Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sunset above the fog, Mount Tamalpais State Park

Hillsides illuminated by a unset above the fog on Mount Tamalpais
The last rays of golden light illuminate hillsides above the marine layer on Mt Tam

On my summer trip to Point Reyes, I included a single sunset in my schedule to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge, which I had hoped would be bathed in partial fog. I spent the afternoon photographing quail in Tennessee Valley and drove to the bridge for the golden hour. To my dismay, the entire scene was completely fogged in, enough that I couldn't even see the bridge from the first pullout on Conzelman Road. Instead of waiting for the slim chance that the fog might lift, I made a last-minute change of plans to get above the marine layer along the crest of Mount Tam. I ascended the mountain under heavy gray, and eventually burst into the warm colors of sunset as I drove for the pullouts on Ridgecrest Boulevard. I was pressed for time with the sun already close to the horizon, but what a sight to see the warm colors of sunset offset by the cool fog. It was breathtaking, and Marin yet again delivered another of my favorite experiences.

Sunset above the fog on Mount Tam
Trees frame a fairly tale scene above the fog

Friday, October 17, 2014

Dunlin feeding in front of the waves, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Dunlin feeding in Massachusetts with shallow DOF
A dunlin probes the sand for a meal in Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

It was mostly sanderlings feeding in front of the receding tide on my last trip to Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, but this lone dunlin looked stately among the smaller sandpipers.

View more of my dunlin photography.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Sanderling searching for prey at sunset, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Sanderling looking for a meal at sunset in Parker River National Wildlife Refuge
A sanderling looks for a meal as the late light drops to the horizon in Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

On the last weekend in September I finally made it out to the coast for a fall trip to look for shorebirds. The Sandy Point State Reservation and Lot 7 area of Parker River National Wildlife Refuge did not disappoint, as there were plenty of sandpipers around. I spent the early evening with a group of resting peeps in the dunes, then got thoroughly soaked while working with a flock of sandpipers in the exposed flats of the ebbing tide. Pleasantly, the temperatures were unseasonably warm, so it was actually quite refreshing to be soaked to the bone in the wet sand. Regardless, it's always worth a wet drive home when you have a chance to share space with some friendly shorebirds!

View more of my sanderling photography.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Curious sanderling along Plymouth Beach

Curious sanderling walking over round stones at Plymouth Beach, Massachusetts
A sanderling cruising over rounded stones along Plymouth Beach, Massachusetts

Another image from my late spring shorebirding trips to Plymouth Beach. I really need to get back there soon!

View more of my sanderling photographs.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Dunlin preening at sunset, Plymouth Beach

Dunlin preening at sunset on Plymouth Beach, Massachusetts
A dunlin preens its feathers while bathed in the golden light of sunset on Plymouth Beach

On this early May trip to Plymouth Beach, I spent most of the late afternoon walking up and down the beach looking for cooperative shorebirds. They seemed to be opposed to staying in even smallish flocks for any substantial amount of time that day, and instead were feeding individually across the extensive exposed sediments. It was hard to find a place to set up to let the birds approach me, since predicting the path of an individual shorebird is nearly impossible. As the sun started getting low to the horizon, I thought I might have to head home without much on my memory cards. But then, a large flock of dunlin landed nearby -- and instead of feeding, they were preening and resting on a raised bar of sand. This bird stood alone on the edge of the flock as it preened its feathers before tucking in its bill for a nap.

View more photographs of dunlin.