Wild Wednesday 46/52 Tule Elk

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The smokey morning air from the Northern California Camp Fire diffused the morning sun giving the look of Golden Hour on the Tule Elk in the field.

Tule Elk Herd

The largest male with that beautiful rack is the Alpha Male with part of his herd and a couple of young bachelors in Central Valley at the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge.

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm @500mm| Hoodman STEEL Digital Film| PS CC 2019

more to come…

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Wild Wednesday 30/52 A Family Unit

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

We found more Wild Mustangs! It was an amazing long week-end.  The horses were cautious with our approach, but Jamie and I learned the ways while on our trip in July, so we approached as we were taught and sure enough the horses let us get near.  Nearer than we’d ever been!  One mare was overcome with curiosity and approached my friend T! She was a hair away from petting its nose before it startled a little.

I need to ask her if I can share that image. I was just 3 feet from her! Then the mare and her Stallion came heading for me, and I backed up…the Stallion gave me pause. What if he didn’t like me. I wasn’t ready for that fight! The mare understood and veered away.

Once a family unit crossed right between my friend Jamie and I. It was so close we had to back up!  It was incredible! They were within feet of me and her, and so close I couldn’t focus! Such a problem for a wildlife photographer to have right?  I wished I brought two cameras lemme tell ya! I regretted the decision not carry my second camera.

The horses stay more or less in family units of a mare, foal, older daughter, and the ever watchful and protecting Stallion.  The family units are spread out through the meadow with the bachelors are the outer edges.  The bachelors. There’s a whole nother subject, and I have images! I’ll share if you don’t get tired of horses.

Here’s one family that hung out close to us.  They’re beautiful, and the light was really good just then.

Family Unit

On the home-front:

It’s been wonderful having Big Baby Boy home. #1 Grandson is in heaven having him here, and the two are having good fun building with Legos, and going to the park together.  He and Baby Girl got some quality brother/ sister time in, and they even got to hang out with dear school friends while here.  I’m already dreading his departure on Thursday, but The Dark Haired Beauty, and work will be wanting, and needing him back.

The Wine Train was a lot of fun. We both enjoyed it and would do it again.  I didn’t get any good images of the exterior of the train engine. They don’t let you near it unless you’re in the first car and boarding. We weren’t we were in the last car.

I’m hoping we have a clear sky on the 27th through the 31 to photograph Mars. It will be the brightest and closest it’s been to Earth in 15 years I believe.  Even if you don’t want to photograph it go out and look!  It will be at its highest point at midnight and be visible most the night.  Look for it about 35 degrees from the southern horizon.

I hope your week is going well, and you have a wonderful week-end!

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm| Lexar Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come..

 

 

 

 

Wild Weds. 25/52 Family moments

Copyright ©Deborah M. Zajac  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

While out in the meadow observing the Wild Mustangs, and waiting for something to happen…because mostly all that horses do is eat! I happened to see this little family scene.

Family Unit

The horse on the far right wasn’t impressed so walked away and must have gestured or said something to the other adult because it started to get up…

Mare and Foal

Then I heard the rumble of horses hooves to my left and turned my camera to find it and saw this-

Get off my Dung Heap!

I missed what started it, but it was a mare, or a dung heap I’m guessing.  I learned a few things about Horse Behavior on this trip.  Stallions will fight over a pile of dung…their version of King of the Hill.

The Hazelnut brown horse chased the dark one all the way to the other side of the group.  Then all was calm again, and they went back to eating.

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm| SanDisk Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…

Wild Weds. 11/52 En Media Res

Copyright © Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I went hiking both Saturday and Sunday hoping to find something interesting in nature as well as stretch my legs, but I hoped to see wildflowers. Saturday I saw flowering trees looking lush and pink in their full bloom and not much else in the way of flowers. I did see a pair of Does resting in the grass near the creek at the bottom of the trail.  I really do think Deer are my Spirit Animal.  He-Man and I stuck to the wooded area trails and did the steep switchbacks to gain some elevation.  We hiked over 2 miles and gained approx. 500ft in elevation.  I also rode the Fit Desk for 4 miles on Saturday which did not burn off nearly enough calories! 😦

On Sunday I proposed a different route that would take us along meadow and grassy trails, but still be hiking uphill, and if I didn’t run out of steam I’d even go up the wall.  Our mileage wouldn’t much  over two miles, but the elevation gain would be close to 600 ft having to go uphill to the top of the mountain/hill then down to the valley and back up the steep hill, and WALL then down the back hill to the car.

I saw several wildflowers in  bloom, there were fiddle necks, Hounds Tooth, Pacific Pea; Lupine; and a few others, but the best came when hiking up the hill leading to the WALL.

He-Man was well ahead of me because I kept stopping to photograph flowers, new pine-cone buds, a lizard in camouflage or so it thought,  so I was making tracks trying to catch up before he hit the WALL- which is the last section of this hill, but it’s nearly vertical.  I’m not kidding it’s really steep.  The grade must be 9 or 10%. Everyone calls it the Wall.  Thankfully it’s fairly short from there to the top.

Anyway, I was looking high, low, and sideways for flowers, birds, insects, etc, and in a thicket of dry and dead thistle or teasel I spied something like leaves, and kept going up the hill a few steps then my brain said, ” uh, no there shouldn’t be leaves  like that on those, back up!” So, I did and look what I saw when I really looked at it!  A pair of Silvery Blue Butterflies en Media Res!

Silvery Gray Butterflies en Media Res 2

 

I have never seen this type of Butterfly before and never in this position! I was so thrilled and excited; doing my happy dance!

The Silvery Blue is in the Gossamer-Wing Family.  Its habitat is varied but, not in deserts, but there is an exception as they are found in the Mohave Desert.  They are found where there are Lupine, Pea family, and Vetches. All of which were present when I saw these two.  Their season here is Feb- Aug.

He-Man missed it completely. 😦  I was tired and running out  of gas so took the cutoff right before the wall so, gained a little more mileage, but a wee bit less elevation. Next week I’ll take my hiking poles and claim the Wall again! 🙂

I was so grateful to have seen this. I’m still Wowed by it!

I’ll share some of the wildflowers in future posts.

Happy Hump Day!

Nikon D810| Nikkor 105mm @f/5.6| ISO 400| 1/1250s| Handheld

more to come…

Wordless Wednesday 39/52 American Kestrel

Copyright © 2017 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Nikon D810; Nikkor 200-500mm @500mm | hand-held| SanDisk Digital Film| PS CC 2017

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Wordless Weds 34/52 The Sipping Station

Copyright ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The Sipping Station

Nikon Df| Nikkor 200-500mm| SanDisk Digital Film| PS CC 2017

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Rare Leucistic Hummingbird

Copyright © 2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I had heard there was a rare white Hummingbird in Santa Cruz at UC Santa Cruz’s Arboretum last year, but didn’t see it when I was there photographing Allen’s Hummingbirds that come to winter there.

This year a friend and I went over to find the tree it had been spotted  hanging out in and we found both the tree and the rare white Hummingbird straight-away.

Rare White Hummingbird

Here’s a  description of Leucism, “Leucism, a developmental condition resulting in the loss of pigmentation. Unlike albino birds, which can’t produce the pigment melanin, leucistic birds produce melanin but can’t deposit it into their feathers. Albino birds also have red or pink eyes, but this hummingbird’s eyes are black, along with its bill and feet.

What makes this Hummingbird so rare is that it is almost completely white. Most leucistic birds are only partially affected, and have white patches of feathers amid colored plumage.”~Audubon.org

I spoke with a woman working at the Arboretum after my visit to find out if this is the same Leucistic Anna’s Hummingbird that was there last May and she said, “they believe it is”.

Leucistic Hummingbird

It’s so striking, and pretty isn’t it?   Poor thing has some kind of infection on its bill. I asked about that too, but they haven’t captured the Hummer to do any tests on it. So, they don’t know what the infection is. She did say  he’s (it’s a male) getting better and the Hummingbird is zipping around acting healthy so, they’re letting nature run its course.

Leucistic Allen's Hummingbird

It flew away from its tree a few times, and I found it in the little fountain bathing but I wasn’t quick enough to get a photo of that. Unfortunately I spooked it.  I did manage a few images of it preening and cleaning its feathers afterwards though. Here’s one.

Preening Rare White Hummingbird

It was quite a treat to find this beauty so quickly, and observe it for a short while. It’s the first Leucistic bird of any kind I’ve ever seen.

I hope it returns next year and I’m lucky enough to see it again.

I hope you all have a wonderful week-end!

Nikon D700| Nikkor 200-500mm| Hoodman STEEL Digital Film| PS CC 2017

More to come…