Monochrome Madness 2 20/52 Osprey

Copyright ©2015 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

This image I made back in May while out looking for Dancing Grebes. This Osprey is looking at its nest where its mate and chicks were.

To see the other images that were submitted this week click over to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness 2 page here!

Nikon D300s| AF-S Nikkor 300mm f4 + Tamron 1.4x TC = 420mm| Tripod| Hoodman STEEL Ultra High Speed Digital Film| CS6Silver Efex Pro 2

The Surprise Visitors

Copyright © 2015 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED!

This morning when I went out front I noticed a large flock of American Robins in the Ginko trees across the street, and there was a group of another bird I didn’t quite recognize, but knew it was something I’d want to photograph so, ran back in the house and grabbed my camera; hoping I had enough battery charge left to get an image or two!

I got a few shots then looked at them quickly in review mode, and saw that the birds were Cedar Waxwings! I’ve never seen them here before! Can you imagine my excitement? I was standing across the street from the tree which meant the images would need to be cropped in quite a bit so, I slowly advanced closer to the tree firing my shutter the whole time. I got too close, and all the birds scattered like leaves in a gust of wind. My only thought…COME B A C K!!!

Did I tell you that He-Man ruptured his Patella Tendon Nov. 10th?  Ruptured…the whole quadricep muscle came off his knee cap!  He had surgery on Nov. 12th and has been healing and in rehab since. His Surgeon told him he’d be “out” for the whole season and then some. He’s a cyclist, and a very active guy. This was the worst possible diagnosis. Yesterday he got the “okay” to start driving again. So, this afternoon he drove me in Pearl ( the Subaru Forester) to the post office which is 2 miles from our house.
It was like riding a bike. He was fabulous…moving from the brake to the gas pedal was no problem at all. When we got home he immediately got in Va-Va my 5 Speed Toyota Corolla Sport to take her for a spin, but I had spotted the Waxwings in the trees across the street again, and the light was nice. I begged for 5 minutes! As I was shooting he backed out, rolled down the window and said, “I’ll be fine. I’m just going around the block a few times.”  I said, ” WAIT I’ll come with!” He said, ” No need. I’ll be fine. Get the shots.”  He was back before I finished shooting. 🙂

5 Cedar Waxwings…

5 Cedar Waxwings

Mrs. American Robin with Mr. American Robin close by,

American Robin Female

Cedar Waxwings

Cedar Waxwings

Purple Finch

Purple Finch

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

Fabulous birds in front of my house, and the only thing He-Man needs me to do now that he can’t do for himself is put on his socks, and tie his shoes. Life is good!

Nikon D700| AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4 w?AF-S Nikkor 14eII TC| Hand-held| Lexar Professional Digital Film| Developed in CS6

More to come…

The Stare Down

Copyright © 2015 Deborah M. Zajac  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED!

A group of photographers got together last week for our annual trek to Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge.  It was dreary day with fog, and clouds all day. The light was flat, flat, flat. Thankfully there was a nice variety of birds on the ponds.

The first time around the auto-route there was Bald Eagle high up in it’s favorite tree. I call this tree the “Eagle Tree” because there’s been an Eagle perched in it the last 3 years I’ve been there.  I wonder if this is the Juvenile Bald Eagle I’ve seen in years past grown up with an all white head now? Aren’t they majestic!

Bald Eagle

Later in the day high in the Eucalyptus trees there was a juvenile Bald Eagle surveying the land and ponds,

Bald Eagle-JuvenileThere was a spot of color on this dreary day…

A spot of color on a dreary day…The Trio

Trio

These Snow Geese were the only ones we saw up on the bank. I think one had an injured wing and the other two were keeping it company.

Nikon D700| AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4 w/AF-S 14eII TC| Hand-held| Lexar Professional High Speed Film| CS6

More to come…

A Good Day Birding PtII

Copyright © 2015 Deborah M. Zajac  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

There were quite a few opportunities to capture birds in flight while I was out birding this week.
A couple of times there were feeding frenzies right in front of me which allowed me to capture a few neat “flight shots” and a whole lot of near misses.

Here’s the American Robin just as it took flight.

American Robin in Flight

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret in Flight

Brown Pelican hunting for fish

Brown Pelican in Flight

Sea GullSeagull

Sea Gull

Sea Gull

Great Egret

Great Egret in Flight

Northern Mockingbird just after take off

Mockingbird just after take off

Brown Pelican diving- two images; I wish I had timed it so I got the tip of his bill going in the water. Sigh. Timing is everything!

Brown Pelican Dive

Brown Pelican Diving for Fish

Nikon D700| AF-S Nikkor 300mm f4 + AF-S Nikkor 14eII TC =420mm| Hand-held| Lexar Professional Digital Film

More to come…

A Good Day Birding

Copyright © 2015 Deborah M. Zajac  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I was able to get out to do a little birding this week, and it started out on a great note. When I stepped out my front door

this American Robin was in the uppermost branches of the Ginko Tree in my front yard. I took that as a good omen!

American Robin

Once at the pond I had a good walk-about, and found a couple types of Grebes, and many other wintering birds along with the regulars. Here are several I observed.  I have many more I’ll be sharing in the coming days.

Pied-billed Grebe Adult Winter

Pied-billed Grebe Adult Winter

Eared Grebe Winter

Eared Grebe Adult Winter

Hooded Grebe Adult Winter? I’m not positive what type of Grebe this is. Can anyone ID it for me?

Horned Grebe

Black-necked Stilt

Black-necked Stilt

Greater Scaup

Greater Scaup

Nikon D700| AF-S Nikkor 300mm f4| Tripod & Hand-held| Lexar Professional Digital Film

More to come…

A day in the Wild

Copyright © 2014 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I spent Saturday at two Wildlife Refuges: Merced National Wildlife Refuge, and San Luis National Wildlife Refuge.

It’s takes just about 2 hours to get there from my house even with a stop for coffee along the way. It’s a fairly easy drive, and the only worrisome part of the drive is crossing Pacheco Pass, and only in the two lane windy section. Fortunately traffic was light going, and not much worse on the way home.

I was hoping to see Sandhill Cranes which my friend Judi shared were starting to return for the Winter.

With the drought being pretty severe here the Refuges have had their water allotments cut way back so, there’s not much water there. I suspect that will influence the number of birds that winter there, and the numbers will be a lot fewer than in past years.

At Merced National Wildlife Refuge there are a couple of observation decks, and a large auto-route with quite a few pull-outs. I arrived not long after the gate opened, and only saw one other car ahead of me. For two hours we were the only people in the refuge. It was really nice not having cars pass me and frighten the birds.

Here are the only Sandhill Cranes I saw. They were in the last field, and as always very skittish. They started moving deeper into the field when I stopped. While I was imaging the group I had the good luck to see two more fly in.

Sandhill Crane Fly-in

There was a flock of White-faced Ibis here, and they were so hungry they didn’t worry about me at all. There were a few quite close to the road. This one just yawned when I crept up. I love the colors in their feathers.

White-faced Ibis: Adult Winter

The White Crowned Sparrows are returning everywhere, even here.

White Crowned Sparrow

It was foggy when I left home, and there was haze around the countryside, and Refuge. I had hoped to meet my friend Judi here, but the air quality was really bad. There had been a report the night before that the air quality would be bad and people should not go out. I got Judi’s message about that too late; after I arrived at the Refuge. She’s on bottled air and didn’t dare leave the house. You can see the haze in several of the images, but especially in this image of a Great Egret I saw. He didn’t bat an eyelash at my presence! Their stillness and concentration are amazing. I liked the back lighting, and the haze gave the image a soft, dreamy look.

Backlit Great Egret

The Coots are back, as are the Shovelers, Mallards, and some Greater Yellowlegs.  While photographing the Greater Yellowlegs I put down my camera to take in the pond. You can see how much the water has already receded/evaporated.

Pond at MErced NWR

…a Greater Yellowlegs

Greater Yellowlegs

I have a lot of images to go through and can’t share them all in this post. I haven’t even got to the second refuge images yet.

Nikon D700| AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4| AF-S Nikkor 14eII Teleconverter| braced with this beanbag.

More to come…

P52 38/52 Ruff Winter Plumage

Copyright © 2014 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Ruff Winter Plumage

This was a very exciting sighting for me, and most other birders in the area. This bird is a rare visitor to North America according to my Sibley’s Birds of North America book! It’s been hanging around a local salt pond for over a week now. I had a bit of time yesterday so went over in hopes of seeing and photographing it even though I was going over rather late in the morning. I got lucky! It was there in its favorite corner of the pond, but only for about 5 minutes before it flew off.  Thankfully it was enough time for me to capture this image.  I haven’t seen any reports of it today, but hope it’s still here.

Now, I want to travel north in the Spring to see the Male in Breeding Plumage. It’s an awesome looking bird. Reminds me of an English Judge and the fashion trend during Renaissance Times.

If you’ve never seen an image of a Male Ruff take a look at Nat Geo’s photo here

Nikon D700| AF-S Nikkor 300mm f4 w/Nikkor 14eII Teleconverter| Lexar Professional Digital Film

More to come…