Sunday, May 30, 2010

Long-tailed weasel, Point Reyes National Seashore

Long-tailed weasel

I’ve come to appreciate the fact that not everyone finds wildlife encounters to be as truly thrilling as I do. After a relatively boring hike out to Abbott’s Lagoon (in terms of photographic opportunities), I was fairly resigned to be out of chances to make an interesting image for the day. However, my ever constant scan for wildlife came up with a huge score when I saw this adorable mustelid standing tall in the pasture along the trail. I was stoked! The long-tailed weasel is an animal that I’ve wanted a chance to see for a while, but I figured that it wasn't likely to ever happen.

Long-tailed weasel

We saw him take a few leaps and chases at something, although he never came up with a snack. It was fun to watch him disappear down one gopher hole and then have to scan the area to see where he would pop up next.

Long-tailed weasel

While the pictures themselves aren’t anything special (harsh midday light and cropped significantly), crossing a new wildlife species off of my list is always fantastic, and I was excited to tell anyone about it when we got back. Alas, the odd looks on the faces of the people I told reassured me that it takes a, umm, *special* kind of person to get so excited about encountering a weasel.

Now that I’ve got that one off the list, here’s to hoping a get a chance at a badger!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sparrows and flowers

Another handful of sparrow shots from along the Tomales Point Trail in Point Reyes National Seashore. I believe these are white-crowned sparrows, one of the three sparrow species I was able to photograph on this hike (the Song sparrow in my previous post, and some Savannah sparrows that will appear in a future post).

Sparrow and Flowers

This one landed in the lupine and started pecking at the flowers. I suspect looking for some kind of seed? Although I'm not sure.

Looking for a snack

As I was walking down the trail, some of the birds would occasionally take cover below the tops of the vegetation, but this one was particularly curious while hiding on the underside of some cow parsnip.

Floral refuge

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Singing in the wildflowers

Sparrow in the wildflowers

The Tomales Point Trail is just covered in wildflowers right now, especially over the first half mile or so. It was especially fun on my way out to take a few minutes every now and then to stop and wait until I heard a sparrow's song, and then try to locate it in the viewfinder. Most of them stayed a little more hidden in the vegetation, but every now and then one would display itself proudly.


Doe at Sunrise

Doe at sunrise

A female mule deer giving us a surprised glance as we came upon her on the trail at sunrise. Taken on the Chimney Rock Trail in Point Reyes National Seashore.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Singing blackbird

Hitting the high notes

Last week I posted some shots of this red-winged blackbird posing among the yellow blooms, but my real hope when I started shooting him was to get some nice shots of him in mid-song in this terrific setting. They have such a wonderful unique call, and I always enjoy it in early spring when we start hearing them again in the local parks.

Singing blackbird

Friday, May 7, 2010

Mute Swan an Ellis Creek WRF

Mute Swan

There were a handful of swans swimming through the freshwater ponds at Ellis Creek Water Recycling Facility in Petaluma, CA. This particular swan was quite agitated that a Canada Goose was also swimming around its pond, and continually swam after the goose until it decided to leave.

Mute Swan

Later on I understood its unhappiness with the other bird around, since when I walked around the backside of the pond that was overgrown with rush, I saw another swan sitting on what I guessed to be her nest.

Mute Swan

Even though this is an introduced species in America, they are still quite fun to see, as they truly are a beautiful species.

Mute Swan

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Quick Post -- Blackbird at Ellis Creek WRF

Red-winged blackbird

This blackbird will likely make a few more appearances on my blog in the near future. He was really quite a showoff, and the sinuous branches with yellow flowers made for a great setting.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Quick Post -- Red-winged Blackbird

Red-winged blackbird

A male red-winged blackbird showing off for me along the trail at the Ellis Creek Water Recycling Facility in Petaluma. He bounced from branch to branch while singing, giving me a few different takes on the scene with a variety of background colors (this is a seasonal wetland behind him). It would have been nice to capture the end of the branch in this frame, but the wind was blowing (cause of his ruffled feathers) and he was floating around in space far too much to control.