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

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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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A Touch of Nature in Maryland

October 5, 2017 at 3:26 pm (Butterflies, Dragonflies and Bugs, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography, Photography) ()

I’m visiting Maryland at the moment, and had a chance to visit the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center  during some down time. Several sweet whitetail does posed pretty for me. This gal has a floppy ear for some reason. Read the rest of this entry »

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Caddo Maples

November 20, 2016 at 12:03 pm (Autumn, Bird photography, Birds - Oklahoma, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography, Oklahoma, Photography, Wichita Mountains NWR, Wildlife)

Caddo Maples, Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Okla.

Caddo Maples, Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Okla.

Walking through a forested canyon in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge near Lawton, Okla., I felt like I was back in the Chisos Mountains of Big Bend National Park in Texas. Big Bend was the first park I worked at when the Great Recession ended my art business, and it changed my life. Read the rest of this entry »

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Heart Rock and October Surprises

November 11, 2016 at 5:00 am (Autumn, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography, Oklahoma, Wichita Mountains NWR, Wildflowers)

Heart Rock, Wichita Mts Wildlife Refuge OK

Heart Rock, Wichita Mts Wildlife Refuge OK

This is actually a pretty big rock. You have to view it from above to see it’s a heart. The bottom of the heart is about head-high when you’re next to it.

Wichita Mts Wildlife Refuge, mid-Oct, Okla.

Wichita Mts Wildlife Refuge, mid-Oct, Okla.

It’s easy to get to, but there’s no sign, and it requires a little bit of rock scrambling. But the grip on your shoes is good. Read the rest of this entry »

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Prairie abundant with color

November 3, 2016 at 5:00 am (National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography, Oklahoma, Photography, Wichita Mountains NWR, Wildflowers)

From this spring’s MeadowLarking column in the Fort Sill Tribune. Double click on each image to enlarge it for easier reading.

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Photos copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre

Feel free to reblog or share

Website:  CindyMcIntyre.com

Online gallery:  Smugmug and Fine Art America

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