Thursday, June 30, 2011
This herd of tule elk bulls was enjoying a dinner of tall, blooming grasses when I encountered them on Tomales Point in Point Reyes National Seashore. Through the shifting fog I watched them graze on the grasses and occasionally push each other out of the way. Every now and then a few would look my way, which made for better pictures since I could get some eye contact with them. The two looking at me in this frame are average sized, but there were some very large bulls in the group as well. Even though they all still had velvet on their antlers, you could already tell that the smaller bulls respected the larger ones, as they often parted ways when the big guys were coming through.
View more in my Tule Elk Gallery.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
The yellow bush lupine is in full bloom at Point Reyes National Seashore, and the park's coastal scrub is carpeted in yellow. This photo is a view of the Great Beach of Point Reyes, looking south over the dunes along the trail to Kehoe Beach.
View more landscape images from Point Reyes National Seashore.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
In wildlife photography, it's so easy to get caught up looking for just the biggest, flashiest male to photograph. Unfortunately, this often means that the females don't get the attention they deserve, unless they have babies in tow. That's a shame though, since females of many species are just as lovely as their male counterparts. While male California quail are definitely showier, the females are quite beautiful, and share many of the same plumage patterns. Unfortunately, the females tend to be much more secretive, and I have rarely seen them out in the open for extended periods of time. This female, however, hopped up on a fence post and stood there for a minute or two in late afternoon light before returning to her more secretive ways in the tall grass at Pierce Point Ranch in Point Reyes National Seashore. I was quite happy to have this fleeting chance to take some photographs of a female quail out in the open.
You can view more images of quail in my Quail Gallery.
Submitted to World Bird Wednesday -- follow the link to see this weeks bird-related posts!
Friday, June 24, 2011
I encountered a herd of maybe 20-25 tule elk bulls with velvet antlers on a hike along the Tomales Point Trail in Point Reyes National Seashore earlier this week. The tall grasses are blooming on the grasslands, and I thought it would make for a great setting if I could find some elk. It's always fun to encounter a "bachelor herd" of males, since there's just something cool about seeing so many big bulls with their large antlers all at once. Unfortunately, they were in the foggiest part of the trail when I found them. Just 5 minutes up the trail I was above the rolling fog, and 5 minutes after the encounter I was below it -- but this is where the bulls were, so I made the best of it. At times, like for this shot, it briefly thinned out and the elk came into clear focus, but then moments later it could change back to pea soup. But really, is there anything more classic for Point Reyes than some elk shrouded in fog? I have a lot of images to sort through from my time spent with the tule elk, including a kick-boxing match between two of them. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that at least a few of them will come out reasonably sharp through the fog.
View more in my Tule Elk Gallery.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
This is the same handsome male quail that I posted some shots of last week as he posed in front of some rattlesnake grass lit by the late afternoon light. For those shots, he strolled along the bottom rail of a fence. As I sat there watching and photographing him, I took note of this fence post, which was in the direct light and had a nice background of a grassy hillside behind. I silently urged him to go up there, and after about 10 minutes or so he actually did.
He surveyed the scene from the top of the post for a few minutes before his lady-friend decided that it was time to move on. As soon as she started wandering away, he hopped down and followed her up the hillside.
View more images of one of my favorite birds in my Quail Gallery.
Submitted to World Bird Wednesday -- follow the link to view this week's posts!