2021 Begins with Birds

January 9, 2021 at 5:04 pm (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, California Central Coast, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, San Luis Obispo County, Wildlife) (, )

Winsome blue-gray gnatcatcher

I didn’t realize the above photo of the gnatcatcher at Morro Bay would be so popular on the Birding California Facebook page. Last count it had 1200 reactions and 83 comments. It’s reminiscent of the Angry Bluebird that was popular several years ago. This little fluffball was uncharacteristically cooperative, as they are generally in constant motion catching, well, gnats.

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Acorn Woodpeckers and Their Granary Tree

October 25, 2020 at 6:36 pm (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, California Central Coast, Nature, Nature photography, San Luis Obispo County, Video, Wildlife) ()

Male acorn woodpecker at granary tree

Acorn woodpeckers abound in this part of California, which is known for its oak savannahs. Blue and valley oak are the most common, with valley oak tending to be larger and the blue oaks more likely to grow on hillsides.

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Hummingbirds

April 23, 2020 at 6:59 am (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, California Central Coast, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildlife) ()

Female Allen’s Hummingbird and lilac

This spring was the first I had noticed some unusual hummingbirds at my yard feeders.

Male Rufous Hummingbird

Unlike the mostly iridescent green-backed Anna’s hummers that are year-round residents, these sported a lot of rusty coloration.

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Love of Carrizo Plain in the Time of COVID-19

April 7, 2020 at 8:00 am (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, California Central Coast, California wildflowers, Nature, Nature photography, San Luis Obispo County, Wildflowers, Wildlife) ()

Pronghorn females

I have visited Carrizo Plain National Monument about a dozen times and this is the first time I saw pronghorns. I guess it helped that it was not a people-frenzied super bloom year, as last year was, and it was also in the midst of the Safe-at-Home era of the COVID-19 pandemic, so running across them was more likely.

Two pronghorn does

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Merced-San Luis Refuge System

December 17, 2019 at 6:50 pm (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography, Wildlife)

Snow geese coming in for the night

I had a few hours over the weekend of Dec. 7-8 and visited the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge complex, starting with the San Joaquin River NWR. Wasn’t able to get close to the noisy flocks of geese to see the Aleutian Cackling Geese, as the roads are off-limits.

San Joaquin River NWR

So I went to the San Luis NWR – the light was amazing but didn’t get as close to the birds as I had hoped.

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California Condors

November 10, 2019 at 3:10 pm (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildlife) ()

California Condor – Orange 77

I have seen California Condors, mostly from a distance, though I did see some juveniles close enough to read their wing tags about five years ago at Pinnacles National Monument.

Purple 54 and Orange 20

But on Nov. 9, 2019 I was fortunate to go on our tour of the Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge in Southern California where I saw approximately 8 free-flying and 14 captive condors in the flight pen.

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Desert Birds

March 30, 2019 at 3:06 pm (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildlife)

The black-throated sparrow is my favorite sparrow, and the first place I ever saw one was at Big Bend National Park, Texas. They are also common in Southern California, too.

This one’s bushy “eyebrows” look quote comical.

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Salton Sea Birds

March 16, 2019 at 6:00 am (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildlife) (, , )

Burrowing Owl male

One of the great joys of living in California four years ago was discovering the burrowing owls at the Sonny Bono National Wildlife Refuge on the Salton Sea in Southern California’s Imperial Valley.

On my trip to view the wildflower bloom in the desert, I stopped by specifically to look for them. I was not disappointed.

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Carrizo Plain Winter Birds

March 3, 2019 at 6:00 am (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, California Central Coast, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, San Luis Obispo County, Wildlife) (, , , )

Prairie Falcon

Last week’s visit to Carrizo Plain National Monument yielded some nice birds as well as a herd of at least 100 Tule elk about a half mile in the distance.

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Morro Coast Bird Festival – part 5

February 23, 2019 at 5:00 am (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, California Central Coast, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildlife) (, , )

Western bluebird male

The Morro Coast Bird Festival in January 2019 featured a variety of trips, many of them centered around the water. However, some of the best birds were songbirds.

Western Bluebird Male

I carry around a very heavy Nikon D750 with a Nikon 200-500mm lens. This is the sharpest lens I’ve ever owned, and combined with a good camera sensor allows me to crop a small portion of the image and still come up with a relatively sharp and minimally pixelated image.

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