Saturday, February 12, 2011

Back to Birds

These photos are all from Moss Landing at Jetty Road. It is one of my favorite places to visit because there are always so many different animals there. There are otters, harbor seals, sea lions, surfers, kites and harriers, shore birds and the list goes on! There is always a lot of action with the shore birds feeding at low tide. The following photos all have feeding birds in them, even if the prey isn't in their beak like the first photo.

First is a horned grebe (Podiceps auritus) with a small flat fish in its mouth.  
The second photo is a gull with a worm. 
The third photo has a lot going on. Before this photo the snowy egret and red breasted merganzer (in the background of this photo) were racing one another. They were going back and forth over about a 20 foot length. It was fun to watch, kinda like bird Nascar. Then this mean gull had to come and ruin all of the fun. He started chasing the egret and the merganzer wanted no part of it. Eventually the gull left and the egret and merganzer went back to racing. 
The last bird photo of the day is a tern (I am up in the air about species, either Forster's or common) searching for its next fish. They hover over the water then dive, very fun to watch.
Last I leave you with some of the male otters that rest in Moss Landing. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

A pinniped, a hummingbird and a sunset.

Today there is a bit of a mish mash of photos. The first is from the Monterey Coast Guard Jetty (also known as the Breakwater). This is an adult male California sea lion playing in the water right next to the jetty. 
The second photo is from Big Sur of a male Anna's hummingbird. I know I post a lot of these guys, but they are my favorite animal and I just can't resist taking photos of them when I see them! This little guy landed on a branch only 3 feet from my head. I actually had to back up to take the photo because I couldn't focus.
The third photo for today was a nice sunset we had on Saturday (2-5). I was doing an activity budget (where we watch one otter for 6 hours) so I couldn't really move around a lot. Luckily I was in a good enough spot to get some of the cliff in the foreground of the photo. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Illusive California Condor

To me, I don't think these birds are anything to croon over but in Big Sur the bird nuts go crazy for them! The California condor is a very endangered bird, found only in central California and near the Grand Canyon in Arizona. I have been seeing condors almost every day for the past week here along the coast. Monday (2-7) there were three circling Sea Lion Cove (aptly named for the sea lions that hang out there) probably looking for a fresh carcass to feast on. These guys are not afraid of humans and will fly right up next to you and let me tell you, even though I am not particularly excited when I see them, having a 20 lb bird with a 9 foot wingspan come within 2 feet of you is both frightening and cool at the same time.

Condors are tracked here in Big Sur just like I track otters. All of the condors have a transmitter and tag on their wing (either right or left side) which is visible in these photos. Last I have heard there are less than 200 condors in the wild. 

This condor was preening mid flight!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What? It isn't a bird....

There is just one photo for today and it is from the Santa Ynez mountains (just north of Santa Barbara). The lake is called Lake Cachuma.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Still playing catch-up!

Here are some more photos that are a little older than they should be... The first is an Anna's hummingbird at Big Creek in Big Sur.
Next are 2 white tailed kites in Moss Landing on Jetty Road. There is a tree (that is just a bit farther away than I would like!) where a kite is sitting almost every day. This day there were two!  

The same day in Moss Landing I also watched some shore birds. This willet was flying away from a mean gull that stole its crab. (those photos have not been edited yet, soon to come!) 

And stretching back farther into my non-edited photos folder were some photos, also from Moss Landing, of a snowy egret fishing.  

Last, I leave you with a photogenic male otter hanging out in Moss Landing. The 'cute' factor of the day. 

I am still working to catch up on my photo editing, but I am getting caught up slowly. Hopefully there will be some more photos up here later this week.