kiwifoto.com http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog "Adventures of a wandering widlife photographer" Mon, 01 Jul 2013 22:52:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.6 Santa Barbara CBC http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/2013/01/05/santa-barbara-cbc/ http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/2013/01/05/santa-barbara-cbc/#comments Sun, 06 Jan 2013 07:02:22 +0000 ctaylor http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/?p=1006 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

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White Wagtail (M.a. ocularis) http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/2012/12/10/white-wagtail-m-a-ocularis/ http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/2012/12/10/white-wagtail-m-a-ocularis/#comments Tue, 11 Dec 2012 06:57:36 +0000 ctaylor http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/?p=1005 So keeping up with the theme of California rarities, a White Wagtail was found by Bernardo Alps at Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro by Bernardo Alps while we were in Sacramento. Another bird that should probably be somewhere in Japan at this time of year. In fact, I was photographing them two years ago around this exact same time at a park in Tokyo. I kept my fingers crossed the bird would stick around a few days for me to get home from Sacramento to go look for the bird and as you can see, that it did.

White Wagtail
White Wagtail

White Wagtail
White Wagtail

White Wagtail
White Wagtail

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Falcated Duck returns to Colusa NWR near Sacramento http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/2012/12/09/falcated-duck-returns-to-colusa-nwr-near-sacramento/ http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/2012/12/09/falcated-duck-returns-to-colusa-nwr-near-sacramento/#comments Mon, 10 Dec 2012 06:46:21 +0000 ctaylor http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/?p=1004 For a second winter in a row, the Falcated Duck showed up at Colusa NWR – presumably the same bird since what are the chances of a bird this rare showing up at the exact same location at almost the exact same time? This is a bird that should be in Japan or China at this time of year.

This one has somehow taken a liking to Colusa NWR 45 miles north of Sacramento. Since I didn’t get a chance to go after the bird last year (was in the UK), I decided to make a trek up there with some friends. Lucky for us, the bird showed up after 1 or 2 hours after sunrise at a brisk 30F and light winds.

Falcated Duck
Falcated Duck

Falcated Duck
Falcated Duck

Since this is the Central Valley during winter, it also provided great opportunities to photograph Tundra Swans, Greater White-fronted Geese and many other waterfowl that are quite ubiquitous at this time of year. Northern Shovelers, Northern Pintails, American Wigeon and other waterfowl by the thousands.

Greater White-fronted Goose
Greater White-fronted Goose

Tundra Swan
Tundra Swan

It is also a great place to photograph raptors and I couldn’t resist photographing a silhouette shot of a Great Horned Owl at sunset!

Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle

Northern Harrier
Northern Harrier

Great Horned Owl
Great Horned Owl

Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher

Loggerhead Shrike
Loggerhead Shrike

American Kestrel
American Kestrel

Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk

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Gray Hawk (juv) in Santa Barbara County! http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/2012/11/28/gray-hawk-juv-in-santa-barbara-county/ http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/2012/11/28/gray-hawk-juv-in-santa-barbara-county/#comments Thu, 29 Nov 2012 06:33:21 +0000 ctaylor http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/?p=1003 Just a day after we returned from New Mexico, a juvenile Gray Hawk was discovered by Eric Culbertson in Carpinteria, CA – not only a first Santa Barbara County record but first record ever in California. To give you an idea of how improbable this is, this is a bird that is normally found in South and Central America. It’s range barely extends into the extreme Southeastern corner of Arizona. I’ve photographed them many times in Patagonia, AZ – just 25 or so miles from the Mexico border. The even cooler part is the bird decided to stick around the entire winter!


Range map:

I decided to take my chances waiting for morning rush hour to end and rush up the 160 or so round-trip miles to Carpinteria to photograph the bird. Lucky for me, the bird was perched in a cypress tree right on the side of the highway as I drove up. I almost felt guilty spending 5 minutes photographing the bird (before it flew off) and then getting back in my car to drive home. Total time invested: 3 hours.

Gray Hawk
Gray Hawk

Gray Hawk
Gray Hawk

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Santa Fe, New Mexico http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/2012/11/25/santa-fe-new-mexico/ http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/2012/11/25/santa-fe-new-mexico/#comments Mon, 26 Nov 2012 06:24:07 +0000 ctaylor http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/?p=1002 So aside from Santa Fe being one of my favorite places in the country for a mini-vacation (especially around the holidays), it is also a very enjoyable place to photograph montane species of birds. One particular spot I like to spend time photographing at is the Randall Davey Audubon Center. The following photos were all taken there during our most recent trip:

Mountain Chickadee
Mountain Chickadee

Townsend's Solitaire
Townsend’s Solitaire

Curve-billed Thrasher
Curve-billed Thrasher

Spotted Towhee
Spotted Towhee

Wild Turkey
Wild Turkey

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Space Shuttle Endeavour – The Final Flight http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/2012/09/21/space-shuttle-endeavour-the-final-flight/ http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/2012/09/21/space-shuttle-endeavour-the-final-flight/#comments Fri, 21 Sep 2012 23:33:11 +0000 ctaylor http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/?p=997 Today, those of us in the Los Angeles and San Francisco area were treated a spectacular final display (or parade if you will) of the Space Shuttle Endeavour. It took off from Edwards AFB in Palmdale bound for the Bay Area where it toured around the Golden Gate Bridge and the Silicon Valley before heading back to Southern California.

Endeavour Space Shuttle
Endeavour Space Shuttle

It approached Los Angeles from Malibu, flying over the Getty Center, Santa Monica, Venice Beach heading east past the Hollywood sign, over Griffith Park and onward to NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena where it made a massive arcing turn and headed south toward Orange County. It did fly by’s over Disneyland, Boeing in Seal Beach, over Huntington Beach and back toward LA where it came to the end of its final flight at LAX.

Endeavour Space Shuttle
Endeavour Space Shuttle

It will soon be moved to the California Science Center in Downtown Los Angeles where it will be put on display (vertically) for everyone to enjoy.

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Yellow-footed Gulls, Salton Sea and Earthquakes http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/2012/08/26/yellow-footed-gulls-salton-sea-and-earthquakes/ http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/2012/08/26/yellow-footed-gulls-salton-sea-and-earthquakes/#comments Mon, 27 Aug 2012 03:45:54 +0000 ctaylor http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/?p=994
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)

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San Joaquin Marsh, Ballona Creek http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/2012/07/15/san-joaquin-marsh-ballona-creek/ http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/2012/07/15/san-joaquin-marsh-ballona-creek/#comments Sun, 15 Jul 2012 23:57:53 +0000 ctaylor http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/?p=989 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

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Barrow, Alaska – Top of the World http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/2012/06/08/barrow-alaska-top-of-the-world/ http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/2012/06/08/barrow-alaska-top-of-the-world/#comments Fri, 08 Jun 2012 23:42:11 +0000 ctaylor http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/?p=985 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

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Nome, Alaska – Kougarok Road http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/2012/06/05/nome-alaska-kougarok-road/ http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/2012/06/05/nome-alaska-kougarok-road/#comments Tue, 05 Jun 2012 23:35:38 +0000 ctaylor http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/?p=983 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

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Nome, Alaska – Teller Road http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/2012/06/04/nome-alaska-teller-road-2/ http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/2012/06/04/nome-alaska-teller-road-2/#comments Mon, 04 Jun 2012 23:31:54 +0000 ctaylor http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/?p=981 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

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Nome, Alaska – Council Road http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/2012/06/03/nome-alaska-teller-road/ http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/2012/06/03/nome-alaska-teller-road/#comments Sun, 03 Jun 2012 23:28:23 +0000 ctaylor http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/?p=979 First day in Nome, picked up the car and got situated in our hotel. 8 PM and still plenty of daylight!! Headed out Council Road, an 80 mile road that headed Southwest from Nome to the town of Council. Gorgeous lighting, here are some shots I got:

American Golden-Plover
American Golden-Plover

Common Redpoll
Common Redpoll

Red-necked Phalarope
Red-necked Phalarope

Boreal Chickadee
Boreal Chickadee

Arctic Ground Squirrel
Arctic Ground Squirrel

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Saint Paul, Pribilof Islands, Alaska – Day 3 http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/2012/06/02/saint-paul-pribilof-islands-alaska-day-3/ http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/2012/06/02/saint-paul-pribilof-islands-alaska-day-3/#comments Sat, 02 Jun 2012 23:25:07 +0000 ctaylor http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/?p=977 Auklets and Puffins galore! Sara caught me in action while I was hanging over one of the 100′ cliffs trying to get close enough to photograph all the Auklets and Puffins nesting on the rocky cliff ledges.

Me, on the edge
Me, on the edge

Red-faced Cormorant
Red-faced Cormorant

Horned Puffin
Horned Puffin

Tufted Puffin
Tufted Puffin

Crested Auklet
Crested Auklet

Least Auklet
Least Auklet

Parakeet Auklet
Parakeet Auklet

Thick-billed Murre
Thick-billed Murre

Northern Fulmar
Northern Fulmar

Red-legged Kittiwake
Red-legged Kittiwake

Black-legged Kittiwake
Black-legged Kittiwake

Tufted Puffin
Tufted Puffin

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Saint Paul, Pribilof Islands, Alaska – Day 2 http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/2012/06/01/saint-paul-pribilof-islands-alaska-day-2/ http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/2012/06/01/saint-paul-pribilof-islands-alaska-day-2/#comments Fri, 01 Jun 2012 23:17:18 +0000 ctaylor http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/?p=975 Spent the day driving around the perimeter of Saint Paul Island. Wasn’t hard, considering the island is only 6 miles by 12 miles in size. Highlights included a Wood Sandpiper I found at one of the lagoons that had managed to thaw out. A new ABA photo bird, since I’d previously only photographed them in Thailand.

Pribs Map
Pribs Map

There were a few Emperor Geese at various spots around the island, ubiquitous Lapland Longspurs, Rock Sandpipers and Red-necked Phalaropes just about everywhere you look. A couple Caribou managed to survive the winter without starving to death or being hunted by the natives.

Caribou
Caribou

Semipalmated Plover
Semipalmated Plover

Red Phalarope
Red Phalarope

Harlequin Duck
Harlequin Duck

Red-necked Phalarope
Red-necked Phalarope

Lapland Longspur
Lapland Longspur

Emperor Goose
Emperor Goose

Wood Sandpiper
Wood Sandpiper

Long-tailed Duck
Long-tailed Duck

We concluded the day by having fresh Halibut chowder with a native family. Chuck was the one that rented me several of his vehicles since the normal guy you go to for a vehicle had rented all of his out. Chuck was an extremely gracious host and had a super family.

Me with Chuck's Family
Me with Chuck’s Family

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Saint Paul, Pribilof Islands, Alaska – Day 1 http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/2012/05/31/saint-paul-pribilof-islands-alaska-day-1/ http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/2012/05/31/saint-paul-pribilof-islands-alaska-day-1/#comments Thu, 31 May 2012 22:56:36 +0000 ctaylor http://www.kiwifoto.com/blog/?p=973 A bit of a scare leaving Anchorage, when Peninsula Air notified us that they had to “bump 200 lbs of luggage” onto tomorrow’s flight so that they could take off. We had no clue if our luggage would arrive or not. Fortunately, it was all there when we landed in Saint Paul! There was also no security screening when leaving from Anchorage to Saint Paul. Gotta love flying around in Alaska!

Spent the first day getting our bearings together, figuring out our transportation situation and getting groceries. This small island of 350 native Aleuts only has one grocery store and no restaurants.

Pribs
Pribs

Did get some late afternoon photography in. Arctic Foxes were everywhere. Ticked off photos of the GIANT Pribilof Island subspecies of Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch, along with Rock Sandpiper and Pacific Wren.

Arctic Fox
Arctic Fox

Rock Sandpiper
Rock Sandpiper (pribilofs sp.)

Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch
Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch (pribilofs sp.)

Pacific Wren
Pacific Wren (pribilofs sp.)

Northern Fur Seal
Northern Fur Seal

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