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Lake Tahoe

Just returned from a relaxing trip to Lake Tahoe. I hadn’t been there since I was a kid but it was just as magnificent as I remembered. The first day in Tahoe I hiked up to Page Meadows. I’m really not sure if it is supposed to be spelled Page or Paige – half the signs, books and maps spell it Page and the other half spell it Paige… Who knows. But it was a beautiful hike nonetheless.

Page Meadows, Lake Tahoe

Page Meadows, Lake Tahoe

Page Meadows, Lake Tahoe

Page Meadows, Lake Tahoe

I was immediately greeted by many Western Tanagers, Western Wood-Pewees, Hairy Woodpeckers and many beautiful wildflowers.

Western Tanager

Western Tanager

Western Wood-Pewee

Western Wood-Pewee

Snowplant (Sarcodes sanguinea)

Snowplant (Sarcodes sanguinea)

I also checked out Tahoe Meadows and hiked the loop trail up to Mt. Rose Campground and back to the Tahoe Rim Trail. There were many nesting Wilson’s Warblers, Fox Sparrows, Lincoln’s Sparrows and Clark’s Nutcrackers calling in the distance – although none ever came near enough to photograph.

Wilson's Warbler

Wilson’s Warbler

 

Posted by on June 21, 2016 in Photography Adventures

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Tufted Flycatcher

Tufted Flycatcher

Probably one of the more difficult birds I have photographed. This pair of Tufted Flycatchers are nesting in Upper Ramsey Canyon – which means it is a 2.5 mile hike uphill from the Ramsey Canyon Visitor center, or a milder 3.5 mile hike from Carr Canyon. I chose to hit it head-on and hike up Ramsey Canyon.

Tufted Flycatcher location

Now I am in pretty good shape, but carrying my camera gear, 2 liters of water, rain gear and food makes it a bit more challenging. Additionally, the location of the birds was around 6,500′ elevation and my body is accustomed to sea level. Temperatures were also around 85F, even at that elevation!

But I made it, and I got great photos and video of both the male and female Flycatcher on the nest!

Tufted Flycatcher

Ramsey Canyon

A much needed break along the creek. This was around 6,000′. Some other critters came out to play and a close-up of Alligator Juniper bark.

Caterpillar

Alligator Juniper

 

Posted by on June 11, 2016 in Photography Adventures

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Slate-throated Redstart

Slate-throated Redstart

After seeing the Pine Flyatcher in the Santa Rita Mountains, we zipped on over to Pinery Canyon in the Chiricahuas for the Slate-throated Redstart that has been nesting there for the past month. We drove right up to it being observed by friends Mark and Lori Conrad. However, it quickly worked its way up the canyon and out of view. While we were waiting for the bird to come back down the canyon it started thunderstorming pretty bad. I ended up getting soaking wet…but was well worth the discomfort as the Redstart popped back out of it’s nest when the rain started to subside and I was able to get excellent shots!

Birders watching the Slate-throated Redstart

 

Posted by on June 10, 2016 in Photography Adventures

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Pine Flycatcher

Wow, it has been ages since I’ve made a post on my blog. So what better to update it with than a potential 1st US record of Pine Flycatcher!! This bird is normally found in Mexico and Guatemala and has never been recorded or documented in the US before.

Pine Flycatcher

The bird was first found by Dave Stejskal near Aliso Spring (in Sawmill Canyon) of the Santa Rita Mountains in SE Arizona. I made the trek out their this past weekend and came back with great photos and video of the (female) bird nest building.

Pine Flycatcher Location

The road to the bird is not for the faint of heart either. A high-clearance 4×4 vehicle is an absolute necessity. I was able to procure one from Dollar Rental Car in Tucson for $55/day. Although I specifically reserved a 4×4, they initially gave me a non-4×4 version of a Jeep Compass. I went back in and asked very politely if I could get the 4×4 version right next to it in the parking lot. They hemmed and hawed a bit but finally gave in. It even had GPS nav and XM radio – which i didn’t have to pay any extra for!

Jeep Compass 4x4

It was a pretty birdy spot and I took the opportunity to photograph other birds coming down to the water drip. Of particular interest was a nesting Black-chinned Hummingbird and the “Brown-throated” race of House Wren.


House Wren
House Wren

Black-chinned Hummingbird
Black-chinned Hummingbird

Some other photos of the surrounding area, including a Fungus Beetle that came out to play.

Aliso Spring, Sawmill Canyon

Aliso Spring, Sawmill Canyon

Fungus Beetle

 

Posted by on June 10, 2016 in Photography Adventures

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Santa Barbara CBC

So I decided to participate in the Santa Barbara Christmas Bird Count this year. Normally being out of town during this time of year, I thought it would be fun to drive up to Santa Barbara and participate with some friends. We started the day off with a Western Screech Owl just before sunrise in the foothills about Santa Barbara. I also got some great opportunities to work on photos of chaparral species like Wrentits, California Thrashers and some nice shots of a well displaying Anna’s Hummingbird.

Western Screech-Owl
Western Screech-Owl

Anna's Hummingbird
Anna’s Hummingbird

Anna's Hummingbird
Anna’s Hummingbird

Wrentit
Wrentit

Hutton's Vireo
Hutton’s Vireo

California Thrasher
California Thrasher

 

Posted by on January 5, 2013 in Photography Adventures

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