I confess I haven’t spent much time on photography since this whole thing started. But thank God for birds! I’ve been emerging from my office lately to sit in the yard with my camera and watch the goings-on. We’ve noticed less bird activity than I can remember from previous summers here (despite feeders and fountain), but I was happy to see that the mourning doves are back. So today’s bird portrait is of one of those quiet beauties.
Goldfinch- stopping for a drink in the late afternoon light
I’m reaching back into the archives for another beach photo. This one is from our 2018 trip to Homer, Alaska. Really sad to miss seeing our Alaska family this summer. . .
Beaches are open, but not for us cautious types. This is from last March’s visit to Newport.
Daydreaming about the beach . . .
This was from our last trip to California- February 27- before the lockdown but just as we were becoming aware trouble was headed our way.
Edited with one of my beach textures, created in my at home time.
Last night as we were getting ready for our Easter dinner, I spotted a quail kind of hunkering down in a clay pot near the patio. I grabbed my camera and took a series of photos through the window as he fluffed his feathers to warm himself in the wind. When I looked through the resulting photos, I realized that he had gradually made himself fluffier during the quick photo session. My photographer friend, Carol, had recently informed me that a fat bird is called a BORB and a fluffy one a FLOOF. So my Easter quail had transformed himself from a borb to a borb that is also a floof in a matter of seconds- your Fun Facts for today!
This was a fairly mundane image, so I decided to try some creative edits to create an image to submit today to my photo group. I have been working on creating textures for the last few months, so I made a custom background for the quail, starting with a copy of the original image and adding a painted texture and a Topaz Impression chalk drawing filter. I finished it off with a clipping mask border, another skill I’m working on.
It was the noisy squawking that led me to look up and see this pair of gulls as we walked on the Queen Mary. My first thought was that it was their first date, hence the name of this post.
Gulls can sometimes be pretty annoying when you are at the beach, but this one caught my eye as he perched on a rooftop surveying the scene in Newport Beach.
Good Morning, Sunshine!
What a joy it was to be back walking on the beach with my new knee! It still doesn’t feel “normal”- but I can walk without pain and without poles. And watching the waves and the birds is the best therapy!
At Newport Beach
It looked like the Canada geese felt right at home as they paddled through the chilly water on this cold winter day. It was just Tuesday that Watson Lake was surrounded by white- but now the beautiful Arizona sunshine has melted most of it, leaving white in just the shadiest areas. I have learned to get out and take photos right away here in Prescott, as more often than not, the snow only lasts for a few days. This image was taken with my iPhone.
I thought I could see swans from the road last week, so we went over to Willow Lake late Saturday afternoon to see what we could see. No swans were in the area where we had seen them before, but a heron was slowly wading through the shallows stalking his prey. We watched for a half hour or so- but never saw him catch anything. As the light was fading, we walked back to the car, leaving him still searching for dinner.
the swans! It was such a treat to see them in the wild- hope to go back before they fly off somewhere.
Friday night, we learned from Facebook that there were swans out at Willow Lake! We are accustomed to seeing ducks, geese, eagles, hawks, herons, egrets etc.- but this is the first we’ve heard of swans. So on Saturday morning we headed over to see what we could see. This would be my first walk in nature since my knee surgery, so I was pretty excited- so excited, in fact, that when we spotted the swans, I realized I had left my zoom lens on the kitchen counter! And what was on my camera, you ask? My macro lens! So I watched the swans as a hawk perched above them in a tree and a heron stood intently searching the water for his breakfast and tried to content myself with occasional macro shots.
After my genealogy meeting in the afternoon, we drove over again. The swans were starting to tuck their heads under their wings, but eventually all four swam around where we could see them in the late afternoon light. I haven’t gone through all the photos yet, but here is a shot of three of them.
Spotted at Watson Lake
There is nothing more peaceful than watching herons at a lake. . .
Last week I started hearing about some white pelicans that people were seeing at Watson Lake. I had seen a group (a “brief”, a “scoop”, a “squadron”) of pelicans fly over last year, but I had never seen them by or in the water. So of course, we went over to take a look.
The first day, we got there too late. At five o’clock they were already tucking their heads under their wings, but at 8:30 the next morning, there they were! I didn’t lug my long lens along, so the photos are not stellar, but it was so much fun to see them. Those of you that know me know I am NOT a birder- or even a lover of birds- but I do love water birds, shore birds and herons etc. And pelicans are my favorites!
We watched for about 45 minutes, and then all of a sudden a jerk with a camera strode across the grass right toward the pelicans and off they flew to another part of the lake. *&%#$
I also took some egret and heron photos- I’ll post those another day.
We watched this beautiful peacock strut around, and, when his girlfriend called, he spread his feathers and was a beautiful sight to behold!
Spotted in Tucson- a cardinal on a palo verde tree
Another peaceful morning walking at the beach. . .
Whenever we visit a beach, I always enjoy watching and photographing shorebirds, which are so comfortable amidst the crowds of people. I managed to get this shot as the crowds momentarily seemed to dissipate by the Huntington Beach Pier.
I have been home a lot for the last couple weeks and have enjoyed getting out in the yard to watch the hummingbirds. We’ve had more than usual, but the prettier ones (I won’t even attempt to name the species)tend to leave the yard when I go outside. The feeder at the kitchen window attracts several hummers who sometimes (but not often) will feed at the same time. Our larger feeder out on the patio has been dominated by one hummingbird who sits on TOP of the feeder for over an hour at a time, preferring to guard it rather than feed. I have known children with that same personality trait!
Newport Beach scene in black and white.
Newport Beach scene
I had a free morning yesterday, so I was able to get outside and practice backyard bird photography with my long lens. There was nothing more exotic than finches, jays, and doves- but it was all good practice.