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Yellow-footed Gulls, Salton Sea and Earthquakes

Osprey
Osprey

Whilst photographing this Osprey, a 3.8 earthquake in Brawley hit. I first thought someone had rear-ended my car. Checked my mirror, nope wasn’t that. Maybe a gust of wind? Looked at nearby trees, just a slight breeze. Finally concluded it must have been an earthquake. I shrugged it off and went back to photographing the Osprey…nevermind, he took off flying. Guess they aren’t ones for earthquakes either!

On the way home my wife called to tell me that everyone was talking about all the earthquakes in Brawley! I checked on my earthquake app and realized there was an earthquake swarm happening the entire day I was there. I only felt the 3.8 earthquake and must have been driving when the others struck. There were over 300+ earthquakes that day ranging from 5.5, 5.3, 5.0, 4.8 and below.

Burrowing Owl
Burrowing Owl

One of the many joys of visiting the Salton Sea, are the over abundance of Burrowing Owls…everywhere! Lots of juvenile birds this time of year as well.

I finally achieved my gull of photographing different cycle/year Yellow-footed Gulls. Each summer I visit the sea in hopes of getting better 1st, 2nd and 3rd cycle birds but usually only find close adult birds. Today I managed to get very close to a 1st cycle and 3rd cycle Yellow-footed Gull, along with the ubiquitous adult birds all around the southern end of the Salton Sea.

Yellow-footed Gull
Yellow-footed Gull

Yellow-footed Gull (3rd cycle)
Yellow-footed Gull (2nd cycle)

Yellow-footed Gull (1st cycle)
Yellow-footed Gull (1st cycle)

 

Posted by on August 26, 2012 in Photography Adventures

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San Joaquin Marsh, Ballona Creek

Did some birding in Orange County and Ballona Creek with visiting birders, Paul Dodd and Ruth Woodrow from Melbourne, Australia. Uber cute Clark’s Grebe with chick on back at San Joaquin Marsh. We later ticked 3 California Gnatchers at Newport Back Bay. Reddish Egret and many other specialties at Bolsa Chica.

Clark's Grebe
Clark’s Grebe

We concluded the day at Ballona Creek to finish off some missed species – Black Oystercatcher, Brandt’s Comorant and Pelagic Cormorant. A super nice treat were TEN (10) Wilson’s Phalaropes on the Ballona Salt Panne! A couple females were still showing a lot of alternate plumage color.

Wilson's Phalarope
Wilson’s Phalarope

Recently fledged Barn Swallows were perched nearby begging for food from their parents.

Barn Swallow
Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow
Barn Swallow

 

Posted by on July 15, 2012 in Photography Adventures

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Barrow, Alaska – Top of the World

And our Alaska trip is concluded with Barrow. Target species? Spectacled Eider, King Eider and Steller’s Eider of course!!

Spectacled Eider
Spectacled Eider

King Eider
King Eider

Steller's Eider
Steller’s Eider

Of course, this also the best place in the world to photograph breeding plumage Red Phalaropes.

Red Phalarope
Red Phalarope

What would a trip to Barrow be without Snowy Owls?

Barrow, Alaska
Barrow, Alaska

Snowy Owl
Snowy Owl

Crippling adult Glaucous Gulls! Snow Buntings! Dunlin! Long-billed Dowitcher!

Glaucous Gull
Glaucous Gull

Snow Bunting
Snow Bunting

Dunlin
Dunlin

Long-billed Dowitcher
Long-billed Dowitcher

Tundra Swan
Tundra Swan

Sanderling
Sanderling

Pectoral Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper

Sara on the edge of the Arctic ice shelf. Yep, still completely frozen in June!

Sara in Barrow
Sara in Barrow

 

Posted by on June 8, 2012 in Photography Adventures

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Nome, Alaska – Kougarok Road

Pretty much only one target species. Bristle-thighed Curlew. 75 miles from Nome, in the thick of Grizzly Bear country. Fortunately, 0 Bears and 2 Bristle-thighed Curlew.

Bristle-thighed Curlew
Bristle-thighed Curlew

Muskox, Caribou were quite abundant. Had a Red Fox being foxy as well.

Red Fox
Red Fox

Muskox
Muskox

A Long-tailed Jaeger and Rough-legged Hawk quarreling. Managed to capture shots of the Rough-legged Hawk flipping around mid-air while the Jaeger was diving and harassing him.

Rough-legged Hawk
Rough-legged Hawk

Can you spot the Willow Ptarmigan? How about our rental car? I took this with my iPhone…about 2 feet from the Ptarmigan!

Ptarmigan Car
Ptarmigan Car

Other Nome specialties, Northern Wheatear, Eastern Yellow Wagtail, gorgeous alt. plumaged Black-bellied Plovers and the rest of the usual suspects!

Northern Wheatear
Northern Wheatear

Black-bellied Plover
Black-bellied Plover

Eastern Yellow Wagtail
Eastern Yellow Wagtail

Long-tailed Jaeger
Long-tailed Jaeger

Long-tailed Duck
Long-tailed Duck

Rock Ptarmigan
Rock Ptarmigan

Common Snipe
Common Snipe

Common Redpoll
Common Redpoll

Western Sandpiper
Western Sandpiper

Pectoral Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper

 

Posted by on June 5, 2012 in Photography Adventures

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Nome, Alaska – Teller Road

Second day in Nome, woke up a bit late – around 10AM – but didn’t really matter with nearly 24 hours of daylight. Decided to head out Teller Road. Started off with some close up looks of Muskox. Other highlights included singing Bluethroat and quite a treat to see Northern Waterthrush at the tops of Willows, singing away!

Crippling photos of Red-throated Loons picking out ponds to build their nests on. Rock and Willow Ptarmigans, Parasitic, Pomarine and Long-tailed Jaegers all in the same field of view. Love Nome!!

Red-throated Loon
Red-throated Loon

Rock Ptarmigan
Rock Ptarmigan

Willow Ptarmigan
Willow Ptarmigan

Muskox
Muskox

Parasitic Jaeger
Parasitic Jaeger

Long-tailed Jaeger
Long-tailed Jaeger

Pacific Golden-Plover
Pacific Golden-Plover

Northern Waterthrush
Northern Waterthrush

Gray-cheeked Thrush
Gray-cheeked Thrush

Bluethroat
Bluethroat

Fox Sparrow
Fox Sparrow

 

Posted by on June 4, 2012 in Photography Adventures

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