Thursday, March 8, 2018

Wednesday scamper

Northern Harrier

Last week I was talking to a friendly ranger at Lake Wohlford in Escondido. He suggested that I stop back by yesterday, the day that the fresh fish gets stocked in the lake. He said that raptors would oftentimes follow the stocking truck overland from Dixon Lake to Lake Wohlford, in hopes of getting a fat, tasty meal.

Sounded fun and I made preparations. I decided to rent a bass boat and my friend Tom agreed to come along and pilot it while I snapped pictures. It was a gray day but also not too hot. Soon after we got out on the water the fish tanker showed up. We watched as the man first netted fish from the top porthole.

Afterwards he affixed the pipe to the side which would quickly drain the tank of teeming trout.

The birds didn't rush in for the tasty booty but the fishermen sure did, quickly heading over in their boats.

We watched the fish jumping around in the water in their newfound freedom and quickly headed for the less crowded shoreline.

Hang out with my more chill raptor friends.

It was a fine day on the lake. I saw all manner of ducks, raptors and shorebirds.

I thought that I had brought my light and nimble Sigma 150-600mm C but unfortunately brought another smaller, unusable lens instead.

Western Grebe

Rangers George and Greg

Because of this I shot the nikkor 400mm 2.8 E fl all day off the D850, about a third of the time on my tripod. Would have to go with phenomenal optics and heavy over convenience.

red tailed hawk on oak branch

This presented a problem because invariably the bird would land behind me and I just couldn't swing far enough to get the shot, let alone motor the boat around.

So I ended up handholding the heavy rig for close to four hours, like chest pressing a small anvil. Very tiring!

My back and trap muscles are killing me today.

My eponymous bird

Will let the pictures speak.

My first shot ever of a beautiful green heron!

Black crowned night heron

Going to a place like Wohlford, or Cuyamaca or any of the remaining pristine backcountry oak riparian habitats is soul enriching to me.

But they are of course always under attack.

Lilac Hills has reared its ugly head again and there is a new development being talked about right next to Lake Wohlford.

One only has to look around Temecula or Carmel Valley to know that once it is gone, it is gone forever.

This osprey got a meal but had to tell off a raven first!

New camera combination worked perfectly all day.

Hope to come back and try it again.

I missed this next shot. Oof. Perhaps some serious birder will tell me what it is if they can discern?

Ken Weaver and another anonymous person
tell me that it is in fact a sora rail. Thanks!
A life bird.


Helen Killeen Bauch McHargue said...

Sounds like a great day. I've used up
all the superlatives I have in my vocabulary on your photos.
Fabuloso! Magnifique!

Anonymous said...

Out of focus bird is a Sora rail

Max Hall said...

Wonderful Robert! As always, thanks for sharing.

Blue Heron said...

thank you, anonymous birder friend.