Friday, July 30, 2010

Quail on the lookout

Tall and proud

The California quail, state bird of its namesake, is really quite beautiful with its varied plumage patterns. During much of the year it can be challenging to capture these birds out in the open. However, early in the breeding season (this shot is from mid-May) the males are much more willing to make a spectacle of themselves while hoping to draw the attention of a female. Unfortunately for this one who set up his lookout post along the trail, there was only a nosy photographer around.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Late evening avocet

Late evening avocet

It's been far too long since I've posted a shot of a shorebird, and I'm glad to fix that with this American avocet at the Radio Road Ponds in Redwood City. It's getting to that exciting time of year when the shorebirds are passing through the Bay Area from their summer on the tundra, and its always fun when you get to see some of the birds we normally get here in their basic plumage all decked out in their breeding colors. Of course, avocets are resident birds around the Bay, so we can take advantage of their beautiful colors all summer long.

As an aside, the Radio Road Ponds are a great place to kill time while waiting to pick someone up from the airport. It's pretty easy acess to the 101, and only about 15 minutes from SFO. I took this shot just after the sun had set while waiting for my wife's flight to land.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Sea lion portrait

Sea lion portrait

Two takes on this peaceful sea lion at the Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey. I like the late light reflecting in the water on the first one, but I'm partial to having the flipper in the second shot. Either way it was nice to see these guys in a more quiet setting than I have in the past.

Sea lion portrait

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

California sea lions, on the rocks

On the Rocks

A group of California sea lions in a relatively quiet moment as they settle in for the evening at Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey, CA.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Song Sparrow and Flowers


A song sparrow perched among the wildflowers on a walk to Kehoe Beach in Point Reyes National Seashore. This was taken on the same hike through the flowers as was the white-crowned sparrow I posted last week.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Singing red-winged blackbird

Singing red-winged blackbird

From an April walk at the Ellis Creek Water Recycling Facility in Petaluma. Treatment wetlands are a great place to find birds, and my first tour of that area did not disappoint as this male blackbird was singing in the flowers along the trail.

Blackbird in the flowers

He's really belting out his characteristic song -- a sound that always reminds me of the arrival of spring.

Singing red-winged blackbird

Thursday, July 15, 2010



When looking at this seal lounging on the rocks, I can't help but see a big, contented smile on its face. Taken from an overlook along the trail at Point Lobos State Reserve in the Monterey area.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sparrow on a Stick, Point Reyes National Seashore

Sparrow on a Stick

On this hike along the Kehoe Beach Trail in Point Reyes National Seashore, the wildflowers were nearly overgrowing the trail. It was quite an experience to walk through a sea of flowers nearly as tall as I was, and the birds seemed to be enjoying it even more than me. This is a white-crowned sparrow that had perched itself in an area of all yellow flowers.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Snowy plovers on the beach

If you walk far enough down Limantour Spit in Point Reyes National Seashore you're very likely to encounter these threatened shorebirds. My walk on this day in March was no exception, and I had a chance to snap off a few shots as they scurried down the beach.

Snowy plover on the beach

I like the pose and the breeding plumage of the plover on the left in this frame, but unfortunately, they only stayed in this position for a few moments, and I wasn't able to get a shot without that distracting stick in it.

Plovers on the beach

Friday, July 9, 2010

Quiet moments at the wharf

My wife and I always enjoy a quick weekend trip to Monterey when we get a chance, and we were down that way over the July 4th weekend. While I was unfortunately fogged out of doing photography at Moss Landing State Beach as I had hoped, we had an unexpected surprise with a sizeable group of California sea lions drawing crowds at the Old Fisherman's Wharf.

Sleepy sea lion

When we walked by on our way to dinner the sea lions were as noisy as they usually are, barking loudly and generally making a ruckus. But after we had our meal and were heading out, the last of the light was drifting below the trees and the sea lions were much more subdued.

Sea lion moments

It seemed to be mostly younger animals in the group, with only one large male along the shore, and this youngster appeared to be enjoying quiet warmth of the last rays of sunshine before they slipped below the horizon.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Male Quail at Tomales Point

After a few weeks of traveling for a conference, a holiday in Europe, and visiting family, I'm back to the grind back at work and finally taking a few minutes to post a new image, with the goal of getting back to the regular pace of an image around every other day or so. In addition, I've increased the size of the blog page, since Flickr is now using a larger medium image size, and I like the increased detail of the 640 pixel image.

Quail at Tomales Point

This is a male California quail being as conspicuous as possible while trying to attract a mate (and perhaps a friendly photographer?). I took this shot on a weekend in May in which I was inundated in quail photography opportunities. This was actually among my goals for the trips I made to Point Reyes and Tennessee Valley, and I loved the many chances to photograph our striking state bird. This male is sitting on an old log near the Tomales Point Trailhead in Point Reyes National Seashore.