Bald Eagles

January 23, 2018 at 6:00 am (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography) ()

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Juvenile Bald Eagle

A family of bald eagles lives in Lockwood, California, not far from Fort Hunter Liggett.

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I saw this adult, and then a few minutes later saw two juveniles. One had caught a ground squirrel and landed in an oak tree to eat it.

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I think it believed I was going to steal its lunch, and started calling out. Two other members of its family soon flew to the “rescue.”

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I believe this is a second-year juvenile due to the amount of white it exhibits.

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The first bird flew with its prize.

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Finally all three flew out of sight. Bon appetit!

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Photos and text copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre

Feel free to reblog or share

Website:  CindyMcIntyre.com

Online gallery:  Smugmug and Fine Art America

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Contact:  cindy at cindymcintyre.com

 

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Pretty Pintails

January 22, 2018 at 7:06 am (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Photography)

Northern pintail drake

Several northern pintail ducks at the Colusa National Wildlife Refuge near Sacramento, California were at the pond at the beginning of the auto tour. The soft light brought out the subtle colors and designs in their plumage.

Between snoozing, preening, swimming and feeding, the pintails deserve a post of their own.

Pintail ducks, Colusa NWR, California

 

As with most birds, the males sport fancier plumage, but the hens are also quite lovely.

Northern pintail hen

Reflections in the still water also made for a bit of visual poetry.

I found one drake with a band on his leg. Maybe someone can figure where he was banded and when based on what I was able to capture.

Pintail ducks, Colusa NWR, California

Pintail ducks, Colusa NWR, California

Pintail ducks, Colusa NWR, California

Pintail ducks, Colusa NWR, California

Pintail ducks, Colusa NWR, California

Pintail ducks, Colusa NWR, California

Pintail ducks, Colusa NWR, California

Pintail ducks, Colusa NWR, California

Wildlife refuges are critical to preserving habitat for birds and other wildlife. Support your refuges. Buy a duck stamp or one of the America the Beautiful Interagency passes. The interagency pass is good for most federal recreation lands.

Pintail ducks, Colusa NWR, California

Pintail ducks, Colusa NWR, California

Photos and text copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre

Feel free to reblog or share

Website:  CindyMcIntyre.com

Online gallery:  Smugmug and Fine Art America

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Contact:  cindy at cindymcintyre.com

 

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Colusa NWR Birds

January 21, 2018 at 9:13 am (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography, Photography)

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Black-necked stilt

It was another foggy day at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex, but it didn’t seem to bother the birds much at the Colusa NWR to the south.

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Black-crowned night heron

I saw bird species that I hadn’t seen at the main refuge, such as the black-crowned night heron and cinnamon teal. Plus I was able to get much closer to several pintails, which I will feature in a post of their own.

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The auto tour was 3-miles long, and again, we had to stay in the car, which was a perfect blind. The road was a little narrow in spots, making it hard to pull over for people who didn’t want to linger at a particular spot. But there weren’t nearly as many folks there as at the main refuge.

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American pipit

My favorite method of birding-by-car is to keep the front windows rolled down all the way and my camera (Nikon D750 with 200-500mm Nikon lens – a long and heavy beast) on my lap. That way I can aim and “shoot” quickly when I see a bird.

I can blast the heat or a/c to counter the outside weather. If I can, I also turn off the engine so the vibration and the heat waves from the inside/outside air meeting won’t affect the clarity of the images.

I also like to video birds doing bird things, so I have a window mount for my Canon SX-60. It took awhile to find the right mount, which isn’t perfect but allows good coverage while minimizing camera shake. I didn’t do video on this trip, though.

I keep my camera bag on the passenger seat, and if I have another photographer in the car with me it works best to have them in the back seat so we can both have a clear view out both windows.

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American wigeon pair

There was a pond you could park next to at the beginning of the auto tour, and the ducks there were extremely cooperative!

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Red-winged blackbird

So was this red-winged blackbird

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Black-crowned night heron rookery

The black-crowned night heron rookery was seen from the bridge near the start of the auto tour, and you get closer views toward the end, too.

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Black-crowned night heron at rookery

The light was for the most part a bright overcast, which allows subtle colors and details to pop. Sunlight often causes bright highlights and deep shadows that are difficult to moderate, even in Photoshop.

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Great blue heron

As with nearly all of these photos, the birds weren’t close enough to fill the frame, so many of them are highly cropped. Fortunately, the lens I use is pretty darned sharp and can focus pretty accurately.

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White-fronted geese

Even though these refuges were 350-plus miles from home, it was a great way to spend a 3-day weekend.

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Colusa NWR

Photos and text copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre

Feel free to reblog or share

Website:  CindyMcIntyre.com

Online gallery:  Smugmug and Fine Art America

Join my Facebook Page

Contact:  cindy at cindymcintyre.com

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Morro Bay Birds

January 16, 2018 at 8:00 am (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildlife)

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Morro Rock

Morro Bay and the coastline to the north and south of it is my favorite part of the California Coast. It is also the most picturesque and interesting from my point of view. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sacramento NWR in the Fog – Day 2

January 15, 2018 at 7:06 am (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildlife)

Tundra Swans

Even though the thick fog kept me inside until noon and persisted all day, it lent a beautiful background with muted palette to the photographs. There were perhaps thousands of tundra swans in the wet fields enroute to the Llano Seco unit northwest of the main refuge, and the above image is by far my favorite of the day. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge – Day 1

January 14, 2018 at 11:16 am (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography)

Snow Goose

A lot has happened since my last post (moving to California for one), so I have some catching up to do. But first I’ll share the most recent images of my travels. Three-day weekends give an opportunity for mini-expeditions, and I chose the Sacramento NWR for its winter birdlife.

Northern Shrike

This is the first time I’ve seen a northern shrike up close, and it caught the waning light of the afternoon before the sun dipped behind the clouds on the horizon. Read the rest of this entry »

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Scissortail Ballet

October 17, 2017 at 5:00 am (Bird photography, Birds - Oklahoma, Nature, Nature photography, Oklahoma, Photography, Wichita Mountains NWR, Wildlife)

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

One look at the impossibly long tail of the scissor-tailed flycatcher might make you wonder if handicaps this bird by its excess. But once you see the owners in flight, you realize the tails have a purpose.

They act as rudders of sorts, allowing the birds to dart after flying insects with finesse. Read the rest of this entry »

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Nighthawks and Pauraques

May 29, 2017 at 8:12 am (Bird photography, Birds - Oklahoma, Birds - Texas, Nature, Nature photography, Oklahoma, Photography, Southwest Birds, Wildlife) (, )

Common nighthawk

Nighthawks are among the birds of my childhood. Their “buick buick” calls at dusk, the quick wingbeats followed by a glide, remind me of warm Southern nights. I remember being outside when it was nearly dark, and a nighthawk flew past my head.

I took off after it in my bare feet. (My feet were perpetually black in summer from running on pavement). Read the rest of this entry »

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Greater Prairie Chickens

April 27, 2017 at 5:50 am (Bird photography, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildlife) (, , )

Greater prairie chickens battling for dominance

It’s been a month since I saw the greater prairie chickens doing their spectacular mating calls and dance, but I’ve finally gone through all the photos and here are some of the best ones.

There were about two dozen males on the lek on the Switzer Ranch in Burwell, Nebraska late last month. They spent a lot of time “booming” and challenging each other. Read the rest of this entry »

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Hackberry Flat in Spring

April 25, 2017 at 1:36 pm (Bird photography, Birds - Oklahoma, Nature, Nature photography, Oklahoma, Wildlife) (, )

American Badger

I figured I’d start with the badger since it’s the most unusual animal of the day. It’s technically not in the boundaries of Hackberry Flat Wildlife Management Area in Southwest Oklahoma, but pretty close. Read the rest of this entry »

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