Carpinteria Salt Marsh – March 5, 2011

March 7, 2011

We took a quick trip to the Carpinteria Salt Marsh on Saturday.  Most of the marsh is part of the University of California Natural Reserve system, and is closed to the public; however a portion of it is owned by the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County and is open to the public.  I had heard reports of a red fox in the area, and with all the recent rains we hoped to at least find some tracks.  No luck on that front, but we were rewarded with so nice light and cooperative birds.  The highlights were seeing every kind of Teal, a couple Northern Pintails, and even a Surf Scoter preening very close to the beach.  A couple dolphins were also seen lounging and barely moving just offshore.  All in all, it was a very nice morning trip.

“Cinnamon Teal”  –  Carpinteria Salt Marsh

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Images of the Week – Jan 31- Feb 6

February 7, 2011

The theme of the past week has been the intense sunsets.  It’s interesting that I’m primarily out looking for wildlife, but when I put together a collection of my favorite images from the week, only one contained an animal.  This is one of the things that makes photography so exciting…  you never know exactly what will catch your attention on any given day.

There has been another pair of White-tailed Kites seen at LLC over the past few weekends.  I’ve only seen them on weekends, which is a bit strange.  Yesterday it was confirmed that they are intending to nest somewhere nearby.  The resident pair seems to be tolerating them so far.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

“Alien Landing”  –  Goleta, CA

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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”

 


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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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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Another Day at the Beach – October 10

October 23, 2010

After my previous morning photo-shoot at Campus Point, I knew that the light would be even better if I got there earlier.  This time I arrived just as the sun was rising over the mountains.  Indeed, the light was better, but the birds were harder to come-by.  That didn’t stop me from getting some nice shots.  After that morning, I don’t think I saw the sun for a solid week.  The moral of the story… get out and shoot when you can, since the weather and wildlife might not cooperate and you might not get another chance.

“Sunrise I”

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North County – October 9th

October 18, 2010

Last Saturday, we headed North and hit some hotspots along the coast.  I believe this was the first time that I’ve ever seen sun at Oso Flaco.   It was still early for the wintering ducks, but there was a small group of Cinnamon Teal and several Eared Grebes at the lake.  We even managed to find one American White Pelican and a lone Osprey at the far side of the lake.  However, the highlight was the nearly tame Raccoons we ran into.  I know that they mean trouble for the nesting Least Terns, but they are so darn cute!  After Oso Flaco, we headed up to Morro Bay to look for the Sea Otters.  Initially, it appeared that they weren’t around, but eventually they swam over to check us out.

“Double-Trouble”

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