An Afternoon In Redwood Shores

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.

A greater yellowlegs stalks in shallow water, Redwood Shores, CA.
A greater yellowlegs stalks in shallow water, Redwood Shores, CA.

First to show his face was a greater yellowlegs stalking along the edge of a slough. The still water provided a faint reflection.

A gadwall swims through shallow, calm water, Redwood Shores, CA.
A gadwall swims through shallow, calm water, Redwood Shores, CA.

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.

A tiny bushtit perches briefly on an ornamental bush, Redwood Shores, CA.
A tiny bushtit perches briefly on an ornamental bush, Redwood Shores, CA.

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.

A green heron perches next to still water, reflecting fall colors, Redwood Shores, CA.
A green heron perches next to still water, reflecting fall colors, Redwood Shores, CA.

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.

A double-crested cormorant perches on a small rock, reflected in still water, Redwood Shores, CA.
A double-crested cormorant perches on a small rock, reflected in still water, Redwood Shores, CA.

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.

Gear I used to create the photos in this post:

Recent Publication – GeoLino Magazine

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.

Excerpt from Feb 2018 issue of Geolino Magazine of article about the African caracal.
Excerpt from Feb 2018 issue of Geolino Magazine of article about the African caracal.

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.

A caracal sits in the dappled shade of the afternoon sun, Naan Ku Se Wildlife Sanctuary, Namibia.
A caracal sits in the dappled shade of the afternoon sun, Naan Ku Se Wildlife Sanctuary, Namibia.

I look forward to seeing this awesome cat again in the future.

Harbor Seals At Pescadero State Beach

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.

Harbor seals compete for lounging space on an offshore rock, Pescadero State Beach, California.
Harbor seals compete for lounging space on an offshore rock, Pescadero State Beach, California.

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.

A harbor seal looks toward the beach from an offshore rock outcropping, Pescadero State Beach, California.
A harbor seal looks toward the beach from an offshore rock outcropping, Pescadero State Beach, California.

Fifteen minutes later I was done and moved on to look for interesting coastal birds. As it was a quiet morning, I soon moved on to more important activities, namely breakfast!

Gear I used to create the photos in this post:

Roosevelt Elk At Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park

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.

A male Roosevelt elk ruts in the grass, pulling straw onto his antlers, Elk Meadow, Orick, CA.
A male Roosevelt elk ruts in the grass, pulling straw onto his antlers, Elk Meadow, Orick, CA.

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!

A male Roosevelt elk ruts in the grass, pulling straw onto his antlers, Elk Meadow, Orick, CA.
A male Roosevelt elk ruts in the grass, pulling straw onto his antlers, Elk Meadow, Orick, CA.

After a while he realized his vocalizations were having no effect on his fellow elk. Obviously, he needed more straw! He quickly set about redecorating himself.

A male Roosevelt elk sits in a pile to hay, Elk Meadow, Orick, CA.
A male Roosevelt elk sits in a pile to hay, Elk Meadow, Orick, CA.

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.

Gear I used to create the photos in this post: