Another lbj (little brown job) for this morning (after yesterday’s Wrentit). The Bushtit is a very similar bird, and we saw this in the same area of Tecolote Canyon Nature Park in San Diego, California. Both could just as easily be called lgbs (little grey birds). The Bushtit is slightly smaller than the Wrentit, and does not have the habit of carrying its tail cocked up like a wren, but the two birds are very alike in both appearance and behavior, and share the same habitat. However, a little study this morning turns up the fact that, despite any similarities and despite sharing the “tit” in their name, they are not closely related. The Bushtit is the only North American representative of the wide-spread tit family of Eurasia, which includes many species, while the Wrentit is the only North American member of the Babbler family, which has many species through Europe, Asia, and Africa. The Wrentit, in fact, used to considered the only member of its own family, until genetic studies revealed its babbler heritage. Busy flocks of feeding Bushtits are a feature of the scrub lands of the west coast, great basin, and as far south as the hill country of Texas. In breeding season you are more likely to find them, as we did, working in pairs. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. 1/640th @ f4 @ ISO 100. Processed in Polarr.
Not the most colorful bird in the world, of course, but still a charmer, and not easy to photograph. This specimen kept well buried in the brush at Tecolote Canyon Natural Park in San Diego, teasing us with its chatter, but staying mostly out of sight. As you see, it is carrying nest materials and was perhaps particularly secretive…unwilling to betray its nest site. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. 1/250th @ f4 @ ISO 800. -.3EV. Processed in Polarr.
Pelicans are among the best birds to practice your Birds in Flight skills on. They are big, so the camera focuses well, and when they are using the air currents over waves or breaking surf, or along a cliff, their flight is relatively predictable, so they are easy to track. Plus, the boldly textured feathers in all seasons, and the colorful breeding plumage in season, make them attractive subjects. Finally, shooting from sea cliffs in southern California, they are often at or below eye-level. This bird was below the cliffs at La Jolla Cove in La Jolla, California. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my birds in flight and action modifications. 1/1000th @ f4.5 @ ISO 100. -.3EV. Processed in Polarr.
The Brandt’s and Double-crested Cormorants are in breeding plumage and nesting on the cliffs of La Jolla Cove, north of San Diego, California. Some nest near the tops of the cliffs, only yards from the stone wall that protects the tourists from stepping off the cliff. This bird was close enough for a full on portrait at 600mm equivalent. Note the blue crystalline glint in the eye. Sony RX10iv in Program mode with my birds in flight and action modifications. 1/1000th @ f4 @ ISO 160. -.3EV. Processed in Polarr.
I think it might be the guano streaked cliffs behind the bird that give this shot, to my eye, a slightly prehistoric aspect…and the pose of the bird below only adds to the effect. In reading this morning I discovered that the modern Pelican probably dates back 30 million years, so, yes, the bird is indeed legitimately prehistoric. La Jolla Cove, California. Sony RX10iv at 600mm. Program mode with my birds in flight and action modifications. 1/1000th @ f4 @ ISO 400. Processed in Polarr. This is a good example of the tracking auto focus of the RX10iv. I have the whole sequence of the bird coming in and landing.
A mother and a new-born Harbor Seal recognize each other by the unique smell of each other’s breath…but it has to be learned and you can observe mother and child nose to nose soon after birth and repeatedly over the first few hours of life exchanging breaths. Later, when the pups are in the water and crying for their mothers, you will see adults approach the pup and check the breath to see if it is theirs. Adult females can be quite aggressive when approached by a pup that does not have the right smell. I always enjoy these nose to nose shots. This was taken on the outside of the seawall at the Children’s Pool in La Jolla Cove, in La Jolla, California. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my birds in flight and action modifications. 1/1000 @ f4 @ ISO 250. Processed in Polarr.
I don’t seem to be able to post a photo of a bluebird…this is a Western Bluebird from above the tide pools at Cabrillo National Monument at the tip of Point Loma in San Diego, California…without “zippity do da” breaking out in my head. And then it hangs there for an hour or more, and I find my self relapsing at odd moments all day. Zippity do da day! I still like bluebirds though. This one is caught against a patch of California Poppies for extra-special treat. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. 1/800th @ f4 @ ISO 100. Processed in Polarr.
At the other end of La Jolla Cove from Children’s Pool and the pupping Harbor Seals, there is a good sized colony of Sea Lions. This group of adolescents was having a mild altercation over the occupation of some rocks above the shoreline. It is rare to see an adult sea lion without scars…so these confrontations do get more violent as the sea lions mature. La Jolla Cove, California. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds in flight and action modifications. 1/1000th @ f4 @ ISO 160. -.3 EV. Processed in Polarr.
This is a newborn Harbor Seal pup, only minutes old. We did not see it born so I am not sure, but it is certainly less then an hour old. We did watch a mother in labor for over an hour, but had to leave before she pupped. The water just in front of the seawall at Children’s Pool in La Jolla Cove (California) is calm, and crystal clear, behind a barrier of natural rock outcrops, and the mother Harbor Seals gather there to give birth, nurse, and give their pups a start in relative safety. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my birds in flight and action modifications. 1/1000th @ f4 @ ISO 1600. Processed in Polarr.
While we were watching Western and Clark’s Grebes at Lake Hodges, at the north edge of San Diego, this Western came in close to shore, apparently to see what we were doing, and to make sure we were no threat. It is mating season and this is, again apparently, a territorial display. With those red eyes, it does not take much to make a grebe intimidating. 🙂 Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds in flight and action modifications. 1/1000th @ f4 @ ISO 160. -.3EV. Processed in Polarr and assembled in FrameMagic.