Black crowned night heron © Robert Sommers 2023

Monday, January 11, 2016

For the birds

People often ask me if I soup up my photographs. Honestly at times I do play around with them, make them more graphic, all sorts of things. Truth be told there is no such thing as an "original" digital photograph when you are shooting RAW files as I do because certain things get sharpened and altered innately in the processor before I even get my hands on them.

But there are times when nature supplies it all and you don't have to do anything as in the shot of the Anna's hummingbird I took at Lena's yesterday. No vibrance, no saturation added and it looks chromatically impossible. Nature provides all the required pyrotechnic effects necessary.

Vermilion flycatcher

I played hookey today and went back to the San Jacinto Wildlife Area with Beth and PJ, two experienced birders.

Black necked stilt
Ruddy duck
Greater yellow legs

Birding with these two started at Davis road. Many of the identifications were made by sound and behavior. They were calling things into ebird and being professional, at a much slower pace than I am used to. What a help to learn from these two!

Avocet? Willet? I forget...


Loggerhead shrike
It was kind of a slow day at the wildlife area, no geese or herons, some northern shovelers, ruddy ducks and the odd bufflehead, skittish teal, not a whole lot of variety. I learned a lot more about shorebirds and of course got my fill of beautiful raptors.

An old friend asked me when I got so into birds and I didn't know what to say.

You live among the hawks for thirty six years and you develop a love for them and most all of the wonders of nature.

I still find their beauty indescribably gorgeous and riveting.

And my photography pursuit leads me to wondrous places of unspoiled solitude. Today snow capped San Gorgonio and San Jacinto provided my artistic backdrop.

We saw red tailed and red shouldered hawks, kestrels and marsh hawks, the graceful and low flying harriers now maybe my favorite of them all.

We took a long walk and espied two golden eagles on a distant tree. I got as close as I could and snapped a few pictures.

Not in ideal range but you get the idea.

Golden Eagle
As always, I can't wait to go back.


Even saw a roadrunner. My new bird guide tells me that it is actually in the cuckoo family.

Guess I'm getting a little cuckoo too!

Thanks girls. It was a very nice day.

Hope that you all enjoy the pictures of my many feathered friends.


Ken Seals said...

Pretty Fantastic!!

Unknown said...

get a job, love buzz

Anonymous said...


There was a researcher banding shrikes out there a couple of years ago. Did you happen to see a color combination for the bands, or just the aluminum band? I’ll try to track down the researcher’s name and get back to you. Thanks for the information!

Nick Peterson

Nicholas R. Peterson
California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Western Riverside County MSHCP Biological Monitoring Program

Anonymous said...

aloft what a photo! next time you are up here I want to take you to the Olympic Club where there are no less than 30 red tail? hawks permanently entrenched, 3 coyotes and the quickest squirrels in San Francisco, we will take a golf cart and you can show me how to use my new lens. BTW the best hamburgers in the world exist at the 3 Hamburger Bills snack shacks for lunch http://www.popsugar.com/food/Olympic-Club-Bill-Burger-18059993#photo-18059993