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.
“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