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Crested Caracara in Ballona Wetlands

A bit behind on blog updates but a Crested Caracara made a brief appearance in the Ballona Wetlands on January 13th. It only stuck around for a day…actually more like half a day. I was able to get some photos of it before a Red-tailed dive bombed it. It circled around the area few times going higher and higher, riding the afternoon thermal updrafts only to never be seen again!



Crested Caracara
Crested Caracara

 

Posted by on February 3, 2012 in Photography Adventures

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A Booby in Orange County!

Word spread quickly that a MASKED BOOBY was found on the Dana Point breakwater in Orange County. In true rarity chasing fashion, I loaded my gear in the car and we were on our way. Normally it would be a 1 hour drive but an accident on the 405 made it more like a 2 hour drive. Rain and a waning sun in the horizon didn’t keep my hopes high for a decent photo. That combined with the fact the bird was being observed on a jetty 200 yards from shore…

Upon arriving, we bumped into Steve and Becky Turley and Jim Pike who were looking for the bird in their scopes. Being a photographer, I never carry a scope. If I can’t get decent photos with a 500mm lens then I’d rather not have any at all! I researched a few boat rental places before I left so I headed over to Embarcadero Marina to see if I could rent a small skiff at the rate of $50/hr. I figured that was well worth the investment to get close enough to the bird. Much to my chagrin, the boat rentals were closed due to a red flag advisory for small craft. I begged them but their insurance policy wouldn’t allow it.

So…being in a boat marina, I figured I’d ask the locals if they’d take me out to the bird for $50. I was in luck. I found Georgie and John Moore from Fallbrook that had a small dingy attached to their yacht. They were more than happy to take us close to the bird and refused any payment! It’s truly rewarding when you encounter such gracious people like that in this world.

Oh, and yes. I did get some amazing photos of the Booby.

Masked Booby
Masked Booby

There are only 15 or so previous records of Masked Boobies in California. This sub-adult bird was a bit far from his normal breeding range in the central and western Pacific, around Australia, as well as off Mexico and on Clipperton Island.

 

Posted by on December 17, 2011 in Photography Adventures

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Coronado Islands, Mexico

It was another long day yesterday. I woke up at 3:30AM to drive down to San Diego to catch the “Grande” fishing/birding pelagic boat out to the Coronado Islands in Mexican waters. The weather was magnificent as we all enjoyed a beautiful sunrise just before the boat departed at 7AM. The sea wasn’t as gracious. Just as we left the safety of the harbor the waters began getting a little choppy. Within the first hour, I observed a few people graciously donating their breakfasts to the birds at the rear of the boat. Fortunately I’m never one to get sick – I suppose it’s the fact I always take a dramamine and make sure I have plenty of food and water in my stomach throughout the day. They also say you should also get a good nights sleep and don’t drink alcohol the night before. But that’s never stopped me!

Coronado Islads
Coronado Islands

As we were leaving the harbor we were greeted with Black-vented, Sooty and Pink-footed Shearwaters later joined by several Northern Fulmars. We were surpised at not seeing any Alcids (Rhino, Cassin’s Auklet, Xantus’ Murrelet, etc.) But by mid-day we encountered at least a half dozen Xantus’ Murrelets and several Rhinoceros Auklets. Along the lines of mammals, we had a few Gray Whales, a Fin Whale heading south, lots of Common, Risso’s and Bottlenose Dolphins and many California Sea Lions.

Coronado Islads
Coronado Islands

At the Coronado Islands themselves we found 20+ Brown Boobies, many of them nesting already. There was also a Peregrine Falcon pair entertaining us with their aerial acrobatics and high speed nose dives. All the other common stuff included Black Oystercatchers (many Am./Black hybrids), Brandt’s, Pelagic and Double-crested Cormorants, lots of Brown Pelicans and many Western and California Gulls.

Pink-footed Shearwater
Pink-footed Shearwater

Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine Falcon

Northern Fulmar
Northern Fulmar

Rhinoceros Auklet
Rhinoceros Auklet

Black-legged Kittiwake
Black-legged Kittiwake

Xantus's Murrelet
Xantus’s Murrelet

Brown Booby
Brown Booby

Sooty Shearwater
Sooty Shearwater

Coronado Islads
Searching the rocks for Boobies @ Coronado Islands

Guy Mccaskie
Guy McCaskie


GPS Track
GPS Track plotted by Google Earth

 

Posted by on April 5, 2009 in Photography Adventures

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Arizona and New Mexico

Flying into Tucson tonight and driving to Deming, NM. Objective is to find the Aplomado Falcon here:

map

After that heading to Slaughter Ranch east of Douglas, AZ for the Blue Mockingbird.

map

Will be along the Mexican border the entire time, hope things are safe down there still!! Going to be an exhausting weekend – flying home early Monday morning so will post updates to my website then.

 

Posted by on March 13, 2009 in Photography Adventures

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Yucatán, Mexico Image Gallery

I put together a gallery of some of my favourite photos I took whilst in the Yucatán. You can click the Turquoise-browed Motmot below to be taken to the image gallery:

Turquoise-browed Motmot
Turquoise-browed Motmot

 

Posted by on October 29, 2008 in Photography Adventures

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