National Bird Day 2017

Copyright ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

My photo friend Jan Timmons over on flickr pointed out that today is National Bird Day 2017.  You know how much I like birds so, to honor them on their special day here are some of my favorite birds. I made these images all in California during 2016.

Snowy Egret-Juvenile; pretty close to fledgling.

Snowy Egret- Juvenile

Clark’s Grebe w/chick and Fish-dawn

Clark's Grebe with Chick and Fish

The Elusive American Bittern- I’ve only seen these a handful of times.

American Bittern

and last but, not least our National Bird in the U.S.A. the Bald Eagle- Adult.  I’m so happy this bird is making a comeback in California.

Bald Eagle-Adult

Nikon D700| Nikkor 200-500mm| Lexar Professional Digital Film| PS CC 2017

Happy National Bird Day 2017!

More to come…

 

 

 

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Clark’s Grebes

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Today I thought I share some images from my Spring Grebe excursion.   We met at 5:45am to get out on the water to see the sun rise over the mountains and get that great light.

We were so fortunate to have a lovely morning with a rosy glow, and the Grebes were up and feeding already as well.

The male Grebes impressed me by how hard they work to feed the family.  I’ll try to convey that with some images.

The male making a fish transfer to his mate and a hungry chick poking its head out in anticipation;

Clark's Grebe Pair making fish transfer

…but that little fish was a slippery one and she dropped it, fortunately, she was able to retrieve it quickly!

Clark Grebe Pair

Here a Clark’s Grebe male is just about to make the transfer;

Clark's Grebe Male making Fish Transfer to Female

Here’s a Clark’s Grebe male feeding a fish directly to a chick. That fish looks too big for that tiny bill!

Clark's Grebe Male Transferring Fish to Grebe Chick

With several mouths to feed the male does a whole lot of fishing!

He helps with swimming lessons, and even gives the female a break by allowing the chicks to swim from Mom’s back to his. Western Grebes:  Yes, it’s a butt shot. 🙂

Western Grebes

Seeing this was so exciting and so darn adorable!!

Nikon D700| Nikkor 200-500mm| Lexar Professional Digital Film| PS CC 2015.5

Have a wonderful week-end Everyone!

More to come…

 

Clark’s Grebes

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I spent the week-end with old friends Theresa, Dali, and Alex birding up in Clear Lake. We went to see Grebes, we hoped dancing on the water.

We booked a boat with the same tour group we used last year Eyes of the Wild with Faith as our Captain. You can read that post here.

We booked early and Faith kept us abreast of the Grebe situation on the lake on and off up until our booking day. Last week she sent me a text message saying that courting had really slowed down, but she had a surprise. Babies were early and she’d found several pair of Grebes with babies! Did we still want to come up?

Did we still want to come up? OF COURSE WE DID!  We’d go to see the chicks alone! We had hoped to get up there again last summer to see Grebe chicks, but there was a huge fire, the drought, add to that predators, well, it all added up to a low number of Grebes and not too many babies so, we didn’t go back up last year. We went this time!

Here’s my favorite image today of the babies and their parents.

Grebe Family

Dad had brought the fish, made a perfect transfer of it to Mom, and the chicks were out and exposed from their Mom’s wings peeping their heads off to get that fish!  The morning light was lovely, and I managed to keep the shot in focus and made before the boat moved up or down with a swell!

This was such an exciting, wonderful,  beautiful sight to see!

We also saw a few dances. We saw Osprey pairs with chicks, and a really pretty sunset among the most notable things we saw this past week-end.

I came home with 1700 images to cull. I’ve made my first pass and deleted about 400 already.  I’ll try to break up the posts so I don’t bore you to death with images of Grebes all the time. 🙂

Nikon D700| Nikkor 200-500mm| SunDisk Digital Film|

More to come…

 

 

 

 

Clark’s Grebes Golden Hour Courtship Dance

Copyright ©2015 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Daylight starts pretty early this time of year so we met our Boat Captain at 5:45am to get in as much morning light as possible. Soon we were sailing far out into the lake to find the Grebes. It wasn’t long before Faith our Captain spotted a large group and headed for them.

Twilight turned to Dawn then Golden Hour.  We were very lucky to have been able to see this set of Clark’s Grebes dancing across the water with their breast mostly exposed to us during Golden hour. The warmth and color wasn’t like this for long.
Gosh, they were beautiful! This pair had a rather long run too.

Most the morning the Grebes danced away from us. Though Faith gave the Grebes plenty of space and room to dance our way they didn’t.
This was the very first dance we saw that morning. It turned out to be my favorite image. It happened so fast that I nearly missed it. Thankfully, Faith’s skill at spotting pairs that might dance, and her fast reflexes to get the boat in the right position she was able to alert us in time to catch this run.

Nikon D300s| AF-S Nikkor 300mm + Tamron 1.4x TC| Hand-held| Hoodman STEEL High Speed Digital Film| CS6

More to come…

Monochrome Madness 2/12: Clark Grebes Courtship Dance

Copyright © 2015 Deborah M. Zajac  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Over the week-end several friends and I went up to Lakeport, CA to view Western and Clark’s Grebes doing their annual Mating Rituals. Part of the ritual is the Courtship Dance. It’s absolutely amazing to watch.  We went out on the lake with Eyes of the Wild Pontoon Boat Tours at 5:45am. We followed several large groups of Grebes and watched, and photographed their mating behavior.

The males and females come together talking then they get really low in the water face to face, and their voices/tones change then in an instant they’re up; dancing together across the water’s surface!

Monochrome Madness 2/12-Clark's Grebes Courtship Dance

Sometimes they come together low in the water, talk a bit then change their minds about dancing, other times one will get up to dance and find he or she is all alone in the dance. 🙂

It was a fascinating, and entertaining morning on the lake.

To see all the other entries to Leanne Cole’s week 12 of Monochrome Madness 2 click here.

Nikon D300s| AF-S Nikkor 300mm + Tamron 1.4x TC| Hand-held| Hoodman STEEL High Speed Digital Film| CS6 & Silver Efex Pro 2

More to come…