Whatever Weds. Birding with Friends


After having to postpone a trip to California to do some birding with friends 2 times due to weather I was finally able to cross the mountains and make that meetup last weekend.

We had a lovely day weather wise. It was sunny, not windy, and thankfully not muddy from all the rain and flooding the area had had.

On my way to meet the group I stopped at a refuge along the way just after daybreak to see if there were birds on the pond. There were hardly any but, oh, it was pretty.

Colusa National Wildlife Refuge Platform pond.

I wanted to drive the auto route to see what birds were in the other ponds but, every thing beyond the platform pond was closed due to flooding. I hung around for a bit hoping some more birds would fly in, but the birds that were flying overhead kept on flying…I wondered where they were headed since it wasn’t this lovely pond they were headed for? What was wrong with this pond?!!

I left to meet up with my friends at Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge just up the road about 20 miles.

I took just over 700 hundred images but, after my first culling I have a smidge over 200 keepers, and quite a few of those are duplicates that will require a second culling to really hone it down and free up much needed disk space. That second culling is so hard. Do you find it as hard as I do to let go of those? I feel like I need those as back up images! It’s nuts I know especially as I have a two fold backup system in place for my images and yet…it’s so hard to let some of those duplicates go!

I’ve only processed two of my images so far. The top image in this post and this Red-Shouldered Hawk. I had to work so hard for its image. I was driving around the auto-route and this bird was on the passenger side of the road way up high at the top of this dead snag. I couldn’t see it from my seat. I had to reposition my car kinda kaddy wompass, and hope no one else came up behind me while Gordon a fellow blogger from https://undiscoverdimagesamongstus.wordpress.com/who was in the back seat and I photographed this bird.

I have a console between bucket seats in the front so I wasn’t able to slide over to get my camera out the window. Lemme tell ya this wasn’t an easy shot. I wanted to be where Gordon was… in the back seat just then. 😀 It was worth the effort though. Isn’t it handsome! fyi- We’re not allowed outside of our cars while on the auto-route. There are a few spots where we are but this spot wasn’t one of those.

Red-Shouldered Hawk

I don’t see this bird very often so I was very happy to get a decent image of it.

It was good birding but, there were fewer birds than have been at this refuge in past years at this time of year. I’m guessing they know something we don’t and maybe winter will be ending sooner than we think and the birds have been heading home to the north already. I hope that’s it anyway.

It was even better hanging out with dear friends while birding. I hope it’s not too long before we can get together again. We’re hoping for a February trip. Fingers crossed that happens!

I’ll be working on more images from this trip to share too but, if you know me it may be awhile before more images from this trip make it to the blog.

Oh, we have a big event in our family this week. Littlest will be 4 years old this week! Time flies! He’s still really into Dinosaurs, but he’s moving into the Superhero phase, and #1 Grandson has him into Pirates and Colonial American characters as well, but his birthday party theme is Legos! #1 Grandson got him into those as well. Aren’t big brothers the best!! 💗

Baby Girl sent this image of him with a couple of his birthday party decorations. He LOVES that Lego head…so does #1 Grandson! 😜

What’s happening in your life this week, any plans, events, or something new going on?

Fuji X-T3| Fuji 100-400mm| PS CC 24.1.0

more to come…

76 thoughts on “Whatever Weds. Birding with Friends

    1. I was delighted to see it so full of water, but a bit disappointed that birds had flown somewhere else for their time in Calif.

      It does have a wise look about it doesn’t it. Thank you so much for the lovely comment and visit, Jo!

  1. Beautiful photos! Really glad you were able to get a photo of that Hawk! It is truly amazing! And a happy birthday to your second grandson! Time does fly! Legos will be a fun theme for a birthday party. 😃

    1. I still like them and want one of those Lego Heads too! I have one in my cart. I might just get a couple of small ones rather than the large one though. That way both my Grandson’s can have one to play with when they’re here playing with my Legos.

  2. Hi Deborah, I beyond love the images here and all of your creativity I see on Instagram. You are inspirational and have changed my perspective when observing nature. I also find the ‘culling’ challenging especially on certain trips. Hearing the back story is interesting on how you managed to capture the photos. Congratulations on the birthday of your littlest. Yes, time flies!💕

  3. That hawk shot blows my bald eagle one out of the water-wow! I too have difficulty getting rid of any shots because there might be a nuance that makes them unique. Happy Birthday to your Littlest and what a sweet photo!

    1. Oh no, I really enjoyed seeing your Eagle image! They’re always so exciting to see.

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment about that Hawk image. I’m glad I was able to get a decent shot of it.

      I have yet to do that second culling. 😀

      His party was a lot of fun. They grow up too fast!!

  4. Sounds like you had a fun and enjoyable trip! I like the Refuge Platform pond image with the mountains in it, very nice.
    Yes, I sometimes find it hard to let go of good images that I have duplicates of. I have gotten a lot better, but still I sometimes keep an image that is not the Best quality, but it’s different from the others. For me, most of mine are birds and if I have a 100 or so good images of that bird already, I’m quite content to let them go however, if it’s a bird I only have a few pictures of, it not so easy then.
    That is a great image of the Red Shouldered Hawk. I don’t think I got any of that Hawk. Look forward to more of your images from the outing. 🙂

  5. I am so glad you got to crest the mountains at last, Deborah, and made it to the two Sacramento Valley refuges. I was happy to see your photo from the platform at Colusa, because we were at the platform in mid-December, and the water was wayyyyyyy less then. You could see all the logs which aren’t even visible in your photo, so the water has gone up nicely since we were there. Not surprising, of course, given the deluges. There were less birds at both the refuges then, due to less water/drought, so maybe the birds have migrated out earlier than usual? Your RSH is gorgeous, and I really enjoyed your description of how you got the photo. I could completely relate to the auto-tour acrobatics. Looking forward to seeing your other images, I am sure they are gorgeous.

    1. Thank you so much, Jet! I was so happy to see water in the pond and hopeful there were be more birds. I guess they found a better pond. I heard Grey Lodge was the place.
      I love your phrase Auto-tour acrobatics! That’s it!! 🤣

  6. I have never heard of a red shouldered hawk, only a red tailed. What a beautiful bird! Thank you for the gorgeous photo. Also, I HAVE to have that giant Lego for school!! Please ask Baby Girl where she got it, and let me know!

    1. Thank you so much, Jennnie! The map shows this bird as being there in MA. It’s not here at all in NV so I’m glad I saw it in Calif!

      That Lego head is so fun. I want one for my Legos too. She found it here.

    1. Thank you so much, Janis! I know it’s hard. I keep a few pretty bad ones if it can help ID a bird or teach me what not to do next time, but I do delete most of the bad ones. I need the disk space too much not too.

  7. Both captures are beautiful, Deborah! I can see you taking the shot in your crazy angled car!! Been there done that for sure, lol. And what a stunning Red-shoulder Hawk! So glad you finally got to make that trip to meet up with your birding friends!!

    Alongside you, I’d be taking just as many photos! 😂 Yes, the culling is so darn hard, especially the second time around, and, I go one more, oh that third time is the absolute hardest! I get what you mean about keeping the duplicates, I truly know I don’t need both but….. 🤔🤣 I have old files that need major dumping, I saved everything and I was not so good on my photos nor had as good equipment.

    Adorable grandson, have a great time, Happy Birthday to him!

  8. “700 hundred images but… 200 keepers”. I cannot imagine taking that many shots and then being able to organize them. You are amazing and have gifts, both in the images you capture AND your ability to keep track of them. Carry on. Love the hawk and the Lego kid photo.

    1. Thank you so much, Ally! I keep track of them by year, and in each year folder is a folder for the place and date for each shoot. Some years blur after awhile though…so keeping track of them requires some searching sometimes. 😀

  9. Four years old doesn’t seem possible. I hope he has a wonderful Lego birthday, and keep all those boxes because they are worth some money. 🙂 Great bird shot, but the shot of the pond is truly amazing. It would look really nice on a wall. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Judy! I know time is racing by! Those Lego containers are so cool. I’m sure they’ll be keeping them for a long, long time.

      Thank you so much for the compliment on the pond image. I do need to print more this year than I did last year. I’ll put this one on the list to print.

  10. Totally with you on the culling of images but it must be done, I even do a 3rd cull at the year end!
    Love that phrase ‘kaddy wompass’ not a clue what it means but can imagine. Parking like that was worth it though, the hawk shot is stunning!

    1. Culling is hard the second time, the third time is easier but I do it nearly enough.

      Kaddy wompass which I didn’t spell right…means- cattywampus is not lined up correctly, diagonally, or askew. I was definitely all three. 🤣

      Thank you so much, Brian!

      1. Every night around 5pm hundreds of crows pass by my window (I’m on the 10th floor) on their way to their roost in Burnaby. 6000 crows from all over Vancouver and North Vancouver make their way to join their community. It is an awesome sight.

            1. I hear they’re super smart birds, and love to be clean. When we installed our fountain in our front yard at the old house within a week we had 30 crows bathing in it daily! 😀

  11. Wonderful capture of the Red-shouldered Kite Deborah, amazing from the car. You like us are seeing fewer birds, we ask “Where are they ?!” Lovely seeing your grandson and his assistance to his younger sibling. Certainly Leggo is the go at that age. Hope the party is a blast also. Birding with birding friends is a wonderful luxury we seldom enjoy. Enjoy your week my friend.

  12. Great job on the bird shot, Deborah, and we appreciate your dedication. 🙂 As much as I enjoyed the hawk, I love that first shot!! What beauty you caught there and in such a way as to convey the feeling of it! What am I up to? We’re planning a May trip to Philly to visit our younger daughter…by way of Illinois to catch up with friends again, then Akron for a few days with a sister-in-law, and then a week in “the City of Brotherly Love” before heading home a different way (for most of the trip.) Had a lovely half day in Carefree, Arizona this morning and delicious Navajo/Indian tacos at a little place I never would have stopped except for Yelp reviews. SO good and so reasonably priced–win-win. February blogger lunch and later another California trip for another rugby 7’s tournament and family (grandson time.) Life is good.

    1. Thank you so much, Janet!! Your upcoming trips sound fun and it will be wonderful to see your daughter’s and the baby!

      Your lunch sounded good! I love little taquerias. I miss the one we called our “local” in San Jose.

  13. Deborah, I’m trying to imagine what gymnastics it must have been taken to make this – great! – shot of the red-shouldered hawk. (Oh, I love these bird names so dearly! Look, a new bird! How shall we name it? Well, he seems to have a peculiar red shoulder, so maybe… Terrific idea! Gotta notebook? ) The soft colours of the empty pond are wonderful too, as is the picture of your grandchild with the gigantic lego’s. Over here in the Netherlands the weather is cold-ish and dull. Most of the birds here were gloves and woollen hats and look grumpy. But I saw this moorhen yesterday, plucking at some water plant as if he or she was considering the remote hunch of a nest. So there is hope (as there always is. 🙂 )

    1. There’s always hope and the sun will come out again…hopefully soon! It’s been cold here too. Only 24 degrees F right now, but the sun is out.
      Thank you so much, Peter! The Moorhen! I call them the Candy Corn bird because of their bills/beaks.
      I love how they name birds too.

  14. Thanks for letting me be the backseat driver on that round of the auto route; one thing the front seat has is better spotting up front. Your Red Shouldered Hawk came out great! My perspective got different lighting on the bird so you might have a better shot.
    It was good seeing you and the others again!

    1. Thank you and thanks for coming along and being an extra set of eyes! I think your image has some really nice back lighting on its wings.
      It was fun to see everyone again. I hope our Feb. trip happens and we see great birds there too.

  15. That pond is beautiful. I wonder why the birds were flying over it. The picture of the hawk is wonderful! I see them around here on occasion. I have a few pictures, but nothing that compares. Thanks for struggling as you did to get this one. I love that big Lego head!

    1. Thank you, Dan! I couldn’t figure out why the birds kept flying over the pond. We all went back in the afternoon hoping they’d fly in for the evening but, only Canada Geese were landing most of the birds were flying over it. There must be a better pond somewhere.
      Isn’t that Lego head cool? It opens up to store your Legos in it.

          1. Well different climates play a part I think. My friend in Texas woodlands sees them often. We lived right near the beach. Kind of like you not seeing the Red Shouldered Hawk often I suppose.

  16. Colluding with Colusa just after daybreak turned out to be a good thing, even with few birds present.

    Given the prohibition on getting out of your car along that part of the auto-route, was there enough room for you to turn your car around to get the driver’s window facing the hawk?

    1. Thank you, Steve!

      No, it’s one way so I and a lot of others in the past have gone for angling our cars for a better view of birds. Once, years ago at this same refuge I stuck my head and camera out of the Moon Roof and it wasn’t long before a Ranger caught up to me and gave me talking to…fortunately I didn’t get a ticket. I’ve been mindful of not breaking that rule since!

  17. Beautiful pictures as always, Deborah!

    I’m meeting with friends soon too…flying to Ontario (weather willing – they are supposed to be getting a lot of snow) to meet up with one friend, and then off to Barbados with another friend a week later. So that is all of the above: a plan, an event, and something new going on! 😁


    1. Thank you, Deb!! Oh your trips sound like so much fun. I hope the weather and flights cooperate and your trips get off as planned!

      I’m looking forward to seeing the photos and reading all about them. 😀
      I’ve never been to Barbados it will be neat to see it from your viewfinder.

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