After a slow time at Famosa Slough yesterday morning, I decided to go look for the Burrowing Owls along the San Diego River Channel in the Southern Wildlife Preserve, in Mission Bay Park. There are a few that have their homes in ground squirrel nests there, if you know where to look. I found them last year, half burred in the ice plant, after failed attempts the two years before. This year the ice plants have died back considerably and I found my owl sitting out on a sizable mound of dirt in front of its burrow. I saw at least one other likely burrow but no owl there. It was raining when I found the owl, and I have lots of pics of it eating a small bird in the increasingly wet rain…before fear for my damp camera and myself drove me back to the car. I could see that it was a passing storm, so I drove up and across Sea World Drive to visit the facilities at the Boat Ramp in Mission Bay Park, and came back when the storm had passed. The owl was still there, now taking its ease and drying off in the sun. It was super cooperative, not afraid of me at all, and allowed me to take a few steps out into the dead ice plant to get this close up at 600mm. You would have to view it at full resolution to see the feather detail, but it is amazing! Sony RX10iv. Program mode. 1/800th @ f4 @ ISO 100. -.3EV. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Though I am in San Diego this morning, I only got here late last night and have not gotten out for any pics, so here is one from a few weeks ago, on our back deck in a snowstorm. The background of snow makes this look somewhat surreal (or that is what I think). Sony RX10iv at 600mm. Program mode. 1/250th @ ISO 160 @ f4. -.3EV. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
We put the meal worms out for the Bluebirds, but I don’t begrudge them to the Chickadees, and Nuthatches, and Titmice, especially on cold winter’s day after heavy snow. This Black-capped Chickadee certainly seems to enjoy them. (I am not so forgiving of the two Starlings that have started to haunt the meal worm feeder.) Sony RX10iv at 600mm. Program mode. 1/250th @ f4 @ ISO 200. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
When the temperature got up to 40 degrees yesterday afternoon (after waking to 6 inches of wet snow) Carol and I went to the beach for a walk. She walks the length of the beach, maybe a mile, in the time it takes me to go a few hundred yards, but then I am looking for images. 🙂 Like this clam shell, which evidently served as an anchor for a stand of seaweed until a ruff surf and heavy tide pulled it loose from its other half and cast it ashore, still attached to the weed. I saw it in the pile, and pulled it out to face the sun for this shot. Color and texture are what makes this image compelling (or at least interesting). Sony RX10iv at 600mm and 4 feet for a tele-macro. In-camera HDR. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
I went out to the Kennebunk Plains yesterday to see if I could get out to the pond. It was very quiet. No birds, no sign of wildlife of any kind. The pond was still completely frozen over. The grasslands, however, had lost most of their snow. (That was yesterday. We got close to 6 inches overnight.) All that was left, at least where the snow had not drifted, were patches of ice in the low spots where the sun was slowly sculpting around vegetation, creating filigree ice. I am always reminded of french curves. I photographed a lot of patches, and chose these 4 as a representative sample. To me, the panel is worth some study as I find quite a bit of subtle beauty there. Sony RX10iv at various focal lengths. In-camera HDRs. Processed in Polarr and assembled in FrameMagic.
One nice thing about the Space Coast Birding and Nature Festival being in late January is that the Anhingas are always in full breeding plumage, and there is no place better than the Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands in Viera Florida to see and photograph them. There are quite a few of them there, and they like to sit out on the tops of the broken Palm trunks, not far out into the ponds. This handsome male seems pretty full of himself. Sony RX10iv at 600mm. Program mode. 1/500th @ f4 @ ISO 100. -.3EV Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Near the restrooms, half way around Black Point Wildlife Drive at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Titusville, Florida, when we were there for the Space Coast Birding and Nature festival, there were always a bunch of winter Forester’s Terns in the air, over a little canal where there were evidently a lot of small fish. They were swooping, and hovering, and diving…and who could resist trying to catch them in the air. The gallery shows a sampling of the shots I managed to get…but terns are almost as hard to photograph in the air as swallows, and share many of the same flight characteristics. Sony RX10iv in my customized flight mode. 600mm. 1/1000th @ f4 @ ISO 100. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
This Red-shouldered Hawk, with its head feathers lifted by a contrary wind, makes me think of the Ornate Hawk Eagle of Central and South America. It has the same crest, but its is natural, and not an artifact of the I wind. I have to think that if the Red-shouldered Hawk had its choice, it might wear this crest all the time. 🙂 I love this pose, with the legs and talons, the weathered wood, and the proud bird. Sony RX10iv at 600mm. 1/1000th @ ISO 100 @ f4. Processed in Polarr.
While looking for Limpkin and Purple Gallinule at Orlando Wetlands Park, on my last day in the field at the Space Coast Birding and Nature Festival, I found this cooperative white phase Little Blue Heron feeding in water plants. The chunky body and the beak coloration distinguishes this from the Snowy Egret. You can generally tell just by body proportions. Sony RX10iv at 600mm. Program mode. 1/800th @ ISO 100 @ f4. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
This year there were two male Painted Buntings coming to the feeders at the Visitor Center at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Titusville, Florida, and at lest that many females. Getting good shots of them from the VC deck is not easy, and the feeders are deep in the shadows of the vegetation, but it is such a treat for me, as one who does not often see this stunning bird, to see them whenever I visit the Space Coast Birding and Nature Festival. Not that I see them every year…but it is always worth a visit to the VC to see if they are there and showing. This shot was taken through quite dense bushes between the deck and the feeder. I had to maneuver to find a small hole with enough of a view to focus. Sony RX10iv at 600mm. Program mode. 1/250 @ ISO 1250 @ f4. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.