This little guy is a celebrity who is drawing large crowds of birders and photographers from around the continent to the Colusa National Wildlife Refuge in California’s Pacific Fly-way belt.
His native home is China where I’ve read they’re hunted extensively. The burning question is did he migrate, is he a stow-away, or an escapee from a private zoo? No one knows how he came to be here, but they have been spotted in California further north of here in Lassen County back in 1969, 2002, and 2003.
His name Falcated refers to his sickle-shaped wing feathers.
I called him feisty because he was not shy about telling off the American Wigeons he was swimming peacefully with only seconds before.
I think he’s taken a fancy to the female Wigeon and is showing off his lovely iridescent colors, and fine plumage.
Below he’s swimming with White-fronted Geese and a male American Wigeon.
This celebrity doesn’t sign autographs or grant interviews, but don’t let that stop you from going to see him. It’s been said before and I’ll say it again, “This is no ugly duckling!”
I spent the first few days of 2012 photographing parts of the Eastern Sierras with dear friends. This was our 2nd Annual New Years Photo Trip.
There wasn’t much snow in the high country so we were able to cross Tioga Pass to get to our base camp which was in Bishop, CA. From there we were pretty central to everything we had hoped to photograph. We roamed from Mammoth on the northern end to Alabama Hills in the south.
Sunrises, sunsets, and a bit of scouting during the day was on the agenda, and on our first night we had a clear sky so we drove south to Ancient Bristle Pine Cone National Park and shot in the Patriarch Grove. The elevation is between 10,000 and 11,000ft. Because the air is so thin up here these trees grow slowly. This harsh environment makes their wood denser and stronger to resist pests, and disease. The oldest tree is 4600 years old! Their twisted limbs and odd shapes make great subjects and foreground for star trails.
Once you get the focus sharp, your settings selected, and your intervelometer set up you can sit back and watch the sky, or do what we did; go back to the car and turn on the heater. It was 26 degrees outside!
This star trail is made from 82 frames each were 58 second exposures. I cloned out 6 airplanes and 1 shooting star.
The trip was great fun, and I’m looking forward to our 2013 New Years Photo adventure.