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!