Pelican Days

We took a quick, last minute trip to Southern California to visit our son’s family before Thanksgiving. We spent a couple days at Newport Beach, spending time each day at the beach and meeting up with the family for the evening. It was so relaxing to be back at one of our favorite spots! The weather was great, the beach not crowded, and we saw lots of beach birds. What was surprising to us as infrequent visitors was that the pelicans were on the beach, not just flying low over the water as we usually see them. We were closer to them than we ever can remember. One of the days we drove up to Huntington Beach, and as we walked on the pier, this fellow landed on the rooftop above us. Soon another joined him, and we had a great time pelican watching. I took so many photos that I not only had to change batteries, but ran out of room on my SD card!

Show-off

Morning coffee these days means sitting on the front porch watching the monsoon rains or sitting on the back patio and watching the hummingbird show. Today it was the hummingbirds.

We have had more hummingbirds than usual this summer and often they are vying for dominance in their territory. This morning they were zooming around so fast it was difficult to focus. Although they were focused on each other (and the feeder!), I considered they might actually fly right into me as I stood taking photos. As I write this, they are back at it again after a forced respite due to heavy rain.

I was in the mood for a soft photo when I edited this image, so muted the colors and added a blur and a paint filter over all. This is a look I like in photography- but does NOT reflect the mood of these feisty hummers.

Loon

Most of my Alaska photography time last month was spent photographing the loons that swam peacefully around the lake. Often they would dive beneath the water for food and then surface with a spray of bubbly lake water. They were usually in pairs and would call to each other when they were separated, flapping their wings when the other was spotted. There was a pair with babies which I never saw, unfortunately. Next year…

Dinnertime

During our “elder years” (I put this in quotes, because I haven’t quite accepted my role as an elder), my husband and I have taken to eating many of our summertime meals out on the patio while we to watch the birds. Last night, I was enjoying watching the goldfinches, when many more finches swooped in and crowded each other on one of the feeders. I was surprised to see the spotted towhee (on the left) join them; I’m used to see the towhees under the feeders, rather than ON them.

What a relaxing way to start our evening!

Swinger

We have a hummingbird feeder hanging outside our window by the kitchen sink, and nearby is a hummingbird swing. The hummer in this photo (a quick snap taken through the window glass) was not swinging for fun. He was guarding the feeder from a hummingbird who kept trying to come in for a drink. Never mind that there are three feeders- these aggressive little guys do not like to share!

Translucent

Here is another view of the hummingbird I posted yesterday. Although it’s not my favorite pose (the wings forward), I love how you can see the flower, sky, and part of the head through the wing as the morning light hits the front of the bird, its wings frozen in place with the high shutter speed I was using to photograph bees.

Lucky Day

It was my lucky day! First of all, I was trying out my new macro lens- a gift from my good friend, Carol of infocusdaily.com , who is changing out her traditional Nikon lenses for lenses made specifically for her Nikon mirrorless system. I brought a chair out to the front flower bed so I could sit by the lavender and try out the lens. My intention was to to capture some of the buzzing bees, but as I sat down and raised my camera, I was “buzzed” by this little hummer (likely a black-chinned hummingbird). It was not intimidated by my camera, but was letting me know I was in its territory. It continued sipping nectar out of the blossoms as I snapped these photos- and I was very impressed by how well my Nikon with the new macro lens was able to capture the details on this little bird, who was probably 6-10 feet away. It was all over within five minutes, but I felt very lucky indeed to have this wonderful new lens and to have its first subject be this sweet hummingbird! Thank you, Carol!

Sheltering

The floofy little sparrows took shelter among the snow covered branches last week as the snow continued to come down last week. And now the snow has melted, and I’m thinking spring is just around the corner!

Keeping Warm

Keeping Warm

It’s this winter’s first (and last?) real snow day here in Prescott, and I’m enjoying creating portraits of our backyard birds. Notice how floofed up this little sparrow is as he sits on a branch waiting his turn at the feeder! I jazzed up this image a bit with textures, just because I can! I am a veteran of two cataract surgeries, both taking place in the last 3 weeks, and am getting to the point where I can actually see- with the help of reading glasses. The white balance of my vision is cooler now- an unexpected effect. With new eyes and the possibility of Covid numbers going down. I may be getting out soon to do more photography!

Still There

Christmas Pelican

My Christmas pelican is still at Watson Lake. Last week, I received a certificate from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game thanking me for reporting his tag and giving me some information about him/her (they don’t know the gender). Basically, they informed me that the pelican was too young to fly when banded in 2020 near Minidoka, Idaho. I’ve always seen pelicans in groups, but this one seems to be alone; I’m hoping friends fly in soon!

Christmas Day Outing

Christmas Day was quiet at our house with just the two of us, but around noon we took a walk at Watson Lake. There were many ducks, a very few cormorants, one heron, and one pelican. We were hoping to see some sandhill cranes, because we had spotted some flying over Willow Lake a few days before, but did not see any at the lake. We suspect they kept flying, heading south.

Almost immediately after we spotted the pelican, it took off, and I was able to see the tags on his wings (there is a band on his leg as well). I took the time today to report the tag number to the North American Bird Banding Program, which I think will let me know where the bird was tagged.

The Swoop

The Swoop

Today’s image is yet another in my series of gulls captured with intentional camera movement. This gull was photographed “mid-swoop” as it flew over Katsitsna Bay in the early evening. The unpredictability of the result is a big part of the fun of doing this type of photography.