Egret and crab

Monday, March 18, 2019

Spring colors

The approach of spring has touched my Santa Margarita River valley. Ceanothus, or purple lilac bushes, are starting to paint the hillsides in their lovely shades of aubergine. Echium, the pride of Madeira, are starting to flower in the gardens with their towering blue purple spikes. As you can see from the picture above, the wisteria has opened its lilac spikes high in my oak tree. Canterbury bells and lupine grace the boundaries of our canyon road, accented by the ubiquitous golden California poppies.

I had a house call in town in the early afternoon and decided to pick up my camera gear and take a few shots in my garden afterwards.

I had bought a bunch of ranunculus and Icelandic poppies and planted them when I got home, along with some salvias and leptospermum.

The orange and yellow hues seem quite congenial with the dominant purple rubric.

Southern California is awash this week with painted lady butterflies, the remnants of which dot many a windshield. I set my camera up in the garden and caught a cavalcade of birds, bees and butters. Even a friendly mockingbird.

Hunting with a camera is a lot like hunting with a rifle or hunting anything else in life, if you are going to have wins, you are damn sure going to have a bunch of failures.

I had a mess of them yesterday. Didn't care a bit. Saw plenty and don't have to record everything I experience. Not a paying gig.

I do wish that I had stopped my aperture up to ƒ22 when this red tailed hawk flew by the moon.

But I didn't. I wasn't expecting it, didn't have the presence of mind. The hawk was being mobbed by a couple of crows. Here's the photoshopped version anyway. A little sloppy. Same moon, seconds later.

Live and learn. The hawk itself was very lovely.

I was thinking about corvids and raptors, how funny that fierce hawks allow themselves to be dominated by crows with their superior brainpower.

At that moment a kingbird flew out of the cedar and attacked the crow. So maybe the kingbird is the actual king? Or more likely, every dog has his day, nature merely a gigantic game of rock, paper, scissors.

Watched the feeders for a while, the house finches always willing to put on a comical show.

Until they were chased away by the super macho doves anyway. Never figured out how they got this peaceful reputation, doves? They can be little bastards.

I sat for hours, tried to lure the hummingbirds in with a sprinkler, never fails.

Until yesterday.

I adjusted my vantage, sat for hours in different spots, managed to grab a few shots. Grabbed a few super sweet navel oranges off the tree for sustenance. Didn't go inside until evening.

Shooting hummingbirds is actually quite humbling.

You hear this little mechanical snick or a rush of their wings and you turn around and they have just done a figure eight around you and flew into the sunset.

If you do manage to get a decent shot it is either because you were lucky or they decided to allow it.

Could swear I've heard them laughing at me...

You have to be very patient, in any case. Little green gems.

Not sure what this guy is, have to get my book or ask Ken or Beth. He says California Towhee, I should have known...

Not a bad day, me hanging around the garden with my friends.


Ken Seals said...

Nice... I'm figuring those Painted Ladies are just so much bird feed.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great day. Great shots of the hummingbirds.✌️
Deli guy.

Anonymous said...

Really beautiful stuff, thanks ~ Diane O