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Red-Shouldered Hawk

red-shouldered hawk red-shouldered hawk red-shouldered hawk red-shouldered hawk red-shouldered hawk red-shouldered hawk

birds (30), hawk (2)

Birds (29), Winter Trees (7)

Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker Northern Flicker Northern Flicker

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Birds (29)

Delta Pond Rookery

laguna de santa rosa

In May last year I joined the docents of Laguna de Santa Rosa for a walk around the Delta Pond nesting colony. The walks begin early on a spring Saturday morning with a hike out to Santa Rosa's Delta Pond on the edge of the Laguna. With the hike circling a path between the waste-water storage pond and the laguna, and with several scopes set up directed at nests in the trees, we witnessed many types of birds including a bald eagle, dozens of double-crested cormorants, great egrets, red-tailed hawk, and great blue heron.

laguna de santa rosa laguna de santa rosa Red-wing blackbird laguna de santa rosa Red-wing blackbird

Red-wing blackbird

laguna de santa rosa Red-wing blackbird laguna de santa rosa Cliff swallow

Cliff swallow

laguna de santa rosa Canada geese laguna de santa rosa Canada geese

Canada geese

laguna de santa rosa Canada geese laguna de santa rosa Tree swallow

Tree swallow

laguna de santa rosa Common merganser ducks

Common merganser ducks

laguna de santa rosa Red-tailed hawk

Red-tailed hawk

laguna de santa rosa Bald eagle

Bald eagle

laguna de santa rosa Nesting double-crested cormorants and great blue heron

Nesting double-crested cormorants and great blue heron

laguna de santa rosa double-crested cormorants laguna de santa rosa double-crested cormorants laguna de santa rosa double-crested cormorants laguna de santa rosa double-crested cormorants

Double-crested cormorant

laguna de santa rosa double-crested cormorants laguna de santa rosa double-crested cormorants laguna de santa rosa Great blue heron

Great blue heron

It's so fun to think that some of the willows I planted a few years ago may some day become nesting habitat.

birds (30), cormorants (1), ducks (3), eagle (2), geese (3), hawk (2), heron (1), laguna (3), nesting (1), swallow (2)

Birds (29), Santa Rosa (21)

Vaux's Swifts


In September, 2012, Rick surprised me on a date by taking me to Rio Lindo Adventist Academy in Healdsburg to witness a natural phenomenon. We arrived before dusk and found the building of focus. A dozen or two people were already gathering, some with folding chairs and snacks. Rick didn't tell me what was about to happen, just that an old brick building with a large chimney was to be the focal point. We explored the back of the building, the south-west corner, where there were no other spectators. I'm an avoider of crowds, but also am drawn to sunlight facing lighting when I have a camera in hand. We noticed that there was a large ravine behind the school, between the hills, and that the billions of flying insects that filled the air were very visible in the setting sunlight.

We also found an old rusty truck among the weeds while we waited for the sun to sink lower.

rusty truck rusty truck

A few small swifts appeared, and suddenly hundreds. After a few minutes the air began to fill with thousands of the birds, swirling and vortexing through the sky.

sky of vauxs swifts vauxs swifts going into chimney

A merlin, predator bird, attacked the swarm and I heard a thud a couple feet from me.

dead vauxs swift vauxs swifts going into chimney

After the last bird was tucked away in the chimney, Rick and I explored closer to find out if we could hear them inside, though we couldn't. Everyone else had left and we were alone in the dark, knowing that the chimney behind us contained ten's of thousands of vaux's swifts.

ari at chimney ari at chimney ari and rick at chimney

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Robin in the Bay Laurel

robin in bay laurel tree

bird (6), garden (24), tree (6)

Birds (29)

Tree Swallow

tree swallow

Tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) nesting at my parents' house.

It's been a busy spring for me, beginning a house remodel project with a rushed timeline. I've taken many photos (of the remodel project, as well as other adventures) that I have not had time to sort, edit, and post, as nesting has been a priority.

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Birds (29), Creatures (75), Potter Valley (43)

Spring 2013

bird wild garlic

Wild garlic (Allium triquetrum) flowers

wild garlic rosemary flowers

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) flowers

daffodil arugula flower

Arugula (Eruca sativa) flower


Grape hyacinth (Muscari)

Boxelder Bug

Within the past few days, hundreds or thousands of these Boxelder Bugs (Boisea trivittata) have suddenly gathered in my backyard. I tried to get the chickens to eat them, but they turned up their beaks to the crunchy critters. Today we noticed the bugs are covering the south facing walls of our house with eggs.

Reading up on them, I'm not too worried about them messing up my garden since they are pretty specialized in their diets, preferring boxelder trees, though they could do damage to my apples, pears, or plums later on.

Boxelder Bug Boxelder Bug

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HDR Experiments: Trees

hdr sunset trees hdr sunset trees hdr sunset trees

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Mexico Trip 2012 - Bay Life


So peaceful.

Beach chairs

Our casita was right on the beach and so we took advantage of that every moment we could (while not away sightseeing or cooking in the fully equipped bungalow kitchen), and snorkeled, swam, played with fish, read in hammocks, walked on the beach, and watched the pelicans fishing.

Kayaks on beach

Kayaks and snorkels for our use.

Snorkeling Rick Snorkeling Rick

About as graceful as a pelican's dive.

Rick and pelican

The pelicans liked to hang out with Rick while he swam.

Beach chairs

Our slice of beautiful bay. That's Rick and a pelican out there. That green stuff under the water, sea grass, was full of fish and other bay life.

Pelican Pelican Pelican Pelican Pelican Pelicans Pelican

A male and female pair seemed to share the beach and fish with us.

Pelican Pelican Pelican Pelican Pelican Pelican

They made a funny splash diving for fish.

Pelican Rick and Ari Ari in hammock

Reading a good book. Kicking back in hammocks under our beach palapa.

Rick in hammock Bungalow from hammock

Nuestra casita. Being on our own private beach was so incredible.

Hermit crab

Giant hermit crab lived in a hole by the back door.

Hermit crab Gecko

There were cute geckos inside the bungalow and out. I chased this one around the trunk of one of the many coconut trees around the patio.

Gecko Osprey

I think this was an osprey flying over our beach.

Osprey Flock of egrets

Flock of egrets....

...and a flock of little sand piper birds.

Sand birds Sand birds Sand birds Sand shells

The white sand was made of tiny shell and coral particles.

Beach chairs Beach cat Beach dog

Chile, one of the two resident dotsons.

Caribbean sunrise

Sunrise on our last morning.

Caribbean sunrise Caribbean sunrise Caribbean sunrise

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Mexico Trip 2012 - The Road to Soliman Bay

Laguna Birds

Wildlife along the rough dirt road out to our bungalow on Soliman Bay.

Laguna Birds Laguna Birds Laguna Birds Laguna Birds Laguna Birds Laguna Birds Iguana crossing the road

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Acorn Woodpecker

acorn woodpecker acorn woodpecker acorn woodpecker

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Hummingbird Silhouettes

four hummingbirds

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Birds (29)

Robin Nest

robin nest robin nest robin nest robin nest robin nest robin nest robin nest

A few inches from my back door, built on top of a light, is this red-breasted Robin's nest. Too high for me to see inside, even when standing on a chair, I used the camera as a periscope trick: held my camera up above it and snapped photos, which I could then preview on my camera. I checked on them every few days or so.

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Gull Take-Off


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Birds (29), Goat Rock (6), Nikon D70 (54), Photofriday (26)

Vineyard Vulture


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Birds (29), Nikon D70 (54), Potter Valley (43)

Gulls at Drakes Beach

gull flight

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The Great Egret


Ever since I first moved from out from my parents I see egrets each time I move. I saw so many along the freeway on that first move to San Francisco that they are ingrained in my mind as a symbol of transition. I saw this one along the road in Potter Valley as I moved my stuff to my parent's house for my temporary home.

The Great Egret, the white form of the Great Blue Heron, is the symbol of the National Audubon Society.

Theme Thursday theme: animal

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Birds (29), Potter Valley (43), Theme Thursday (9)

Crosses The Road

birds crossing

I don't know if these are some type of chicken or peacock, but they can often be seen crossing the road here.

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Birds (29), Potter Valley (43)

Crow Parking


10/07 While walking around downtown Cheyenne, Wyoming.

(The Westward series was taken while driving from Michigan to California in October. I'm going to post them three at a time, in no particular order and will try to mention if I remember what state it was taken in. The majority of these photos were snapped while driving 80 miles per hour on interstate 80 so will be blurry, have dirt specks or water droplets from the day it rained, or have a slightly-tinted-car-window look. Don't worry, I rarely shoot while at the wheel, so most likely, they were taken while Donovan was driving, after I had done my share for the day.)

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Birds (29), Westward (42)

Barn Swallow

barn swallow

Birds (29), California Summer 2004 (45)

Spizella Passerina (Chipping Sparrow)

chipping sparrow These little sparrows have been around a lot recently, eating the seed on the ground that has fallen from the hanging bird feeder. It's interesting how some types of birds will perch and eat from the feeders, while others prefer to eat from the ground. They are about 5" in size and are only in Michigan for the summer, spending winters in the south. This particular bird let me get pretty close to him while the others flew away. He just sat and looked at me.

Birds (29)

Cyanocitta Cristata (Blue Jay)

blue jays A gang of Blue Jays showed up this morning. This seven was only a fraction of them all. I wonder if it's the same group we saw at the lighthouse yesterday. Blue Jays are about 12" in size and though beautiful, are brutal killers of eggs and babies from other birds.

Birds (29)

Carpodacus Purpureus (Purple Finch)

purple finch These finches are about 6" in size and, unlike the House Finch, are a long term resident of Michigan. Though called "purple", these birds are really very red. The name "purpureus" comes from the Latin word for "crimson" or reddish color.

Birds (29)


crow in tree Before coming here, I never realized how difficult it is to photograph birds. They sure don't stay still very long and don't let you get close enough to get a good shot. I can see why bird photography is such an art. You need a super telephoto lens and a lot of patience.

I've been trying to get a clear photo of a crow for weeks. Recently they have been more active, and yesterday they were flying back and forth through the back yard. Each time they went by in one direction they had a huge piece of something in their beaks. I wondered what they were stealing from the neighbors. This is one of them stopping in the tree by my window, on his way to pick up another load.

Birds (29)

Bottoms Up

Duck Bottoms This male and female pair of ducks came over from where they were hanging out in a bush. After eating all the bits of roll I tossed in, the ducks thanked me and swam away.

Birds (29), Creatures (75)


Little Asian quail in the greenhouse at Dow Gardens, Midland, MI.

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Birds (29), MI Trip (27)

76 Balls

My collection of stollen 76 balls become duck toys.

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Birds (29)

Goose and Goslings

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Birds (29)


Vulture, I think.

From hike in Bohemian Grove, Forestville 04/19/2003

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