Plan B is for the Birds

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

My original Photography plans for last week-end fell apart mid-week when one of the friends I was going with fell ill.  Rather than go anyway which didn’t sit well with me or my friend Theresa we two switched gears and decided to go birding in the Central Valley to see what birds if any had arrived early.

I had read a few reports of early migrants in the area; we hoped to find one or two, and spend some time catching up with each other.

I left for T’s house early (6:30am) so we’d get to the Refuge in the morning when the birds are more active.

We found the first pond completely sans water. Fish and Wildlife have just started filling the ponds we discovered. Many of the ponds we’re used to seeing full of water were bone dry, but it is early in the season!

Just as we were starting the auto-route we spied a Doe and her Fawn in the tall grass. I didn’t get an image of them together. Mom decided her male Fawn was too close to the road and moved to higher grass.  Honestly, I think she looks young!

Doe  Deer Female

The Fawn has two little adorable antler nubs.Fawn Male

Early arrivals: There were quite a few White-fronted Geese on the little islands in the ponds that had water.

White-fronted Goose

Northern Pintails, and Shovelers are showing up, but I didn’t make any images of the Shovelers they were too far out. You see a Northern Pintail in image above giving me a one wing salute. 🙂

Among the usual suspects here were thousands of Dragonflies,

Dragon Fly

Pied-billed Grebes

Pied-billed Grebe

Night Herons; most were deep in the foliage, but one was on Sentry duty,

Night Heron

We saw a female Harrier flying low in the distance hunting, a few Red-tail Hawks, and as we approached the tree the Bald Eagles hang out in there we saw there was a Peregrine Falcon perched on a snag surveying the land.

Copyright © 2016 Deborah M. Zajac ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Once the Eagles return I doubt we’ll be seeing this Falcon in this tree. 🙂

Plan B turned out to be a great day, and it was lovely  hanging out with Theresa. You can find her images on flickr here.

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

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…

Just Be There with…

Just be there….

…with Rainey Shuler

Wildlife photographers know all too well how hard it is to get a great photo of their subject.  It takes long hours of studying their behavior, and being familiar with their territory.

In this edition Rainey Shuler dedicated bird photographer tells us how her experience, persistence and patience paid off in this story of the Pied-billed Grebes.

Photograph by Rainey Shuler

Pied-billed Grebe Nest-2009

CR: Tell us about this location.

Rainey:  The location is at the Struve Slough in Watsonville, CA which has a lovely walking path for viewing many types of birds including nesting Pied-billed Grebes and American Coots.  You can also find Bitterns, Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Osprey, Kingfishers, Double-crested Cormorants, Black-crowned Night Herons, Green Herons and many other birds there depending on the season.

We had spotted this Mama and 7 eggs around mid May, 2009.  It was close enough to the shore that I was able to sit on a chair with my camera mounted on a Tripod and chronicle the whole story.  I would go there almost every day around 5-6:00 p.m. in the afternoon.   I chronicled the entire family; first one chick, then two, until 5 eggs hatched.   As long as the last two eggs remained in the nest the parents would not give up on trying to incubate those remaining eggs…it wasn’t until June 20th that the last of the two eggs disappeared into the slough and at that time the entire family left the site, which was four days after I took this shot.

CR: How difficult was this to capture?

Rainey: The most difficulty in getting a shot like this is just having enough patience to wait and capture certain moments.  I spent approximately 2 hours just sitting and waiting for special moments to occur and during times like this I can end up shooting 200-500 shots to get just the right moment. Of course exposure can be difficult with these dark colored birds on a foggy day so the right ISO and shutter speed is very important.

CR:  How did you expose for this shot?

Rainey: I used a Canon Rebel XTi and a 100-400mm lens with a UV filter.  For this shot in the late afternoon I had to increase my ISO to 800 and set the shutter speed at 1000 to capture any action.  I chose an aperture of  f6.3. I used a tripod and natural light.

To see more of Rainey’s work visit her here.

Rainey on flickr