Tricolored Heron in the waves of the Gulf

Tricolored Heron in the wavesTricolored Heron in the waves – Nikon D200, handheld, f7.1, 1/640, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 250mm, natural light

Just a simple Tricolored Heron image this morning that I created at Fort De Soto County Park in March of 2009. It was a great day for wading birds and I went home with quite a few images of this Tricolored Heron and a Reddish Egret that I was very happy with. Both birds completely ignored me as I laid flat on my belly in the sand and water because they were more interested in foraging for prey.

Life is good.


Autumn colors and a resting Clark’s Grebe

Resting Clark's GrebeResting Clark’s Grebe – Nikon D810, f8, 1/100, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Autumn colors have begun to appear and they are delightful when reflected on the water with a nearly black and white subject like this resting Clark’s Grebe. Typically I would prefer an image like this more if the bill of the grebe were visible but I do like the relaxed pose and the clear view of the cherry-red eye.

It won’t be all that long before these Clark’s Grebes and their cousins the Western Grebes take flight and head to warmer climes for the winter but there are still a few weeks left for me to enjoy and photograph them.


Red-winged Blackbird and a Midge

Red-winged Blackbird and a MidgeRed-winged Blackbird and a Midge – Nikon D810, f9, 1/1000, ISO 400, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited or set up

This male Red-winged Blackbird was photographed yesterday at Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area. There are tons of Red-winged Blackbirds in the area right now but this was the only one that allowed a close enough approach where I could photograph it, the rest were very skittish. I was tickled to see the flying midge in the image because I hadn’t noticed it when I was taking the photos.

I am a little frustrated this morning because my computer automatically updated to Windows 8.1 and it took almost an hour and a half just to be able to work on a post so I am keeping this short. I suppose the next time I boot up my lap top I am going to have to go through the whole process again with it. Grumble.

Even when I am frustrated life is good. Sorta.


Greater Sage-Grouse among the Lupine

Greater Sage-Grouse among the LupineGreater Sage-Grouse among the Lupine

“Hope” is the thing with feathers – Emily Dickinson

If hope is the thing with feathers then I want to heap as much hope as I can find into the future of Greater Sage-Grouse. I’d like to believe that Sage Grouse will still exist in 2050 and steps are being taken to protect these large upland game birds but will it be enough?

Ranchers have begun to take steps that not only help grouse but studies have shown that the cattle benefit from their conservation measures too.  Seems like it would make sense if more ranchers took up the cause.



Gunlock State Park, a few birds and Mojave Joshua Trees

Sunset view of Gunlock State ParkSunset view of Gunlock State Park

I’m back from my trip to southwestern Utah earlier than I hoped to be but there were not that many birds to photograph this time of the year and despite coming home early I still had a wonderful time exploring an area of Utah that was new to me. It started at Gunlock State Park; which I have been to before, but the lower altitude of the Mojave means hotter temps and that can be uncomfortable for camping. The reservoir at Gunlock State Park is much lower than it was in 2010, they really need water there.

The setting sun on the clouds over Gunlock State Park IThe setting sun on the clouds over Gunlock State Park I

The sunset made for spectacular colors on the clouds overhead. At first this clouds was kissed with gold.

The setting sun on the clouds over Gunlock State Park IIThe setting sun on the clouds over Gunlock State Park II

Then pink hues and just a touch of gold.

The setting sun on the clouds over Gunlock State Park IIIThe setting sun on the clouds over Gunlock State Park III

Then deeper violets and blues  just before it got dark. It was warm but the little bit of a breeze made it quite comfortable.

The morning sun on Joshua TreesThe morning sun on Joshua Trees

The next morning found me in an area I have never been to before, Beaver Dam Wash Conservation Area and the Mojave Desert where Joshua Trees are the tallest trees around. Joshua Trees are in the Yucca family and their bayonet shaped leaves look as sharp as any Yucca I have ever seen.

Joshua Tree on a hillJoshua Tree on a hill

Joshua Trees were given their name by the Mormon settlers but long before they arrived the Cahuilla Native Americans used the leaves to makes sandals and baskets and harvested the seeds and flower buds and still identify with this plant as a valuable resource and call it “hunuvat chiy’a” or “humwichawa” and if I can learn to pronounce those words it would be my preference to use what they were called before the pioneers arrived.

Male House Finch on a Joshua TreeMale House Finch on a Joshua Tree

The birds in the Mojave were few but I can see why spring would be a better season to visit for more bird activity plus I would love to see the desert in bloom. I saw so many different kinds of cactus under the Joshua Trees and I could visualize what it must look like. The birds I saw the most of were House Finches and that took me a little by surprise because I have grown to think of them as urban birds and I was glad to be proved “wrong”.

Adult Red-tailed Hawk perched on a Joshua TreeAdult Red-tailed Hawk perched on a Joshua Tree

I did see two Red-tailed Hawks on the way to Lytle Ranch one of them was close enough to even take images of as it perched high on a dead Joshua Tree. When I first saw the hawk I thought its tail looked a bit odd then I realized that it was the dead leaves of the tree not its tail. The bird stayed put for a long time and didn’t flinch even when a cattle truck rumbled by…

Red-tailed Hawk lifting off from a Joshua TreeRed-tailed Hawk lifting off from a Joshua Tree

And just when I was about to put my camera down without even a warning poop it lifted off.

I enjoyed my journey to Beaver Dam Wash and the Mojave Desert even though I didn’t see the birds I hoped to photograph, every journey is an adventure. To be savored. To be relished.

Life is good.