Weekend’s Best

November 20, 2008

One more quick post before I go.  Here are two of the best photos from the past weekend.


“Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher”  –  Goleta, CA



“Snowy Egret”  –  Goleta, CA


Another Bobcat!

November 20, 2008

I’ve now confirmed that there are at least two different bobcats at Lake Los Carneros.  The previous photo is probably a roaming male.  I have seen the bobcat in the following photo for at least the last 3-4 years here.  She is much smaller than the other bobcat, and also much more tolerant of people.  I took almost 50 pictures of her and she finally got bored and decided to lay down and take a nap.  I feel really fortunate to have gotten some decent shots.  I haven’t seen her since July and the last time I was able to get respectable photos was last February.


“Bobcat”  –  Goleta, CA


Here are a couple birds from the same day.  These were also taken at LLC and it definitely takes some patience waiting for them to do something interesting.  The first is an Acorn Woodpecker and the second is our friendly White-Tailed Kite.


“Acorn Woodpecker”  –  Goleta, CA


“White-Tailed Kite”  –  Goleta, CA

In other news…

November 20, 2008

Looks like I’m already getting behind in my posts.  I have a couple photos to post that were taken before the fire.  I took many more shots of the Kites but have some more recent ones that are even better.  I’ll put them up in a later post.  We had a cool cloud form in the late afternoon of the 12th.  From what I read online it is most likely an “Iridescent Cloud”.  Rather than repeat what they have to say, just follow the link for more info.  (And as always, you can click on a photo to see a larger version.)


“Iridescent Cloud”  –  Goleta, CA


The other highlight that day would have to be the Great Horned Owl that decided to land in a Eucalyptus branch just above me.  I had been roaming around Lake Los Carneros with a friend looking for the bobcat (no luck) and the owl decided to join us as we were watching the moon.  As you can tell from the photo, it was really dark.  


“Great Horned Owl”  –  Goleta, CA

Santa Barbara Fire

November 15, 2008

I want to start by saying my thoughts go out to those down south currently affected by the fires.  The firefighters did an amazing job up here.  I heard about the “Tea” Fire from one of my roomates and first drove out to UCSB to see what it looked like from campus.  I drove down the coast a bit but as I neared downtown encountered thick smoke and strong winds.  So, I headed back to Goleta and drove up Old San Marcos Rd and watched from there.  I wasn’t alone and all the pulloffs were full of other cars and trucks.  During these wind events, that road is usually very windy but was actually not too bad.  Especially considering they had gusts up to 71mph in Montecito at the fire.


“Tea Fire”  –  taken from UCSB looking towards Goleta Pier


“Tea Fire”  –  This and all additional photos taken from Old San Marcos Rd




The Beginning

November 11, 2008

I’m finally getting with the program and starting a photo-blog.  I’ll try to post a weekly roundup of images and possibly more often if I capture something particularly interesting.  And since I did see something interesting last week, this is as good a time as any to start this blog.


I’m currently living in Goleta, CA and am fortunate enough to live within walking distance of a local park (Lake Los Carneros) containing one of the few year-round sizable bodies of water.  Additionally, working on the UCSB campus gives me great access to a variety of shorebirds along the coast and wintering waterfowl at the lagoon (which have finally started to arrive.)  The views of the islands and the sunsets this time of year aren’t too shabby either.



Two weekends ago I went hiking with some co-workers.  That Saturday started with a brief, but heavy rain.  Heavy, at least for early November in SoCal.  Thankfully the weather improved enough to head out.  I decided to go north to Gaviota and explore the caves overlooking the Pacific.  Since this was the day after Halloween, the gloomy skies and plethora of burned Oaks (from years past) seemed to fit the holiday.


“Wind Caves”  –  Gaviota, CA 


“Hallowed Scene”  –  Gaviota, CA



Sunday’s weather was much improved with blue skies and plenty of sun.  I went over to Lake Los Carneros (LLC) and got one of my best shots of a Townsend’s Warbler.  There is also a pair of White-tailed Kites back at the lake.  They are most conspicuous around sunset as they hover, ‘kite’, while searching for small rodents in the grass far below.  I am amazed that they are such proficient hunters since their dives, if you can call them that; consist of them slowly falling to the ground with their wings held in a ‘V’.  I would love to get some shots of the pair interacting since they occasionally meet in mid air and briefly lock their talons together.


“Townsend’s Warbler”  –  Goleta, CA


“White-tailed Kite”  –  Goleta, CA



On Monday I made it out to Campus Point to briefly check out the shorebirds.  Unfortunately the tide was too high to see a large variety of birds.  In addition to the plentiful gulls and sanderlings, were small groups of Willets and several Black-bellied Plover.  



“Willets”  –  Campus Point, UCSB


“Black-bellied Plover”  –  Campus Point, UCSB



Luckily I was able to make it home before sunset and I headed over to LLC.  I hear reports on Sunday that the bobcat was spotted in the area.  My first stop was the foot-bridge where I quickly found the Wilson’s Snipe that has been here for the past week or so.  It’s generally seen near a Sora, which I saw; but didn’t manage to get any good shots of due to it running all over the place.  After the bridge, I headed down the path to the area where the bobcat was last seen.  I was about to give up after encountering several runners and someone with an unleashed dog, when I looked down a side trail to find the bobcat staring back at me.  By this point the light was very low and it only gave me a few seconds to snap off a handful of shots.  I’ve been going back almost nightly but haven’t managed to see it again.  Hopefully we’ll get a rainy day soon, since I almost always am able to find it after a light rain and in the nearly empty park.



“Wilson’s Snipe”  –  Goleta, CA


“Bobcat”  –  Goleta, CA



The weather is definitely trending towards fall around here (stop laughing you east coasters!)  This time of year means some fantastic sunsets for two reasons.  First, there are often patchy clouds in the sky and secondly the sun has started to set over the ocean.  I think I missed a great sunset over the ocean today so I’ll have to hope for a repeat performance tomorrow.


“Sunset”  –  Goleta, CA



After all the fun during the week, the weekend was almost a total waste.  A cold-front passed through and while it didn’t drop any rain, certainly produced enough wind.  Wind is the mortal enemy of all photographers (maybe I exaggerate.)  I was getting stir-crazy after spending all of saturday and sunday morning inside.  Against my better judgement I decided to head up to the mountains about 3hrs north of here.  I had checked the Mt. Pinos webcam in the morning and was surprised to see that they had gotten some snow overnight and through the morning.  I was hoping the weather would clear by the time I made it up there and would result in some great landscapes at sunset.  Nature had a different plan and kept the mountain cloaked in clouds and the temperature dropped rapidly as I drove to the top.  I made it about halfway before I started to worry too much about how I was going to make it down the mountain once the road was frozen (it was 25F at this point.)  So I turned around and made a quick stop towards the bottom of the mountain to get some shots of the local bird life.  The highlight being the White-breasted Nuthatch you see below.


“Snowy Road”  –  Mt. Pinos, CA
“Snowy Pine”  –   Mt. Pinos, CA

“White-breasted Nuthatch”  –  Mt. Pinos, CA


I decided to take the long way back and stopped to get some nice sunset shots.  The colors could have been more intense but the quick moving clouds made up for it.  


“Salmon Sky”  –  Ventura County, CA


“Cloud Motion”  –  Ventura County, CA