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Pelican, Torrey Pines © Robert Sommers 2022

Monday, October 25, 2021

Bird Break


I had to drop off a loved one at the airport in Ontario this morning for an early flight. 

I decided to check out my favorite bird spot on the way home and try to grab some shots before the noontime rain was supposed to start.


It hasn't been all that great up there lately but you have to keep checking in as the cool season is fast approaching and things can turn on a dime. Never know what awaits you in nature, that is what makes it both exciting and challenging.

I pulled in to the San Jacinto Wildlife Area and noticed that the red tailed hawks were seemingly every where, planted on many of the trees and telephone poles on the way in. Good sign. 

It was after eight but with the weather and time of year, still pretty dark out.

I drove in past the duck ponds and onto the main loop and almost immediately noticed a lovely peregrine falcon perched in the darkness of one of my favorite trees. Excellent.

You know how much I love falcons and this girl was a beauty, even in the dark shadows of the morning.


I had the fast 400mm on the camera, there was no sense piddling around with the slow 600 in this dim light.

And it was perfect for the job.


Don't know why I am so attracted to raptors but birds of prey definitely turn me on! Soon after I drove by this lovely kestrel, the smallest of the raptor family.


I drove the loop and over to the Walker Ponds. I saw a juvenile bald eagle and this gorgeous red tailed female, which was huge.


I drove back to the main part of the Wildlife Area and made another couple loops. There are times I will do this five or six times in a visit. Never know what will pop up.



I caught the graceful female northern harrier making its slow swoops over the grassland and ponds.

Always a visual thrill.

There were a lot of crows out today and many ravens, far more than I can remember seeing.

Not a lot of shorebirds, nothing that killed me. Dowitchers, Lbbs.

I did see a mess of coots of course and red winged blackbirds.

Caught my eponymous namesake.

And this merlin, a rare catch for me. Haven't managed to grab a picture of one for a long time. No kite today but I am happy nonetheless.


Merlins are bigger than Kestrels and smaller than Cooper's. 

Did manage to take some shots of a red shouldered hawk but they were not really good enough to post. 

800th of a second was not fast enough in this meager light.

I parked at the trailhead and put the smaller lens on the camera, the 600mm zoom is so much lighter than the prime lens. I wanted to take a hike around the loop. 

First thing I did was rustle the coots up into a light boil on the pond.


The weather was getting darker and more ominous, I headed back to the car. Saw and smelled a dead skunk, saw lots of scat, no wild cats this time. Darn.


I drove back to Walker a second time. Caught a huge flock of yellow headed blackbirds, biggest murder I have ever seen.



I love to watch these beautiful creatures. This place is my favorite office. By far. I worked yesterday, I deserve a little time off, right?

Midwest has tons of these guys. We aren't so fortunate out here. I am going to enjoy them.

Actually somewhat similar to the weaver bird of South Africa although the personalities are entirely different.

I had some work to do today and took my leave. A light rain started soon thereafter.

Timing is everything. I will be back.

If you like (or dislike) the pictures, feel free to rate them on ebird.


2 comments:

Ken Seals said...

Great job on the photos!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing