I came across the following birds on a recent afternoon in Redwood Shores, California. Located right along San Francisco Bay with lots of calm water channels and sloughs, there are usually good opportunities to get close to these wetland species.
I came across quite a few gadwall, a winter specialist in the bay area. During the summer, they disappear to the north, so it is always nice to see these understated drakes bobbing along the surface. Look closely and you will see the beautiful interplay of buff, gray and black.
Bushtits are year round residents, but notoriously difficult to find and photograph. They travel in flocks, often spending less than 30 seconds on a set of bushes before flying off to the next. The best way to find them is listen for their signature peeping and then scramble to find the source of the sound. Here I managed to capture a brief look from a striking female before she moved on to find more food.
I always feel lucky to find green herons considering how much they can blend in. This one I followed down a water channel until I could get a nice backdrop of reflected fall colors. Whenever I can, I seek out simple, clean backgrounds as it greatly accentuates the main subject.
Just before sunset, I found this double-crested cormorant perched on a tiny rock out in the calm water. Although the light was fading, I found the posture of this bird interesting. After a few moments, he spread his wings and flew off somewhere to roost.
My German friends can check out the recent February 2018 issue of GeoLino Magazine to see one of my photos of an African caracal. I shot this photo in Namibia in 2016 at the Naan Ku Se Wildlife Sanctuary.
It is pretty amazing in the information age to be able to have such a global reach with one’s photography. Things sure have come a long way from mailing stock lists to photo editors and if you could spark any interest with the written word, mail a package of slides for consideration. Even in the early days of digital, mailing CDs of images was common place, as file transfer rates were still slow. Today however, stock collections can be made available for searching from anywhere in the world.
I always enjoy photo locations that offer more than one possibility for a successful photo. Such was the case on a recent morning I spent at Pescadero State Beach for a sunrise landscape shoot. Being along the coast, I knew that chances for wildlife were high, and so I lugged my wildlife/bird lens along with me, even though I was hoping for a magical coastal sunrise shot.
Arriving about 45 minutes before dawn, I hiked up to a vantage point overlooking sea stacks just offshore. By shooting due south, I was hoping to get some wave action around the stacks, with a colorful backdrop of winter sunrise colors. Unfortunately, the weather conditions were not with me, and I got a dull glow to the east and suddenly it was daytime. No sunrise colors, no landscape keepers, nothing.
As it got lighter, I scanned the offshore rocks and saw several groups of harbor seals clustered away from the roaring ocean. Getting these guys on camera was only a quick walk back to the car to retrieve my wildlife gear. Once re-set up, I waited for another 15 minutes until it got light enough to really start in earnest.
Earlier this fall, my wife Kerry and I took a trip up to Redwood National and State Parks in northern California. As we got up to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, we stopped at Elk Meadow, a popular spot to see one of the few herds of Roosevelt Elk that survive in and around the Redwood parks.
As it was fall, we were treated to witnessing rutting season, the time of year where bull elks assert their dominance in the quest for female attention. It was readily apparent who the big, dominant bull was, decoratively adorned with straw hanging from his antlers. The regularity of his bugles told us that he had a high opinion of himself!
Exhausted from his efforts of showing off, he took a bit of a snooze in the grass.
Roosevelt elk is the largest of the four surviving subspecies of elk in North America. Today Roosevelt elk in California persist only in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, and western Siskiyou County. Seven elk herds call Redwood National and State Parks home, although at times these herds become loose aggregations of smaller groups. Although this is a pretty easy large mammal to see in North America, I always delight at their antics, whether it is during the fall rut or the spring calving season.