We spotted this great horned owl sitting along the trail watching the hikers go by near the lagoon in Tennessee Valley. It really blended in quite well with the rocks, so it's easy to see why it selected what could otherwise have been a conspicuous perch.
Great horned owls seem to be pretty common in the park, and I guess that's no surprise since there are plenty of rodents in the meadows. It's a lot of fun if you plan to be walking the trail around sunset, since they really start to make a racket in both the eucalyptus trees and the willows. We even saw a pair mating as we were walking out that evening! We heard two hoots coming right after another from the same location, and as we searched for the source, it was pretty easy to find once the feathers started fluttering!
We watched this one for a while, and pointed it out to many hikers who were curious about what my big lens was pointed at. I was happy also to get some frames of it preening. My wife laughed and said that most people would be more excited to get it with its head showing, but I like to capture their everyday behaviour as well.
Friday, February 25, 2011
Monday, January 31, 2011
A red-tailed hawk perched on a fence post along Sir Francis Drake Blvd in Point Reyes National Seashore. My wife came along for this trip a few weeks ago, and our mantra of the outing was "Skunked Again" as the fog kept moving around and seemingly leaving me with terrible light every time we saw something interesting. After checking out the elk up at Tomales Point, we decided to drive over to Drake's Beach to take a look at the bull elephant seals that have been hauling out there. It's almost always a given that you'll see raptors perched along the agricultural fences on the way (or at least quail or maybe some song-birds) but we saw absolutely nothing on the way there (skunked again!). Then after enjoying some time sitting on the beach with some shorebirds (and awful high-contrast mid morning light) we decided to head out. Then, thankfully, to ensure that I didn't leave the park empty handed, this hawk graciously posed on its perch along the roadside.
Saturday, January 29, 2011
A raptor surveys its domain at sunrise from the top of a tall pine tree. This shot was taken at a pull out along Limatour Road in Point Reyes National Seashore.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Well, its not really a surprise that the western burrowing owls have returned to Cesar Chavez Park at the Berkeley marina, since they are annual winter visitors, but this one sure does look surprised. Actually though, it has such huge eyes since a dog was walking by. They appear to be fairly used to people stopping for a look, but if a dog wanders too close to the fence, they get visibly agitated.
I'm quite impressed with the new permanent fencing that was erected in the off-season to protect the owls from people and dogs getting too close. Instead of that hideous orange plastic netting, there is now a nice permanent fixture with a few cables running between anchors. Its much easier on the eyes, and also would allow for ground level shooting now, assuming that an owl was perched in a place that you could see it from along the trail.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Driving around the outer peninsula of Point Reyes National Seashore at this time of year is great for finding raptors. Its easy to spot a variety of birds perched along the fencing that runs along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, as they scan the agricultural fields for a meal. I snapped off a few shots of this bird from the car while driving out towards the lighthouse area, and I saw it still there on my way back as well. I also saw what looked like a Cooper's hawk and a handful of kestrels, but they were opposed to having their picture taken.