Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Late light, tall grass, and a burrowing owl

Late light, tall grass

These shots are from March of this year at Cesar Chavez Park in Berkeley. By this late in the spring, the grass had grown high, and the burrowing owls seemed to enjoy the extra cover. Thankfully there was a narrow tunnel through the grass that stretched from the bird to the trail, and I was able to get an unobstructed shot. I've been sitting with the images from this series in my queue for quite some time, and today finally felt like the right day to post some. I'm not sure why I passed them over for so long.

Late light, tall grass

Shared as part of World Bird Wednesday -- click here to check out the other posts for this week

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sleeping sandpipers in Point Reyes National Seashore

For me, there is no greater photographic pleasure than spending a quiet morning with a group of shorebirds. My most recent trip to Limantour Spit in Point Reyes National Seashore was one of my best encounters ever. It included some snowy plovers, a few dozen semipalmated plovers, and the biggest flock of sandpipers I've ever personally seen. I had the opportunity to take some shots of the flock moving in amazing unison, and hopefully at least a few of them will turn out (check back again soon -- hopefully I'll have a chance to get through all of the images in the near future). For now though, I've decided to post one of a more relaxed variety.

Photograph of sleeping sandpipers in Point Reyes National Seashore

Here's a look into a small part of the much larger flock -- a group of western sandpipers gathered around a dunlin. Something about this moment really caught my eye. Perhaps it was the pattern of the smaller birds gathered around the edges, or the fact that all of the westerns had their eyes closed while the dunlin kept watch. And I just love how with seven main birds resting in the frame, there are only seven spindly legs touching the ground.

Monday, December 6, 2010



Two shots of a great egret capturing its prey in a field at the Ellis Creek Water Recycling Facility. Watching these birds stalk around fields is always interesting, as they stealthy move forward, very carefully placing each footfall. Then you know when they've spotted something, since they tend to crane their neck for a better view, as well as very carefully move to the perfect striking range.


Before this encounter, I had never seen an egret catch something at this close range before. At the time, it didn't necessarily strike me too much emotionally, it was simply an experience with the necessary components of nature. Predators need to capture and consume prey to survive, and prey species do their best to avoid this fate. When I started reviewing the images though, I couldn't help but feel sad for the rodent. The expression it had while struggling for its life just moments before being eaten certainly struck a chord with me (a cropped version is below).

Too close

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Rainy day, Lake Tahoe

Rainy day, Lake Tahoe

It's raining here again in the Bay Area all weekend long. It feels like we haven't had a dry weekend since October. Its definitely a bummer to be stuck inside again, so in honor of the dreary weather outside, here's a shot from a rainy trip around Lake Tahoe. This is an HDR blend of multiple exposures from the Sand Harbor area of Lake Tahoe on the Nevada side. The storm clouds passing through complement the cold colors of the large boulders that surround the lake. And an extra special thanks to my wife, who was holding the umbrella over me and the camera for these shots!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Perched song sparrow

Perched sparrow

A lovely song sparrow that was singing to me while I walked around the trails of Ellis Creek Water Recycling Facility in Petaluma, CA.