We had an invasion of young European Starlings in our yard this week. They went for the Century Plants which are in bloom. They only bloom once very 100 years. It was a foggy day but I think the photos turned out well enough to show you the fun they were having.
I went to the San Luis Obispo Cacti and Succulent Society Annual Sale this past Memorial Day weekend. I scored on several new ceramic pots and succulents for my office as viewed here. The pots are by a local ceramic celebrity – Charles Varni.
“I have been and still am a seeker, but I have ceased to question stars and books; I have begun to listen to the teaching my blood whispers to me.” – Hermann Hesse –
Just sitting on the back bay looking out of my living room window. The camera is propped up on the tripod and this is my view. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Another Perfect Sunset on the Central Coast of California. While I will normally do minimal adjustments to my sunset photos..these two are ‘untouched’ in post-processing.
The House Sparrow prefers to nest in manmade structures such as eaves or walls of buildings, street lights, and nest boxes instead of in natural nest sites such as holes in trees. (allaboutbirds.org)
The water on the back bay was smooth as glass today. The view from my living room window. Click to enlarge and enjoy even further.
This Heermann’s Gull (2nd cycle) was enjoying the sunset at Morro Beach Strand in Morro Bay. Photography at sunset produces some of the best photos I think as opposed to shooting between noon – 4pm during very bright sunlight. Shooting in the fog is also a challenge.
Living on the Pacific Coast we really don’t see summer until September – October. This time of the year we get a lot of fog that rolls into the back bay at times creating an eerie feeling. I thought I’d showcase a few days where the fog rolled in quickly over the bay:
- The Pied-billed Grebe (a fresh water, diving bird, however these guys were on a marina inlet off the Pacific Ocean) is rarely seen in flight. It prefers to escape predators by diving, and it migrates at night. However, it can fly, and stray individuals have reached Hawaii and Europe.
- Although it swims like a duck, the Pied-billed Grebe does not have webbed feet. Instead of having a webbing connecting all the toes, each toe has lobes extending out on the sides that provide extra surface area for paddling.
- The downy chicks can leave the nest soon after hatching, but they do not swim well at first and do not spend much time in the water in the first week. They sleep on the back of a parent, held close beneath its wings. By the age of four weeks, the young grebes are spending day and night on the water. For the first ten days their response to danger is to climb on to a parent’s back. After that, when danger threatens, they dive under water. (from: allaboutbirds.org)
Tucked away on the far corner of the estuary you will see on any given chilly, foggy day Marbled Godwits and Willets huddled close together. Marbled Godwits are shorebirds with long, pink-based bills and cinnamon brown plumage. They resemble Long-billed Curlews except that the bill turns slightly upward, not downward.
Willets are tall, plain gray shorebirds with a medium-length straight bill that probes the sand for crabs. The Willet is more common in winter. But they will occasionally show up on the central coast of California on a cool, foggy day as illustrated in the photos below. Willets spook easily. If intruded upon they will fly quickly away and become the loudest and showiest of all shorebirds rousing other dozing birds as they sound the intruder alarm.
(excerpts from ‘Introduction to BIRDS of the Southern California Coast’ Joan Easton Lentz – author. California Natural History Guide)
This is a Juvenile Black Phoebe – his feathers will darken as he ages. Black Phoebes frequent coastal cliffs, ponds and riverbanks as well as parks and gardens. They sit on a low perch, such as a water faucet in the middle of the lawn or a rock beside a stream, then hawk insects by chasing them in flight. The Black Phoebe is a bird found only in California and the Southwest – it is mostly nonmigratory within its breeding range.
I went to Lake Santa Margarita this weekend to do some hiking and take a few photos of fine feathered friends I don’t see around the bay. I was fortunate enough to grab a day use picnic area on a private hill and directly under the home of an Acorn Woodpecker family. I was happy to finally capture a woodpecker to mark off my birding chart with a ‘happy face’ sticker. The Acorn Woodpecker is about 9-10 inches in size. I love the ‘clown’ face :O)
I have been trying to capture for about a month in my own neighborhood a very small and elusive woodpecker that is shy and very quick to leave his tree if I come anywhere around. Nothing like the Acorn woodpecker who was just fine with me hanging around their abode. However, this morning as I’m sipping my morning tea and I look out my office window – what do I see? The elusive woodpecker I’ve been searching for, now with a partner, hanging on a tree outside my office window. I very quickly grabbed my camera and slithered out the front door to finally capture this much smaller woodpecker – Nuttall’s Woodpecker (6-7 inches). A great start to my day!!