Monday, January 23, 2012

Killdeer at sunrise, Point Reyes National Seashore

Killdeer in dew covered grass at Point Reyes National Seashore

One of the most fun parts of spending years photographing wildlife in Point Reyes National Seashore was that I never knew what subjects I would find on a given day. Sure, I always came up with a plan of what I would be targeting as I drove through Marin County to arrive at a trailhead before sunrise, but a lot of my best work was from the luck of finding something unexpected along the way. On this particular morning, I had hoped to photograph shorebirds on the beach of Limantour Spit for my first trip to Point Reyes in 2011. Instead, I was treated to an amazingly colorful sunrise over the thick fog blanketing the rest of the park. After spending some time watching the fog roll over Inverness Ridge, I continued on to my targeted destination and pulled into the Limantour Beach parking lot. As I got out of the car into the cool (and so refreshing) early morning air of Point Reyes, I was greeted by the call of two plovers in the dew covered grass nearby. I quickly grabbed my camera out of the car and set to work photographing these beautiful shorebirds in the morning light. As the killdeer eventually started crossing the pavement, I left them behind and headed to the beach with their calls to each other still echoing behind me.

View more photos of one of my favorite areas of Point Reyes National Seashore in my Limantour Beach Gallery.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Snowy owl for a snowy day, Sandy Point State Reservation

Juvenile snowy owl sitting on sea ice

Today is the first significant snowfall of the season for the Boston area, so while I sit watching the flakes drift past my window I thought I'd honor the whitened city landscape by posting a photo of the snowy owl that I saw earlier in the month at Sandy Point State Reservation on Plum Island. There was no snow on the ground that day when I visited the park, but some sea ice had formed in the inlet, which is where I found this beautiful juvenile owl.

View more images of owls in my Birds of Prey Gallery.

Friday, January 20, 2012

American badger, Yellowstone National Park

American badger in Yellowstone National Park

On the final day of our trip to Yellowstone National Park, we decided to take one last morning drive across the northern roads of the park and through the Lamar Valley before continuing on our move east. We didn't see much along this final drive, but we did find an American badger quite close to the road on the way to the Slough Creek Trailhead. My initial sighting of the badger was just a few clouds of dirt being thrown in the air, and I was able to snap off a few frames out of the car window as he dug. We were quite lucky that he was working over a hillside just down from a small parking area that morning, so we were able to park the car and spend about 20 minutes watching him dig and tromp around. The only downside, photographically that is, was that he was in a grassy area, and since badgers are so close to the ground, it was hard to get an unobstructed view of his face in a photo.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Scaups at sunset, San Francisco Bay

Scaup swimming across water reflecting the golden colors of sunset

This time of year is great for a visit to Cesar Chavez Park at the Berkeley Marina, since a small population of burrowing owls takes up residence there each winter. Last year, I took many evening trips to the park to see the owls after work in hopes of photographing them bathed in the golden rays of a setting sun over the Golden Gate. The owls are not the only interesting birds there though, as I have also photographed a great blue heron hunting for rodents in the grass and some ducks like these scaups paddling around the calm waters of the bay.

Scaup on San Francisco Bay

These shots were initially an afterthought on that trip, since I was photographing them from the top of the rocks at the shoreline, and I much prefer to take images much closer to eye level. However, I'm glad that I fired off a few frames, since what really pulled me in was the reflection of the setting sun in the surface of the water. The sunsets over the Golden Gate Bridge are spectacular during the winter with bright rich colors, and from Cesar Chavez Park, the sun slips below the horizon directly behind the bridge.

View more photos of waterfowl in my Ducks Gallery.

Submitted to World Bird Wednesday -- Follow the link to check out this week's posts!