole bunch more because a few months ago the Obama administration adopted the EPA recommendation and approved what is known as the “30 year kill rule”. According to The Washington Post:
Under federal law, it is illegal to “take” protected species unless one obtains an “incidental take permit” from the federal government. The Interior Department rule, finalized in December, extends the maximum time period for which such permits can be granted from 5 to 30 years. ABC (American Bird Conservancy) calls the regulation the “FWS 30-year Eagle Kill Rule.”
In fact the kill rule benefits all industry not just the green energy industry. In case you were under the impression that these large wind farms were funded and operated by local green energy companies and enthusiasts you might want to think again, while there is no doubt plenty of businesses struggling to harness and market the powers of wind energy, large companies like General Electric and Siemens are running the show. From the rumblings I have heard General Electric is also building Natural Gas fired power facilities on the wind sites along with the turbines. Facilities that may not get approval on their own and for sure would have to go through a lengthy red tape process.
You can call me crazy all day long but I suspect there is gambling going on in that bar. If it only was gambling it would be cool but I don’t put it past any government agency or large corporation to collude and break the law for financial gain and things are starting to stink of that. Also I would like to point out that all this is about the Eagles and other “protected” birds but the actual kill count does not discriminate and there are many other species of bird that are killed and injured. I recommend to everyone, take a look for yourself and form an opinion as it really becomes a complicated issue. The only thing I guarantee is that the more eyeballs on the issue the better off we all are.
Thanks for reading. I hope I gave you all something to think about and until next time you can follow me on Twitter here.
Those of you who follow regular know that I spent some time in Alaska a couple of weeks ago photographing Bald Eagles. It was South East Alaska based out of the town of Haines AK and most of the time we were shooting about 20 miles away on the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve which is along the Chilkat River. It is a special place because every year around this time when Alaska and Canada begins to freeze over a bit to the North thousands of Eagles head to the Chilkat to feed on an overabundance of salmon. The Chilkat meanders along the valley and at some points the bed or “flats” as they are called look to be about a mile or two across. In all the State Park is 48,000 acres and it is estimated that about 3,200 pair of eagles migrate there every year. Waters that run through the Chilkat include glacial runoff that contain a lot of minerals and other sediment that can leave the river bank ranging from sandy beach to rocks with driftwood looking logs for the birds to perch. The outer banks are lined with tall trees where the Eagles prefer to eat their food. As an added bonus when the Chilkat freezes most of the birds congregate at the spots with deepest waters and it is not unusual to have hundreds of Eagles in your field of view. One unique thing about the Chilkat River is that it has warmer water constantly percolating through the rocky river bed so it never completely freezes over thus insuring a food supply for the Eagles and Gulls.
The Eagles come to the Chilkat to feed on the spawned out salmon that seem to be everywhere in the river at that time. The 4-year-old fish are huge in size, far to big for an Eagle to bring up to a safe tree branch so the best they can do is drag it up on the bank of the river and pick at it. That is where all the action happens. Bald Eagles have a fairly loose family unit, true that the do mate for life in most cases but when the young are able to leave the nest they are done and on their own. Fighting for a share of the fish is a common occurrence and makes for the best Eagle photography. The birds tend to not be distracted by humans at that point either so getting close is only a matter of logistics.
The preserve seems to have its own weather too. It is almost always different from the water’s edge just 20 miles away and can change fast so it is best to be prepared for any conditions. As you can see in the photo above it can have grey low light conditions at times that result in muddy images that need a lot of help to make viewable but if you hang out for more than an afternoon you most likely see some really soft pleasing light at some point. When that happens, make the most of it because it won’t last long!
Thanks for stopping by everyone. Please come back next week, this is only the first in a series of stories about photographing Bald Eagles in Alaska and I would hate for you to miss any of it.
You can see more of my Eagle photos here at my SmugMug site.