Spy vs. Spy

March 16, 2011

Crows are such trouble makers…  This one decided to antagonize a pair of American Kestrels by seeing how close it could land and creep up to this one.  Other than staring at the crow, the kestrel was smart and didn’t react to the crow’s antics.  Frustrated, the crow flew off and tried to land next to the female kestrel, who was perched at the very top of the dead pine.  Fortunately for her, there wasn’t room to land.  In defeat, the crow decided to land on an adjacent branch.  I’m not sure about the kestrels, but I know that I got a good laugh watching the crow try to land on the thin dead branch only to have it break and fall.  That was the last straw for the crow, and it flew away in disgust.

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Images of the Week – Feb 14-20

February 23, 2011

Birds in flight and weather seemed to be the theme of the past week.  After weeks of beautiful, but boring weather, we finally had a few storms come through.  I’ve always looked forward to stormy weather, because that usually makes for great landscape opportunities.  Now I have another good reason to cheer for the rain…  animal tracks.  Since I’m not seeing much of the bobcats anymore, I’ve come to rely on finding their tracks to know that they’re still around.  But I’m getting far off topic.

Since there are two pairs of White-tailed Kites starting to nest near me, they have been an obvious photographic target.  I already have a huge catalog of Kite photos, so I’m making an effort to photograph them more creatively, or at least photograph behaviors that I’ve missed before.  I’m also working on shooting some video, since some of their actions are difficult to photograph.

“Passing Zone”  –  Male and Female White-tailed Kites

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First Front of the Fall

October 4, 2010

It was only a little over a week ago that it was well into the 100’s here in So Cal.  Now, our first cold front of the season is heading our way.  It probably won’t bring much in the way of rain, but it certainly brought the wind!  It also brought some interesting clouds to the local mountains.  Here are a few snaps from the brief evening walk.

“Clouds I”

“Clouds II”


Birds of Prey

July 14, 2010

I’ve been getting some great raptor and owl shots recently.  It looks like our local pair of White-tailed Kites will be triple-clutching this year.  The first clutch only had two fledglings, but their second nest fledged five!  They are starting to hunt on their own and it is a thrill to watch all of the wheeling around the sky and practicing their hovering.

There are also at least two Barn Owls roosting in the palms at the park.  We have been seeing them with uncanny regularity in the evenings.  The squawking of the Night Herons seems to wake them and within minutes they are out hunting.  One nearly caught something 25 feet in front of us last night.  I only wish I could see as well as they do at night (and that my camera could too!)

“Juvenile White-tailed Kite”  –  Goleta, CA

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Birds of June

June 26, 2010

June is a great month for bird photography in Santa Barbara, and most other places around the country.  It is the middle of breeding season and many of them are either courting, nesting and being territorial, or tending to recent fledglings.  I haven’t gone out of my way to photograph a variety of birds this month, but the birds seem to be doing a great job of finding me.  Sometimes you’re just in the right place at the right time.  Here are some highlights from the month.

“The Chase”  –  Great blue heron being chased by red-winged blackbird.

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The Guilty One

April 27, 2010

Here’s the real perp!  I think we may have found the nest the following day.  The images are too macabre to share…

Does this guy look guilty, or what!!


Crow Behavior

April 27, 2010

A few days ago, we witnessed some interesting behavior by an American Crow.  It was hopping around the branches of an oak tree, which seemed sort of strange, and the nearby songbirds were very upset and continuously calling in alarm.  We assumed it was looking to steal the eggs or chicks out of a nearby bird’s nest.  It looked like the crow knew a nest was nearby but didn’t know exactly where it was.  All of a sudden the crow flew up to the upper part of the tree and disappeared from view.  Moments later we saw it flying away with an entire bird nest in its beak.  We tried following the crow but couldn’t find it again, so we returned to the scene of the crime to look for eggs or baby birds on the ground.  Alas, we found nothing.

“American Crow”  –  This is not the perpetrator of the above crime, but is certainly guilty of some dastardly deed.