Wild Wednesday 33/52 Snowy Plovers

Copyright © 2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

While at the beach a couple weeks ago to photograph the Moon we came across a protected area where we discovered Snowy Plovers nesting.

They’re a small shorebird found on beaches, and barren ground all across North American Gulf and Pacific coasts and here and there in California, Texas, and Saskatchewan inland areas. They are also found in South America, and Eurasia.

Snowy Plover

Neat facts from allaboutbirds.org:

The Snowy Plover will many time raise two broods a year, and sometimes three in places where the breeding season is long.  The female deserts her mate and brood about the time the chicks hatch and initiates a new breeding with a different male.

Snowy Plover in Nest

Young Snowy Plovers leave their nest within three hours of hatching! They flatten themselves on the ground when a parent signal the approach of people or possible predators.  They walk, run, and swim well and forage unaided by parents, but need periodic brooding for many days after hatching.

The oldest recorded Snowy Plover was at least 15 years, 2 months old when it was spotted in the wild in California and identified by its band. ~allaboutbirds.org

This one was really close to the edge of the protected nesting area which was great. It gave us really great looks, and photo ops.

Snowy Plover

Sadly, the Snowy Plover population is listed as Near Threatened as their numbers are in decline.  It’s believed their habitat is in decline due to habitat alteration, and increased recreational use of beaches.

I was happy to see this section roped/taped off, and no one breached the barrier while I was there so, it looks like people are respecting them, and the rules to stay out of the area while they’re nesting. I hope that bodes well for a successful breeding season for these cute little shorebirds.

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

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

more to come…

 

 

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Wild Wednesday 31/52 The Moon, and Mars

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The 27th was the Full Buck Moon, or Blood Moon because there was a Total Lunar Eclipse that night, unfortunately, not seen here in North America.  I just went out to my backyard to photograph it.  It wasn’t red by the time it rose over the mountains and I was able to see it from my yard, but it had a lovely warm glow.

Full Buck Moon

The 28th, Saturday, several friends and I met in Santa Cruz, CA to photograph the Moon and Mars from a favorite “go to” spot; Walton’s Lighthouse.

I was watching the fog/cloud weather report all day, and it looked good until 5pm just when we were meeting. We met at Marianne’s Ice Cream parlor. Another “go to”, “must stop” , “it’s tradition” places while in Santa Cruz. They have 105 different ice creams to choose from. It’s not easy picking just one! I had a Jr. cup of Banana, Almond ice cream. It was good, but I wish it had more banana in it. No pictures I’m afraid. I always forget to do that!   Despite the low fog we continued on and photographed sunset-it was one of those soft pink evenings. This is looking/facing ESE more or less.

Belt of Venus Surrounds the Walton Lighthouse

We didn’t think there would be much hope of seeing the Moon rising just above the lighthouse because of the thick band of fog behind the lighthouse so we moved to higher ground and hoped for some breaks in the fog/low cloud band.

In the image below: Mars (right of and higher than lighthouse) rose higher than fog band first, and I think that other tiny bright object to the right of it near the edge of the image is part of the constellation Sagittarius. Or Spica? I’m not sure.

I love that Bonfires, well, not huge ones are still allowed at this beach. A lifeguard came out to make a group put out a large one in the black spot in the lower right of my image. I’m sure they were not happy about that.

Mars Shines Red over Santa Cruz CA

We  walked north and set up on higher ground; a cliff overlooking the beach and while we were shooting Mars a teenage boy asked me what we were photographing, and as I was explaining about Mars, and hoping the Moon would rise above the fog I looked back toward the lighthouse and saw the Moon, it was above the lighthouse as we planned it to be, and it was RED! Then I excitedly pointed that out to him, and my companions.  The boy said, ” Coool!” So, did I! 😊 This is my favorite of the images I made of the scene.

Waxing Gibbous Moon and Mars over Walton Lighthouse

I have no idea who the person with the spot/flash light in line with the lighthouse below on the beach is, but their alignment is nearly perfect right?  That’s Mars to the right, higher than the Moon. Not so red in this image though…the Moon was stealing that color.

Anyway, we all were thrilled after thinking we’d not see the Moon above the lighthouse at all.

When we all had our fill of the Moon, Mars, the Lighthouse, and beach we went to a diner for a quick, late dinner then headed home. Traffic hit a snag near Los Gatos and we crawled for miles. There was no wreck or construction Thank God! Just going home from the beach, Summertime, Silicon Valley traffic all reaching the bottom of the Santa Cruz mountains at the same time.  I got home just about Midnight tired, but very happy with the photography and spending time with good friends.  Though some were missed! You know who you are. 😉

He-Man had the light on for me, and was waiting up for me sorta, kinda snoozing on the sofa in the family room.   I know he’s a Keeper!  He went to bed, and I got my images uploading then got myself ready for bed, and lastly I checked to make sure all my images uploaded sans problemes then Diva Dog and I joined He-Man for good night’s rest.

I coulda slept til noon I’m sure Sunday morning, but Diva Dog, and Box the Guinea Pig were not having it.  There’s a down side to being an early riser normally when you have pets. They’re never. sleeping. in! Evah! LOL! Since we were up He-Man and I had really nice bike ride around the neighborhood together. That has only happened a few times in our 39 years together! He’s the cyclist. I’m the sluggish hiker, and his cheerleader.  We may do this again. It was pretty nice.

We’re halfway to the week-end! I hope you all are having a good week.  I have nothing. NOTHING planned to photograph this week-end.   I’m going to think of something. What do you have fun/good planned? Anything?

Nikon D810| Nikkor 24-120mm f4, and Nikkor 200-500mm| Hoodman Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…

 

 

 

 

Thunder Moon or Full Buck Moon

Copyright ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I stayed close to home this past week-end after having been gone for two week-ends in row. It was nice hanging out with He-Man at home.  Saturday we got in a morning hike, but left later than we should have. By 9am it was already 82°.  We selected a trail that would lead us up to the Redwoods, and Oaks and shade.

We spent the rest of the afternoon indoors with air conditioning.

Saturday evening a good friend and I headed over the hill to Santa Cruz to our traditional Full Moon over the Walton Lighthouse shot.  If you’ve been following me awhile you’ll have seen this lighthouse on my blog before featuring the Moon. I shot the July Moon over this lighthouse last year. Click here.

The weather over the hill was the complete opposite of home. It was still in the 80’s when we left San Jose, but it was in mid 60’s with a breeze on the coast.  I couldn’t get into my hoodie, and wind-breaker fast enough.  I even broke out my gloves!

I set up my rig where I had plotted the Moon to line up over the Lighthouse, but was prepared to move quickly if I needed to adjust my position.  Here’s where we first spotted the Moon rising.  It was faint due to the low marine layer in the air.

Walton Lighthouse and Thunder Moon

We relocated down to the shore and soon the Moon lined up over the Lighthouse.

Copyright © Deborah M. Zajac
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

This is a two frame blended composited image.  The base image had a clear view of the water, and good Moon/lighthouse alignment, but the light wasn’t shining in the Lighthouse so, I blended in the shot right after this one which had the light on. Why not just use that shot you might be asking? Three people walked into the frame obscuring the water.  So, I took the best of both frames blending them together to make the image I wanted to make.

Friday night I went out to the backyard to photograph the Waxing 98.8% Moon.  This is slightly cropped.

July Buck Moon Waxing 98.8%

The July Moon is called Thunder Moon

“Named due to the prevalence of summer thunder storms. It’s sometimes referred to as the Full Buck Moon because at this time of the year, a buck’s antlers are fully grown.”~ https://uk.news.yahoo.com/complete-list-every-full-moon-141136773.html

Since I rarely hear the Thunder but, do see Bucks I think of it more as the Full Buck Moon.

Sunday was a pretty lazy day. I won’t lie. I. Was. A. Slug. 🙂 It was too hot to do much outside although it was cooler by a few degrees.

I hope you had a lovely week-end, and you have a wonderful week!

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

more to come…

 

 

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…

California Quail

Copyright © 2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

When I was setting up my rig a few weeks ago in Santa Cruz to photograph Hummingbirds a California Quail jumped up on an old weathered post not too far from me surrounded by lovely flowers.  I moved pretty quick to finish setting up my tripod w/Sidekick and mounting my camera hoping it would stick around!

California Quail on Post

“You lookin’ at me?”…

California Quail- The Look

A little Morning Stretch…

California Quail-Morning Stretch

Seeing and photographing this Quail first thing in the morning made my day. They’re so quick, and skittish that I’ve only been able to get a few good images of any.  The rest of the images I made this day were icing on the cake.

Nikon D700| Nikkor 200-500mm VR| Lexar Professional Digital Film| PS CC 2015

Wishing you all a great week-end!

More to come…

 

 

 

Thursday Doors 11/52 Nº111

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

While in Santa Cruz over the week-end photographing  Hummingbirds I saw this door that I thought was nice looking, so stopped to take the photo for today’s door post.Front door with cat decoration and pots

Every cat in the neighborhood must feel welcome here.

Nikon Df| Nikon 28-105mm| Delkin Devices Digital Film| PS CC 2015

This post is part of Norm 2.0 Thursday Doors. To see all the doors posted this week click  here then click on the little blue view/sync up button at the bottom of his page where you’ll be directed to links to all those participating.

Are there Bonus points for having a car door in the reflection?  🙂

More to come…

 

After the Storm

Copyright © 2015 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

After the Storm DEDPXL08

Nikon Df| AF-S Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8 + BW 6 StopND Filter| Tripod| Hoodman STEEL Ultra High Speed Digital Film| CS6| Silver Efex Pro 2

More to come…