Carrizo Plain National Monument

January 9, 2016 at 5:07 pm (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, National Parks, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildlife) (, , )

Carrizo Plain National Monument

Carrizo Plain National Monument

The nice thing about being in Oklahoma in winter is that the cold, dreary days make it easy to stay inside and catch up on my photo editing. Although I miss California, I needed some down time and a chance to stop spending several hundred dollars a month in gas traveling to beautiful places year-round. Editing is a way of revisiting these places, such as the Carrizo Plain National Monument.

State Rt. 58

State Rt. 58

April 2015 was past-peak flower season in many areas of California, but enroute to the coast the hills were still kelly green in central California. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mustangs are Marines

November 12, 2015 at 7:07 am (California, Wild Horses of the Southwest) (, , , , )

Veterans Day is a good time to recognize the four-legged Soldiers and Marines – the K-9s and the horses that have gone into battle. Fortunately, some formerly wild mustangs in the U. S. Marine Corps have a peaceful mission. They, with their humans, form the Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard and are stabled at Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, Calif.

These palominos are all from BLM Herd Management Areas in Nevada and elsewhere. Some were tamed by prisoners. Many are trained by a local horseman. All of the Marines assigned to the MCG are trained to ride, to put on shoes, and to care for their equine charges. When you see them leading the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena every New Year’s Day, or catch them at a rodeo or small-town parade, you can see that the horses and humans are “proud to claim the title of United States Marines.”

https://www.dvidshub.net/video/418453/mounted-color-guard-parade#.VkSPVrerTIU

The horses are given formal names after famous Marine battles, but are called by their nicknames:  Aries, John, Norman. Unfortunately the plans I had to do an in-depth video with articles about the MCG and the mustangs themselves won’t happen. I am transferring to a new and better job in Oklahoma. New stories. New birds. New experiences.

Read about the horsemanship training the Marines receive:

https://www.dvidshub.net/news/175060/marine-horsemanship-fundamentals#.VkSTr7erTIU

Cindy Bourgeois McIntyre as an 18-year Women's Army Corps recruit, 1974

Cindy Bourgeois McIntyre as an 18-year Women’s Army Corps recruit, 1974

Contact:  cindy at cindymcintyre.com

 

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Kokanee Salmon Spawning

November 9, 2015 at 6:50 am (California, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildlife) (, , )

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If you’ve never seen salmon during spawning season, Taylor Creek on the shore of Lake Tahoe is a wonderful spot to see them. The kokanee salmon were introduced decades ago and are actually landlocked sockeye salmon that spend their entire lives in freshwater. Born in Taylor Creek in South Lake Tahoe, California, they spend their lives in Lake Tahoe and two to four years later make their way back to their birth stream to spawn.

I watched one pair for about an hour until it began to rain. The female chased off other females, the male chased off hopeful males, and occasionally she would sweep the gravel bottom to prepare her “redd” or nest. The male took his place on her right side waiting in excited anticipation for the moment they had lived their whole lives for – the signs that she was ready to release her eggs and he could fertilize them. Their genetic duty done, they will then die. Unfortunately I never saw the actual moment of spawning because it started to rain. Nor did I see any of the black bears that come to feed on the salmon.  But I felt privileged to see one of nature’s amazing sagas.  This short video will let you share in the gentle drama, too.

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Website:  CindyMcIntyre.com

Online gallery:  Smugmug and Fine Art America

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Sea Otter Antics Video

November 8, 2015 at 10:11 am (California, Nature, Nature photography, Wildlife) (, )

For stills of these too-cute critters, see my blog post:

https://cindymcintyre.wordpress.com/2015/10/25/sea-otters/

 

Website:  CindyMcIntyre.com

Online gallery:  Smugmug and Fine Art America

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Contact:  cindy at cindymcintyre.com

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Taylor Creek, South Lake Tahoe

November 7, 2015 at 9:35 am (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildlife) (, )

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On my recent California road trip, I visited Taylor Creek in South Lake Tahoe specifically to see the kokanee salmon run and the black bears that come to feed on the spawning fish.

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Although the number of salmon was very low, I was very happy to be able to see them in the clear, shallow creek.  Unfortunately, the black bears didn’t make an appearance.  However, I did enjoy the tapestry of fall colors.

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The bare alders with their wispy branches remind me of needle art landscapes I’ve seen, silvery threads amid the knots and embroidered leaves.

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The trail to Lake Tahoe was an easy walk.

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The paddlewheel tourist boat is rippled and warped by the heat waves.

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Common merganser

Common merganser

Common mergansers in the creek hoped for an easy meal of salmon.

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The serrated bill makes good grabbers.  I watched one of these ducks in a high speed underwater chase after the spawning salmon.  It came up without its meal.  Oh well.  Better luck next time.

Kokanee salmon spawning pair

Kokanee salmon spawning pair

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Website:  CindyMcIntyre.com

Online gallery:  Smugmug and Fine Art America

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Contact:  cindy at cindymcintyre.com

 

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Long-eared Owl Family

November 5, 2015 at 7:16 am (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildlife) (, )

Long-eared owls

Long-eared owls

I was in Ridgecrest, California yesterday and returned to the cemetery where our birding group had seen a family of long-eared owls.  I walked for a half hour peering in every tree (they’re extremely well camouflaged as you can see) when I found them almost right next to the car!

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This pair was very alert, but the other two owls resented being awoken from their naps.

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Anyway, here are their portraits.

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Website:  CindyMcIntyre.com

Online gallery:  Smugmug and Fine Art America

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Mule Deer

November 1, 2015 at 11:55 am (California, National Parks, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildlife) ()

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Deer tend to come out when the light is low – early morning or at dusk.  These mule deer were in and near Pinnacles National Park, California.  Some are “artsy” blurs.  Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry »

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Enroute to Pinnacles National Park

October 30, 2015 at 7:55 am (California, National Parks, Nature, Nature photography, Photography) (, , )

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Light is everything in landscape photography, and I made the drive along California’s Route 25 at just the right time. The low angle created dramatic shadows and a warm tone that makes the “golden hour” the best hour of the day. Read the rest of this entry »

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October Birds – California Coast

October 28, 2015 at 6:24 am (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildlife) ()

Black oystercatcher

Black oystercatcher

It’s that thick red outline around the yellow eye that makes the black oystercatcher look like a bird drawn by a child. The fat pink legs and thick red bill add to the comedic look of this shorebird that posed nicely for me just outside the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Acorn woodpecker

Acorn woodpecker

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Autumn in California’s Eastern Sierras

October 25, 2015 at 4:57 pm (Autumn, California, Nature, Nature photography, Photography) (, , , , , , )

McGee Creek Canyon after the storm Oct. 18

McGee Creek Canyon after the storm Oct. 18

I’ve learned never to give up on photographing landscapes just because it’s raining. Especially in California, because it generally doesn’t rain all day. The season’s first snow and the moody clouds, combined with a touch of sun, created an image with much more character than the blue-sky postcard photograph I had planned on. Read the rest of this entry »

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