*

*
Late afternoon, Yosemite Valley

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Friday is for the birds

Avocet

My head was a little screwed up yesterday and I decided I needed a little break with the birdies. Can't really explain, should be really happy and I am but all the prior uncertainty sort of wipes you out emotionally. Oh, so I am going to live? Guess I better figure out how to pay the mortgage...

I also wanted to try out the new to me but slightly used, drop in circular polarizer for the nikkor 400mm 2.8 fl. I headed out to San Jacinto.


At first glance the place seemed a little dead. I started to think that I was going to get shut out. Sure there were a few harriers flying around and a red tailed or two but how does the song go, nothing was delivered?

I made the general loop and was fairly unimpressed. Lots of coots, a vulture feasting on leftovers, ducks galore, egrets and ibis gracefully flying overhead.

Then I saw this female harrier waiting for me to take her picture on an old post.

Pretty girl.

And a pale male decided to visit to, from above.

I drove over to the Walker Road, past the Ramona Duck Club and walked right up to this juvenile bald eagle perched on top of the utility pole.


He was completely unconcerned with my presence. Big boy, take a look at those massive claws.

He could have put a serious hurt on me if he chose to.

The body structure is so much more muscular than the smaller hawks.

As you can see, he is just starting to develop the characteristic white crown that he or she will sport one day when the eagle is mature.

Well, that was cool. Always happy to make the acquaintance of an eagle.

But honestly an even bigger thrill was awaiting just around the corner.

I ran into a large flock of yellow headed blackbirds, at least fifty of them in this first group. I have never seen one before and they were beautiful. Later I saw them in groups in the many hundreds.

The place is always full of red winged blackbirds but these guys made my day.

I didn't shoot them properly but am planning on returning very soon and hopefully acquitting myself more admirably.

You may get the idea that I just set up and start shooting, that wildlife photography is akin to the tiki house at Disneyland, that the birds approach me and the camera like Dr. Doolittle.

You would be wrong. There are long periods of waiting and there are times you get shut out.

I wrote a note to myself yesterday. It doesn't happen when you want it to happen, it happens when it happens.

I had a hard time leaving yesterday. I drove around and around and realized that I would rather be there doing nothing than stuck on the 215 south in traffic.

Pulled up next to a pond and let the ripples on the water gently put me to sleep.

Finally left when the sun went down.

Loggerhead shrike



red shouldered hawk
male harrier aka marsh hawk

red tailed hawk aloft

5 comments:

Sanoguy said...

Let me know when you are going back!!!

Ken Seals said...

Wow, a lot of great ones in there!

shawnintland said...

The rewards of sticking around! (Both short & long term!) Glad you got the day you were looking for!

Liz said...

I think it is amazing that you do this and are so good at it. I certainly would not have expected it when we were kids

Jerry HallJ said...

You're hitting stride and in great form Blue. That was a special day.