Very hard for me to chill and I definitely miss the coffee. Alcohol I can do without, I have a bunch of holes to dig for new plants when I am able and I can't wait to get on that.
My mailbox is full and will probably stay that way for a while. Can't deal. Sorry.
Haven't been answering too many phone calls, been reading a good book, Remarque's All quiet on the western front, one of the greatest tales about the nasty life of a soldier ever written.
Not sure if I am still in rhythm, will find out on friday.
Heard that my old friend and ethnographic art expert Jim Caswell dropped dead in his shop in Santa Monica last week. Great guy Jim, fair and honest. Nice man. Live it like it's your last day, people, because you never know.
I took a few bird pictures this weekend, nothing too great, honestly been struggling with the settings and iso.
There is a general rule of thumb in photography that the shutter speed should be at least the inverse of the focal length. So if I am using a 500mm lens which is actually about a 650mm on a cropped sensor like the D7200 I need to be shooting at around 1/1000th of a second. In order to get the shutter speed up while shooting aperture priority, you have to boost the iso and high iso equals noise. Lately my pictures have been noisier than I would like.
But as I always say, a lousy shot that says something is better than nothing, or a perfectly focussed shot that says nothing. So I snap away. Hope to keep learning and getting better.
|Red shouldered hawk|
My birder friend Beth did a bird survey with the dean of birding in this area the other day, Ken Weaver.
I saw their cars down at the mailboxes on my way to the hospital.
She sent me the list of their survey, which goes back to Cornell, I think. I think it is okay to post it here.
Here is the list from our river survey yesterday. We also confirmed breeding for 13 species. Thanks for sharing your birding knowledge and keen eyesight! Ken
On Sunday, June 21, 2015 12:56 PM, "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com> wrote:
Santa Margarita River Trail, San Diego, California, US
Jun 19, 2015 6:40 AM - 11:25 AM
Comments: Area covered: River trail located near intersection of Willow Glen and South Stagecoach roads west along river to Sandia Creek Road. Additional observers: Susie Martin, Beth Cobb.48 species
California Quail 2
Red-shouldered Hawk 7
Red-tailed Hawk 6
Common Ground-Dove 2
Mourning Dove 12
Black-chinned Hummingbird 11 Numbers, if anything, are low for this area. A key habitat, live oak-sycamore woodland near water is abundant in this area.
Anna's Hummingbird 10
Costa's Hummingbird 1
Acorn Woodpecker 25
Nuttall's Woodpecker 9
Downy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker (Red-shafted) 4
Western Wood-Pewee 6
Pacific-slope Flycatcher 10
Black Phoebe 10
Ash-throated Flycatcher 7
Bell's Vireo (Least) 12
Hutton's Vireo 7
Western Scrub-Jay 7
American Crow 1
Common Raven 1
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 17
Cliff Swallow 1
Oak Titmouse 8
White-breasted Nuthatch 5
House Wren 6
Bewick's Wren 7
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 20 High numbers for this area.
California Thrasher 9
Northern Mockingbird 1
Orange-crowned Warbler 8
Common Yellowthroat 33
Yellow Warbler 19
Yellow-breasted Chat 20 This bird's key habitat, willow woodland-willow scrub is abundant along the Santa Margarita River.
Spotted Towhee 32
Rufous-crowned Sparrow 2
California Towhee 16
Song Sparrow 10 Inexplicably low numbers for this usually abundant species.
Black-headed Grosbeak 17
Blue Grosbeak 2
Brown-headed Cowbird 11
Bullock's Oriole 3
House Finch 20
Lesser Goldfinch 50
This is a good list for me to have but I am struck by the birds that they didn't see that I see all the time. Like the hooded oriole I shot on Saturday.
|red winged blackbird|
She got thrown from her horse the other day, landed on her feet, but pulled something in her hamstring and is hobbling around, like I am at present. She was stoked to see a blue grosbeak with Ken and also some blue gray gnatcatchers.
I love grosbeaks and jumped at the chance to accompany her on the trail today to try and find the blue one once again. We met at the mailboxes at seven and walked down to the river.
The thing that is amazing about birders and I repeat I am not a birder, is that they have the bird calls and the particular behavior of the birds down so well. We saw all manner of birds today, chats and yellowthroats, phainopeplas and towhees, Beth knew the identity and call for all of them. It is very impressive.
|Yellow breasted chat|
Saw a small raptor up high in a dead tree, probably a kestrel.
The other day I encountered a raptor I have never seen before on a wire in my yard. The camera was in the van beneath him so I couldn't get a shot. A large thin, elegant bird, almost looked like a peregrine falcon. Goshawk look.
My movement startled him and underneath him there was a flurry. He had been stalking a bevy of quail and my movements allowed them to scurry off. Wish I knew what it was.
|lbb on reed|
Anyway we hung out down on the river and did see some grosbeaks but not the blue although I think we did hear them.
|black headed grosbeak|
It is always a pleasure to learn from someone whose knowledge so far exceeds your own. I look forward to my next trip. Thanks so much, Beth!
Although this year's hawk season appears to have finally come to a close, it has been a pretty special year for me in terms of bird photography.
This was a fun year for the offspring, the hawk snake stuff was so fantastic to capture. I love the new camera and most everything has been working smoothly. Nailed some great shots with Ken at Lindo and Santee.
But it will only get better when I get the 150 -600mm lens, which I just have to get. That last bit of reach will make all the difference. Then you will see some stuff.