Sunday, October 14, 2012

Snowy Egret - Morro Bay Birding

As part of the 5-day California Photo Festival, I enjoyed an early morning photo trek to attempt to capture the soft pink light just before sunrise with Juan Pons and others.  The clouds of the past several days didn't show up... and we experienced the pink glow of dawn on the mudflats of Morro Bay.

This Snowy Egret provided an excellent subject as the tide was coming in... a fantastic way to begin the day!
SNOWY EGRET - early morning pink light

Monday, October 1, 2012

Common Cuckoo - LIFER!

This afternoon I went to Ramsey Park in Watsonville, CA... to hopefully observe a very rare bird for California or even for the entire lower 48 states in the USA!    Three days ago birders had spotted a COMMON CUCKOO in the willows along the slough.  This bird is normally found across Europe, and from Siberia to Kamchatka and Japan; winters to southern Africa... yet a bird of this species was being observed here in California.

It didn't take me long to find the group of other birders looking in the trees along the pathway... so there were plenty of eyes looking to re-find the target bird. Within 45 minutes, we had re-found the bird... down low in the branches just above the water.  Frantic looking and pointing, and eventually everyone in the group was able to see the bird!   Yea!

I got the bird and a photo!   A new LIFER for my Lifelist!   Yea!!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Russia River Cruise & Birding

Spent most of the month of August in Russia with then 5 more days in Ukraine.

The main portion of the trip was a Russia River Cruise which began in Saint Petersburg along various rivers and lakes, eventually arriving in Moscow; then fly from Moscow, Russia to Kiev, Ukraine.  It was a truly wonderful experience seeing so much of these beautiful big cities along with plenty of river edge countryside within Russia. 

It was a fantastic trip of much learning and discovery!   Enjoy!

Birding along the Volga River in Russia

Tufted Duck - male in Lake Onega; Petrozavodsk 

Lesser Black-backed Gull - Neva River; Saint Petersburg

Northern Wheatear - Svir River; Svirstroy

White-tailed Eagle - Kovzha River; Goritsy
Eurasian Magpie -  Kizhi Island; Lake Onega

 Hooded Crow -  Svirstroy 
Black Kite -  Volga River; Uglich

Monday, May 7, 2012

Migrant Landbirds Field Trip

May 6, 2012

Enjoyed the beautiful spring weather while participating in Alvaro Jaramillo's Migrant Landbirds workshop with the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory.  This was a fabulous 3-day course with evening presentations on Bird Migration in the Bay Area, followed by a full-day field trip looking for migrants passing through our area heading north.  Finding (and photographing) these migrants is usually quite challenging... and the group succeeded in observing several warbler and flycatcher species. 

We birded trails within the Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve & Sam McDonald County Park, with a final stop at the Wurr Road bridge to take a chance to observe American Dipper.   That last stop offered a quick success and the easiest bird of the day... the dipper was waiting for us on the rocks just below the edge of the bridge as we walked up! 

The usual habitat for many of these migrants are in wooded areas... with target birds often high in the trees hidden by many branches and poor sunlight.  It was a real challenge and I was fortunate and thrilled to capture a few species during the trip!   Enjoy!

Lazuli Bunting - pretty posing for his photo!

Black-throated Gray Warbler- high in the trees

 Golden-crowned Kinglet - a real challenge to photograph!

MacGillivray's Warbler - finally came out for a few seconds!

 Pacific-slope Flycatcher - small flycatcher likes shaded forests

Pygmy Nuthatch - found a the nest hole

 American Dipper - at the right place at the right time

Sunday, April 8, 2012

California Photography on Easter Sunday

Enjoyed a sunny Easter Sunday out and about the San Francisco Bay Area. 

The spring wildflowers are blooming in many of the fields... and to celebrate...  here is the California State Flower... and of course... the California State Bird!

California State Flower - CALIFORNIA POPPY

California State Bird - CALIFORNIA QUAIL 

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Gilroy Hot Springs Road Birding

We braved the morning rain and joined the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society birding field trip to Gilroy Hot Springs Road.  Only 7 hearty birders went on the trip and the rains held off until about 10am.  Highlights included several WOOD DUCKS and a few COMMON MERGANSERS.   Before the rains came, I was fortunate to capture this nice HOUSE WREN photo... a species I didn't have very many photos of!


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Morro Bay Birding

Recently returned from Morro Bay, California and a weekend photography/birding trip.  The drive down via California Hwy 1 along the Pacific coast is so beautiful and dramatic in the springtime when the sun is shining and the grass is green.   Enjoy!

Pacific Coast along Hwy 1 near Big Sur, California

Brown Pelican - Stunning & Scary
Belted Kingfisher - female
Pied-billed Grebe
More photos posted on my web site at

Monday, March 5, 2012

Caribbean Birding Cruise

February 2012

Enjoyed 14-days cruising & birding in the Eastern then Western Caribbean... with perfect weather and sunshine and crystal-clear blue waters. Key locations included Nassau, Bahamas and Ocho Rios, Jamaica, where in each port we had prior arranged to meet a local birding guide at the pier. The birding was fantastic and the guides have become friends. Highly recommended!

Bahama Woodstar - endemic hummingbird only found in the Bahamas

Yellow-billed Parrot - Jamaica
Red-billed Streamertail Hummingbird - endemic to Jamaica

Great Stirrup Cay - Bahamas

The full SLIDESHOW of our Caribbean birding cruise is posted online at

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Falcated Duck - Colusa National Wildlife Refuge

A new LIFE bird today!

I was on the road at 5am today and made the 410-mile round-trip drive to observe the mega-rare (for USA) FALCATED DUCK which has been visiting Colusa National Wildlife Refuge (north of Sacramento, California) for the past few weeks... and fortunately it was still there this morning!

This duck has been the hot topic on the birding newsfeeds and is attracting birders from all over the country to observe it. It was awesome to see and photograph this bird today!


The Falcated Duck is normally found in eastern Russia... but this beautiful breeding male has somehow migrated south with a flock of American Wigeon to central California for the winter.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Lawrence's Goldfinches & Western Bluebird Photography

Beautiful and sunny spring-like day (70 degrees F) while photographing WESTERN BLUEBIRD and LAWRENCE'S GOLDFINCH along La Gloria Road near Pinnacles National Monument in San Benito County, California. — at Pinnacles National Monument.

Lawrence's Goldfinch - male

Lawrence's Goldfinch - male

Western Bluebird - male

White-breasted Nuthatch - midair jump