Hi Mountain Lookout

October 15, 2018 at 7:27 pm (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, California Central Coast, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Uncategorized, Wildlife)

Cinnamon-colored American Black Bears
When I found out from the Morro Coast Audubon Society that the Hi Mountain Condor Lookout was having an open house, I cut my Eastern Sierras trip short and drove home so I could learn about the work being done to save California condors from extinction.

Although the condors aren’t often seen there, a cliff that was last used for nesting in 1969 is nearby and there is hope that the increasing wild populations will rediscover it.

However, one of the Hi Mountain volunteers gave an amazing presentation on the extreme efforts to save this magnificent scavenger, and how so many of them die from lead poisoning from eating animals shot with lead bullets and buckshot. We were led on a bird walk and a plant walk during the day, and I hung out by the feeders where the bird bath was to capture the morning visitors. The band-tailed pigeon was a life bird for me. Unfortunately, I missed capturing its band-tail spread out because I was returning from the outhouse sans camera! The sage thrasher is a rarity and was duly reported by one of the other birders. We all agreed the bears were the “best bird” of the morning!
There was a potluck dinner and an evening program, and you could camp up top if you wanted. I wanted. A wrentit found yummies (or water droplets) in a faucet.
California Thrasher
A California thrasher joined the hermit thrushes, juncos, and sparrows at the bird bath. Dawn was amazing, even though there was a cottony blanket of “marine layer” below.
Bird sentinel
Island in the Sky
This was the 17th annual open house. If you do it next year, be aware–the 6 mile road is very rocky.
Lopez Lake

Photos and text copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre

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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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Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

September 16, 2018 at 1:23 pm (Bird photography, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildlife)

May 2011

I have several GB of images I’ve never gotten around to editing. I found this folder while looking for another old file, and decided to edit it. Unfortunately these were taken with the Nikon D80 and the sharpness is not good. They look fine on the web, though.

This visit was in early May, 2011 when birds were in their finest breeding plumage.

The four grebe species I saw there are above. The Western looks similar to the Clark’s but the black covers the eyes.

There is a phenomenon called “midges” this time of year that greatly interferes with photography. They are basically harmless mosquitoes – they don’t bite or suck blood, but they emerge in clouds.

This is one of those places where you can do most of your bird photography right from the car. As I get older, those places are more important for me.

Go give it a try, you may discover things WordPress can already add into your posts that you didn’t know about. Here’s a short list of what you can currently find there:


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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Tule Elk at Their Finest

September 15, 2018 at 2:48 pm (California, California Central Coast, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Video, Wildlife) (, , )

The biggest herd of elk I’ve ever seen under control of one alpha male was along the Pacific Coast Highway just north of San Simeon, California the first week of September. He ruled over 35 cows and half-grown calves, with 10 other bulls – some with huge racks – grazed peacefully. One scrawny male challenged him while I was there. Take a look.

The first part of the video was in mid-afternoon, so the heat waves interfered with the quality. But I returned an hour before sunset for the best light, and they were closer to the road. A few horses even joined them in grazing.

He spent a lot of time rounding up his harem in a fairly tight bunch, so no interloper could snatch them away.

The testosterone keeps the bulls pretty wound up, and he made a few mating attempts with a cow who seemed receptive. It seems the females also mount the males as well, which could be a sign of affection and desire. Watch the video if you don’t believe me.

A few days later I found a smaller herd that frequents an area in Jolon, near Fort Hunter Liggett. This bull had just chased off a rival.

His cows were in the shade under a grove of oaks, standing on their hind legs to pull down the oak lichen, which apparently was a delicacy.

I returned to the area in the early evening and found them a couple of miles away.

The bull seemed exhausted and had a slight limp. Maybe the rigors of mating and fighting were wearing him down.

The cows moved out when they saw me, with their lord and master bringing up the rear.

They would stop periodically to look back, as if awaiting further guidance.

They moseyed along.

The Tule Elk is the smallest of the three sub-species of elk found in California.

To see a herd like this one in April, when the bull was just regrowing his anglers, see my earlier blog post.

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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Birds of the Oaks

July 8, 2018 at 6:00 am (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, California Central Coast, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildlife)

Acorn woodpecker female

Since I live in the Central Coast area of California, there are lots of oak trees, mostly blue oak, and there are some very nice stands of large valley oaks as well. The acorn woodpecker is extremely populous here, since there’s a plethora of acorns. You can see how striking they are with their black-and-white plumage topped with a red cap, and white eyes. Read the rest of this entry »

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Camp Parks – Wildlife Oasis, part 4

June 19, 2018 at 6:00 am (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, California Central Coast, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildlife) ()

Great egret with mouse

This great egret finds the grasslands of the Parks Reserve Forces Training Center, aka Camp Parks, to be an excellent hunting ground. Its bill was already quite bloodied before it caught the mouse. Read the rest of this entry »

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Camp Parks – Wildlife Oasis, part 3

June 18, 2018 at 6:00 am (Bird photography, Birds - California, California Central Coast, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildlife) ()

Turkey families were abundant at the Parks Reserve Center Training Area, also known as Camp Parks, in the Bay Area of California.

Two hens and about 20 chicks were in this group. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tule Elk Herd

April 16, 2018 at 5:00 am (California, California Central Coast, Nature, Nature photography, Wildlife) (, )

A herd of tule elk grazed peacefully in a field along Mission Road, Fort Hunter Liggett, California on Saturday, back-dropped by blue and valley oak. Tule elk are the smallest of the three elk sub-species found in California. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Pretty Cool Day

March 17, 2018 at 4:51 pm (California, California Central Coast, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildlife) (, , )

Rainbow and blue oak, Fort Hunter Liggett, California

I missed the bus yesterday morning. Actually there was a new driver and he wasn’t at my stop at the right time. So I drove 50 miles to work.

I’m glad I did because as soon as I got to Fort Hunter Liggett, California, the rainbows happened. Read the rest of this entry »

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Homosassa Wildlife Park

March 10, 2018 at 5:35 pm (Bird photography, Birds- Florida, Florida State Parks, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildlife, Zoos)

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Crested caracara

My birding friend Marilyn and I knew that the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park  was a great place for bird photography from a visit a few years earlier. We were determined to return when I was able to extend a business trip to take advantage of a 3-day holiday. Read the rest of this entry »

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Snail Kites and ChizzyWinks

March 4, 2018 at 2:52 pm (Bird photography, Birds- Florida, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildlife) (, , )

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Florida snail kite, female

Actually, I thought they were called chisleywinks, but couldn’t find that word, so chizzy wink it is. But more about them in a minute

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Florida snail kite, male

This post is about the endangered Everglade snail kite, which lives in the U.S. only in Florida and eats pretty much only apple snails. Read the rest of this entry »

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