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Tag Archives: red-tailed hawk

Figueroa Mountains

Figueroa Lookout

It was a beautiful afternoon in Santa Barbara County sunday afternoon so we decided to take a drive to the top of Figueroa Mountain – just 15 miles north of the town of Los Olivos. Many Coulter Pines adorned the hillsides along the way up and we were greeted by circling Tree Swallows as we reached the 4,500′ crest along with spectacular views of the entire Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Barbara in the distance.

Los Padres National Forest

Tunnel Rd.

We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring some of the other Canyons including the adjacent Foxen Canyon where I spotted a very light/juvenile Red-tailed Hawk.

Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk

On the way out of Santa Ynez Valley we took a drive down San Marcos Canyon Road where we encountered over 30+ Yellow-billed Magpies! I don’t recall ever seeing that many in ONE SPOT. We initially only spotted 5 or 6 feeding alongside grazing cattle but that quickly increased as additional flocks flew into to join the others. I wasn’t able to get an exact count but there very well could have been over 50 in the general area.

Yellow-billed Magpie
Yellow-billed Magpie

Yellow-billed Magpie
Yellow-billed Magpie

 

Posted by on July 14, 2009 in Photography Adventures

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Weekend Photos from Antelope Valley

On Sunday I headed up to the Antelope Valley to look for Le Conte’s Thrasher and Sage Thrasher with some friends. Upon arriving at the Le Conte’s Thrasher location I spotted a Prairie Falcon perched on a Joshua Tree:


Prairie Falcon
Prairie Falcon

We scoured the washes and bushes for thrashers but yielded nothing. We did find a nice adult Yucca Night-Lizard under a piece of wood:


Yucca Night-Lizard
Yucca Night-Lizard

Joshua Trees in Palmdale
Joshua Trees in Palmdale

Not finding any Thrashers we headed over to Piute Ponds to continue our search and to also try and find the 3rd year Lesser Black-backed Gull and 1st year Glaucous Gull that found there earlier in the week. We met up with Stan Gray who had been there all morning without finding the Gulls. By now the wind was starting to pick up so our hopes of finding any Thrashers were quickly diminishing. The recent rains also made it a bit tricky to navigate the unmaintained dirt roads around the ponds. While we were trying to determine the best way to avoid getting stuck in one of the many ditches a beautiful adult Red-tailed Hawk made a few passes over us.


Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk

We never did find any Thrashers on Sunday but we decided to take a more “scenic” route home through the snow-capped San Gabriel Mountains. A bit of a longer route home but well worth the scenery.


San Gabriel Mountains
San Gabriel Mountains

Moonrise over the San Gabriels
Moonrise over the San Gabriels

This morning I decided to look for the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker at Lindberg Park in Culver City again. The second time did the trick.


Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

 

Posted by on March 9, 2009 in Photography Adventures

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Sonoma County

We spent President’s Day weekend in Napa and Sonoma Counties. The weather was absolutely gorgeous with sunny skies and unseasonably warm temperatures. Although I didn’t find any Barrow’s Goldeneye or the Northern Shrike hanging around in Marin County, I did photograph a nice Red-shouldered Hawk and a Rufous morph Red-tailed.

Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk (Rufous)
Red-tailed Hawk (Rufous)

California Towhee
California Towhee

 

Posted by on January 20, 2009 in Photography Adventures

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Ferruginous Hawk, Playa del Rey

Robert “Roy” van de Hoek, from the Ballona Institute, called me yesterday afternoon to tell me that he had the Ferruginous Hawk [that’s wintering for the second time at Ballona] within close proximity. I rushed over to the Playa del Rey bluffs and just as I pulled up I saw the Ferruginous Hawk fly off to an even more distant power pole. After 20 minutes it flew off again toward the ocean where I lost sight of it. I decided to drive down a little bit closer to the beach to see I could relocate him. As I was pulling my camera and tripod out of the car it flew up and over my head, circling back and forth. Since I didn’t have time to get my tripod legs extended I just dropped to the ground, laying on my back shooting up at it. Without any time for preparation, I got some surprisingly good shots too. Again it flew off over the ocean and out of view.

Ferruginous Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk

As I was waiting for him to return a striking adult Peregrine Falcon flew within 100 yards. There was also a Red-tailed Hawk and a couple American Kestrels in the area that would occasionally harass the Ferruginous Hawk each time it would land on a power pole.

Ferruginous Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk

Ferruginous Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk (w/Kestrel diving)

Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine Falcon

American Kestrel
American Kestrel

Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk

 

Posted by on December 9, 2008 in Photography Adventures

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