Friday, December 7, 2012

It's been a while!

Well it has been a long time since I added a new blog post. Lately, all my free time has gone to printing photos in hopes of high sale days at the art show. This has left very little time for shooting. I am hoping to get out this weekend because as you Californians know, it has been raining here which makes our landscapes quite striking!

Below I have a mish-mash of photos from all over Southern California.

First, there is a resting Red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) in the early morning light near Lompoc, CA. This guy seemed so large that I first thought it was a golden eagle! It forced me to stop the car and get a better look. Even though it wasn't an eagle, I was still happy I stopped to admire that piercing look.

The second photo is from Bolsa Chica reserve in Huntington Beach, CA. I got there just before sunset, but still got a few shots in before it got too dark. I decided to try some bird panning in the low light. I think it paid off. This one was my favorite. It is a flock of snowy egrets (Egretta thula) flying close over the water.

The next two photos are at Mission Creek in Santa Barbara (right where I have my booth at the Sunday art show). The sunrise this morning was so beautiful. We stopped for a quick minute on our way to meet up for our wonderful day at Anacapa Island.

*Hope you enjoyed the photos, and that the next post isn't as lagged as this one! 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

What a catch!

The other day while at the Goleta slough a Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) flew from its perch above the slough over to the beach and very quickly came back with its prey. I didn't get to see the catch, so I didn't even know what kind of bird it was until I looked at the photos on my computer. The second photo below shows that the peregrine caught a rock pigeon (also known as flying rats or Columba livia). Of all the times I have seen peregrines, this is the first time I have seen one with prey. Peregrine's diets mainly consist of birds and they often times catch them in mid air. It was exciting to get to finally see one with a successful catch!

An overcast Monterey Bay day

These photos are from May 12 (Yes, A whole month late on posting them!) while on the Monterey Bay Whale Watch boat. It was a very overcast day, which if you don't live in the area- is very, very common. We saw about 20 humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) along with some risso's dolphins (Grampus griseus) and pacific white sided dolphins (Lagenorhynchus obliquidens).

The first series is of the humpbacks that we saw doing some interesting behaviors. They were mostly doing pec slaps- slapping the water with their big pectoral fins. We saw a few breaches and tail slaps from a distance as well.
Humpback fluke

Humpback whale with a risso's dolphin (dorsal fin to the left of the whale)

Two humpback whales slapping their pectoral fins
Humpback whale slapping the water and making a big splash.

The next series is of the dolphins we saw along side the boat. The pacific white sided dolphins were riding in our wake, bow riding and along side the boat. A few were jumping out of the water and spinning (which is a common behavior for spinner dolphins, but rarely seen in white sided dolphins).
Pacific white sided dolphin along side the boat

Pacific white sided dolphin spinning while jumping out of the water.

Risso's dolphin.
Rhinoceros auklet (Cerorhinca monocerata) taking flight.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Palo Alto Baylands

These photos were taken three weeks ago in Palo Alto at the Baylands that connect to the San Francisco Bay. There were tons (that is a scientific term) of nesting snowy egrets and black crowned night herons in the trees along with many other species fishing and foraging.

Two American avocets (Recurvirostra americana) with a black-necked stilt (Himantopus mexicanus) in the background.
A black-necked stilt (Himantopus mexicanus).

A nesting cliff swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota).

A pair of nesting cliff swallows (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota).

A black-crowned night heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) near its nest.

A black-crowned night heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) in flight.

A snowy egret (Egretta thula) on its nest.
A snowy egret (Egretta thula) on its nest.

Bullock's Oriole (Icterus bullockii). This photo was the last bird photo of the day, so it was kind of dark but I was excited to see an oriole. I had to add it.

The last photo as the sun was setting behind the trees.

Monday, May 28, 2012

A hauled out sea otter

These photos are from back in February in Monterey. I was at otter point, which is west of lover's point. This male otter swam by, checked out the intertidal and then hauled out on the surf grass for a bit.
Can you find the hiding otter?

Jalama Killdeer

These photos are from Jalama Beach. There is a freshwater output that attracts interesting birds. Below are two photos of a killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) trying to keep me away from their nest, which involves vivid displays to lure me away from the nest area. In the first photo, the killdeer is pretending that they have a broken wing (called the 'broken wing display') to appear weaker so the predator (me) will follow and think that the bird is an easy target. Then when they think the predator is far enough from the nest, they fly away quickly.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Gray whales movin' on up the coast

The first two photos today are of the migrating gray whales traveling north to their feeding grounds in Alaska. This is the tail end of the migration which means it is mostly moms with their new calves. These pairs typically stay very close to shore to avoid predation by orcas. The photo below is of the calf surfacing with the mom behind. The second photo was of particularly noticeable (and entertaining to me) spot on her back. 


Below is a California quail at Gaviota State park. It is about time for quail chicks, but I haven't seen any yet. Quail chicks could be one of my favorite animals to watch!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The change to Southern California

I haven't gotten many chances to get out to photograph here in SoCal, but here are a few landscape shots while tracking otters.

Photo 1: Jalama Beach north of Point Conception.

Photo 2: The lighthouse at Point Conception.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Winter Birding

These photos were taken on Feb 4 and 6 at Los Gatos Creek Trail. Bird names are listed in the captions.

Male and female greater scaup (Aythya marila)

Male greater scaup (Aythya marila)

male mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) fishing

Male and female mallards (Anas platyrhynchos)

Male and female mallards (Anas platyrhynchos)

Female mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

Male mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

Pied-billed grebe (Podilymbus podiceps)

Red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)

Pfeiffer Beach Sunset

Winter is generally the best time in California for sunsets. You get lots of pretty clouds and colorful skies. This winter I have not gotten out as much as I have wanted to for sunsets along the coast, but I finally took some time the other day (Friday, February 3rd) and went down to Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur. Surprisingly there were no other photographers on the beach- It was a Friday night- I guess everyone else had plans and left the beach for me. I have no problem with this! Wish it happened more often!