Friday, December 9, 2011

Quail along the fence, Point Reyes National Seashore

California quail on a fencepost with barbed wire

A male California quail perched on top of a fence post in Point Reyes National Seashore. This quail is from the same trip as my previous post of the peeking sparrow, and I found the quail along the road to Drake's Beach. I have often seen quail dotting the fence posts along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard on my way to the outer reaches of the Point Reyes Peninsula, but it was fairly uncommon to see them along the short road to Drake's Beach. Perhaps its because there is not as much scrub vegetation out there, as its mostly pastures.

California quail are of my favorite species to photograph -- view more photos of these lovely birds in my Quail Gallery.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Peeking Sparrow, Point Reyes National Seashore

White-crowned sparrow peeking out from behind coyote brush

A white-crowned sparrow peeks over the branches of a coyote bush along the Abbott's Lagoon Trail in Point Reyes National Seashore last June. This shot is from a terrific early summer day spent in the park. There was a late-season rain system moving through the area that would bring rain later that day, so the sky was filled with gorgeous purple clouds and nice diffuse light.

View more photographs of sparrows in my Song Birds Gallery.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pronghorn in the grass, Yellowstone National Park

Pronghorn standing in golden autumn grass in Yellowstone National Park

Pronghorn were really one of the highlights of my trip to Yellowstone National Park. As I've mentioned previously on this blog, I've been fascinated by pronghorn since I was a child, and it was really a dream come true to have had the opportunity to photograph them at close range nearly every day during our week-long stay in Yellowstone. We found this handsome buck strolling through the tall grasses along the northern edge of the park near Gardiner, Montana. He was the largest of three males traveling together in a small group, and we watched them browse for a meal until the sun had on our last evening in the park (just before I took the moonrise image I posted a few days ago).

Browse more photographs of pronghorn in my Pronghorn Gallery.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Dunlin Devours Prey, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Dunlin pulling a clam from the sand

A dunlin in winter plumage pulls a clam from the sand at low tide and swallows it whole. This image is from a nice trip I took to the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge on Plum Island last month. I was there for the sunset, and watched a good-sized flock of sanderlings, dunlin, and plovers feeding during the very low tide. For my shots that evening, I picked a spot in the sand near where the flock was feeding, and in front of the general direction they were headed. I put the sun to my back, placed my tripod flat on the ground, made myself look as small as possible, and started to wait. Soon enough the entire flock had circled around me, and I was able to watch them feed up close. A few dunlin eventually came so close that I couldn't even keep focus on them (and my lens has an 8.5' MFD!). I always enjoy these intimate encounters with shorebirds, and it makes the drive home with wet clothes all the more worth it.

Dunlin swallowing a small clam whole

View more of my photos of dunlin.

This post submitted to World Bird Wednesday -- follow the link to check out this weeks posts!

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Full Moon Rises in Yellowstone National Park

Full moon rising over the mountains at dusk in Yellowstone National Park

A full moon rises over the foothills in northern Yellowstone National Park on our last evening in the park during our September trip. Prior to taking this shot we had been watching a small group of male pronghorn feeding in the fading daylight on the gravel road through the plains near Gardiner. After the sun had dropped below the horizon in the west, we began our trip out of the park for the night, and were greeted by the rising full moon while the rest of the landscape was still in the pastel colors of twilight.

View more of my landscape photography in my Landscapes Galleries.