Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Great blue heron with attitude

Flipping back through some images from earlier this year, I realized that I have a handful of heron and egret shots from a sunset spent at Rodeo Lagoon in the Marin Headlands. I've had many experiences where great blue herons will fly away they moment they even think you might have seen them in the distance, but I've often found that when they are in fishing mode, they are easy to approach. That was the case for this beautiful bird, as it completely ignored the photographer crouching along the shoreline as it sought out many small fish to make up an evening meal.

What're you lookin' at?

Checking out this heron straight on definitely gives an air of attitude, but its attention was totally on the fish it was stirring up with its slow walk in the shallows, and not at all on me.

GBH snack

This particular bird was quite impressive with its fishing skills, as it rarely made a strike that didn't end with a fish. It was a fun opportunity to rotate the camera to a portrait frame as well, as other than the strikes, it stood tall throughout much of the encounter -- often with one eye peering down at the water.

GBH portrait

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Peaceful moments

Well, a very busy past few weeks has kept me away from posting new images, but I did manage to slip out for a great early morning walk along Limantour Spit two weekends ago, and we went for a terrific camping trip to the North Coast redwoods this weekend (many images to come, I'm sure -- once I've actually had a chance to look at them). But first, I thought I would share two relatively serene scenes, at least as far as sanderlings go.

Peaceful beach (1of2)

For anyone that has watched these guys frantically pick at the beach and stay one step ahead of the waves, they seem to be in constant motion. It was a nice change of pace to capture some fleeting quiet moments with them before they picked up speed again and took off up the beach.

Peaceful beach (2of2)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Marbled godwit at Pillar Point

Marbled godwit at Pillar Point (2of2)

In one of the shorebird ID books I have, they describe the marbled godwit as being the subject of many close encounters for beachcombers on western beaches, and I've found that to hold fairly true. In general, these guys seem less bothered than many other species to have people around, and this one was no exception. Every now and then it would give me a glance to ensure I wasn't doing anything fishy -- but it was mostly focused on finding breakfast.

Probing for breakfast (1of2)

In these shots, I liked that you could see the 'tongues' of all of the clams buried in the sand. Although, I had to wonder if that helped to give their position away to the many birds searching for them.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Song sparrow in Tennessee Valley

Song sparrow

On one of my unsuccesful bobcat finding trips in February, my consolation prize was this lovely sparrow singing along the trail on the way out.

Singing sparrow

Perhaps contemplating its next tune:

After the long note