Happy New Year!

December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!  I wish everyone the very best in life in the coming year.


The below image is a story of a great find and near miss. Having a one-track mind can be troublesome at times but also provides focus and motivation. While seeing fresh snowfall in Yosemite was incredible, the real goal of the trip was to photograph a bobcat in the snow.

We spent hours a day walking in likely locations, but the best strategy was to get on a trail first after it snowed. We got up at the crack of dawn, strapped on the chains one more time and were rewarded by finally seeing the tracks of a bobcat. Based on when the snow stopped falling and the condition of the tracks, we figured they were maybe an hour or so old.

We followed the tracks until they disappeared into a pile of boulders. It was a long-shot but we found a place to sit that looked down on the rock pile and proceeded to wait. We didn’t want to negatively impact the bobcat, so after 15 minutes we left without seeing it.

Further down the trail we found black bear tracks, and proceeded to follow them for almost an hour until they led us to a dense stand of pine trees along the river. We circled widely around the area and confirmed that the bear hadn’t crossed the river and must still be there. Just knowing that the bear was there, was reward enough and we retraced our path back to the bobcat’s hideout. Sure enough, a new set of tracks had appeared, which led nearly directly to where we had been sitting. Who knows if it would have emerged had we waited longer…

 

“Bobcat and Mule Deer Tracks in the Snow”

“Bobcat Hideout”

“Bear Tracks”

 

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Back in California

December 29, 2010

Apparently we got a bit of rain in So Cal while I was away…  With the local trails frightfully muddy, I decided to hit the beach instead.  The usual suspects were found along the shoreline, however the lagoon was hopping with activity.  A decent group of Forster’s Terns were actively fishing and the Cormorants were doing their part to further herd the fish into the shallows.

“Forster’s Tern with Fish”  –  UCSB Lagoon

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More Animals in the Snow

December 24, 2010

For me, the Lynx were the primary reason for heading to the Minnesota Zoo.  However, there were plenty of other animals to see.  The snow on the ground transformed the environment and helped create the illusion of being in the wild.

“Mountain Lion”  –  Minnesota Zoo

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At Home in the Snow

December 22, 2010

While up here in the Great White North (relative to Santa Barbara, anyway) I couldn’t resist the opportunity to photograph some Lynx in the snow at the Minnesota Zoo.  On exhibit were a mother and her two female kittens. They were all very playful and a ton of fun to watch.

Canadian Lynx  –  Minnesota Zoo

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