Check it out!
First, a pair of Mallards. Actually, there were several pair. One I think was nesting near the parking lot because they never moved the entire time we were there. This pair was walking around and just looked so cute - especially the female.
Then I spotted a gosling. I didn't notice the parents right away. This little one was all by itself and way ahead of the parents. It's a shame there was only one of them. Maybe it's siblings were also too brave and became someone's dinner. (see next pic for suspect) It was moving so fast and right for me that I kept reducing my zoom lens and trying to take it's picture. I never did get a crisp shot, but this expression was so cute I made it look like a painting instead :)
But then... we saw a hawk fly into a nearby tree! We weren't the only photographers either :) I felt a little bad using this other photographers point of view, but it really was the best angle. Otherwise the branches were in the way. This Red-tailed Hawk stayed put for quite a long time. I actually left the scene before it did. I'll bet we were scaring it's prey away.
And I'll bet these little critters were it's prey.
These two are so cute... they reminded me of Tango and Cash with their funny looking and pointy noses. The one on the right has a look Tango often has, lol.
Ah, but then, we turned around and noticed a Black-crowned Night-heron perched on the outside of a tree near what I think was the garbage bin. I took a closer look and it turns out there were 7 BCNH nesting in that tree.
The one that perched on the outside moved inside a bit, but it moved to a much better position for me to take its photo. I took some of the nesting birds, but they were hidden nicely. This one was somewhat difficult as it kept preening. But I came away with a few nice shots and this one below that not only has it's "pony tail" showing, but the eyes were so clear and crisp and RED! I really hadn't noticed that on any other BCNH before, probably because they were much further away. I posted this on twitter earlier today, so some of you already have seen this.
Then we wandered about looking for the funny looking ducks I saw when we were trying to approach the hawk in the tree. They popped out from behind someone's car. They are domesticated Muscovy Ducks I guess. I don't remember them from the last time I was there, but they are very very friendly. I wonder if they were someone's pets. Sure, all the ducks and other birds approach humans begging for food, but I felt these two were going to jump up in my arms.
They were somewhat aggressive that way. They also had a way of looking at you with a pleading eye. The spotted one above had brown eyes, the all white one below had blue eyes - a very pretty blue. It also appeared younger because it had less wrinkles, but who knows.
There were also Red-winged Blackbirds flitting here and there. They just would NOT sit still long enough to focus. Finally, one sat on a garbage can long enough for a pic and I thought that was all I was going to get. But nope, on the way back to the car, I spotted this one in a tree and quickly snapped. Amazingly enough it was in focus. Technically - Bi-colored Blackbird as it doesn't have a significant yellow streak bordering the red. It's a California oddity, perhaps subspecies.
Then right after that, my mom spotted a bunch of large birds flying overhead. I quickly pointed the camera up and hoped to get that red focus dot on one of them. I did, and here they are! I think this one was a 400mm, but I also had another one that I pulled back to 250 mm to get a group shot. Not only were these White Pelicans huge, but they weren't all that high in the sky either. They flew so gracefully.
And I was thrilled to come home and notice that a few of them had those breeding bumps on the top of the bill. Be sure to click to enlarge and see that!
After this, the lighting was getting very dramatic with a storm (ha - drizzle clouds) coming in. So I walked over to the picnic grounds by the ranger station and scouted for some landscape shots. I'll make those my next post.
And the post after that, our second trip of the day: Rancho San Antonio.
Final count for PA Baylands:
|9||Canada Goose |
|1||Ruddy Duck |
|14||American White Pelican |
|7||Black-crowned Night-Heron |
|1||Red-tailed Hawk |
|8||American Coot |
|30||American Avocet |
|12||gull sp. |
|30||Rock Pigeon |
|1||Anna's Hummingbird |
|2||Black Phoebe |
|1||Western Scrub-Jay (Coastal) |
Aphelocoma californica californica
|7||American Crow |
|2||Common Raven |
|4||Cliff Swallow |
|1||Chestnut-backed Chickadee |
|1||Northern Mockingbird |
|5||Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) |
Junco hyemalis [oreganus Group]
|10||Red-winged Blackbird (Bicolored) |
Agelaius phoeniceus [gubernator Group]
|1||Brewer's Blackbird |
|2||House Finch |