April 24, 2017 Malhuer NWR, Oregon

Abandoned Ranch
Abandoned Ranch

More From Malhuer National Wildlife Refuge

Ruddy Drake
Ruddy Drake

Always get a kick out of the male Ruddy Duck and his sky blue bill during breeding season.

Redhead Pair
Redhead Pair
Redheads Takeoff
Redheads Takeoff

Plenty of ducks encountered this week while driving through the refuge and was able to get a few decent flight shots when there was enough light, lots of overcast mornings.

Ring-neck Drake Takeoff
Ring-neck Drake Takeoff
Mallard Drake in Flight
Mallard Drake in Flight
Gadwall Takeoff
Gadwall Takeoff
Cinnamon Teal Pair
Cinnamon Teal Pair

This pair of Cinnamon Teal have been found on this spot every day this week, so I assume she is sitting on some eggs.

Cinnamon Teal Drake
Cinnamon Teal Drake
Avocets
Avocets

American Avocets hunting along the flooded fields.

Long-billed Curlew
Long-billed Curlew
Sandhill Crane
Sandhill Crane

This Sandhill was one of several pairs out hunting the flooded cow pastures along the highway.

Ferruginous Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk

A completely drenched Ferruginous hawk manning his roadside hunting perch during one of this week’s showers.

Ferruginous Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk

The look says it all, he doesn’t care for this weather any more than I do.

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April 22, 2014 Bridgeport Reservoir, California

Common Merganser drake
Common Merganser drake

Snow Squalls and a Wasted Chance at Some Bald Eagles

I awoke this morning to some pretty chilly weather and a little bit of snow. Wind was fierce last night, blowing in Spring snow squalls.

Snow squalls today
Snow squalls today

I drove down to the river below the dam once it stopped snowing, and got some shots of the common mergansers, cinnamon teal, and the mallard pair.

As always, just click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Mallard pair takeoff
Mallard pair
Common merganser pair
Common merganser pair
Common merganser pair
Common merganser pair
Cinnamon teal pair
Cinnamon teal pair

On the way back to the dam, I spotted 2 bald eagles harassing what I figured was a vulture in the top of a dead tree next to the road at eye level with the road.

Bald eagle in flight
Bald eagle in flight

Unfortunately I still had my 1.4 TC on and had too much lens, so I lost time getting that off, then the camera had trouble focusing on the eagle in flight with a solid background of trees on the far slope of the river below, plus it had begun snowing again. The pair of eagles swooped in a circle around the tree twice while I tried to get a decent shot, but then a truck pulled off the road and headed down the dirt road directly under the tree the eagles were circling and drove them off. I never did get a shot in focus. What a great opportunity wasted!

Immature bald eagle
Immature bald eagle

The truck quickly turned around and came back on the highway and went on his way. I then noticed that what I assumed was a vulture in the treetop was actually a subadult bald eagle, so I made my way down the dirt road to try and get a shot before it took off. Alas, the only clear shot angle was directly into the glare of the sun behind the snow squall blowing through, so, once again, no decent photo.

Feeder full of yellow headed blackbirds
Feeder full of yellow headed blackbirds
Yellow headed blackbird eating midges
Yellow headed blackbird

 

 

 

 

 

 

InGrassVert

Back at the campsite, my feeder that was full of jays yesterday now was full of yellow headed blackbirds.

Yellow headed blackbird eating midges
Yellow headed blackbird

 

Yellow headed blackbird eating midges
Yellow headed blackbird

As the sun popped in and out of the swift moving clouds, I couldn’t resist adding just a few more shots of the blackbirds grabbing midges, if you couldn’t tell, I really enjoyed catching this action.

April 21, 2014 Bridgeport Reservoir, California

Western grebe pair
Western grebe pair

More Waterfowl

I ran down to the Bridgeport Reservoir Dam early this morning and got a shot of a pair of western grebes fishing.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Western grebe pair
Western grebe pair

I then drove farther down the road along the Clark River, stopping a couple of times and stealthily walking down through the sagebrush to the river’s edge trying to capture some duck shots before, or as they flew off.

Common merganser pair
Common merganser pair
Mallard pair takeoff
Mallard pair
Cinnamon Teal
Cinnamon Teal
Mallard drake in flight
Mallard drake in flight
Mallard pair takeoff
Mallard pair

It is amazing the number and diversity of ducks on this small, gorgeous river. I was told that this is one of the three most famous trout streams in the west, but I am impressed as much by the number of ducks it attracts. This morning I have found several Cinnamon Teal, Buffleheads, Common and Hooded Mergansers, Wood Ducks, Widgeons, a pair of Redheads, Mallards, Northern Shovelers, and Ring necked ducks all in just a half mile stretch of this 30 foot wide stream. Also present were several cormorants, grebes, and a white pelican. Quite a spot. Only issue is being able to sneak up on them with no trees to hide behind, and when they spook and take off, the camera finds it difficult to gain focus quick enough against the hillside brush on the far side of the stream.

Around 8:30, I took off for a return trip to Bodie. After driving all the way up there, I turned back at the start of the 3 mile dirt road in because of the white, overcast skies, no sun whatsoever. I figured there was no sense in beating the car up on the 3 miles of bad road when the resultant images would most likely not be all that good with the poor light.

So I returned home to process images and work on blog posts. I plan to head up to Carson City tomorrow but the weather calls for strong winds with a rain and snow mix, so I may extend my stay here another day. I have no desire to get caught on the road in that kind of weather, especially since I don’t know what kinds of elevations I may meet between here and Carson City.

Pinyon jays crowding the feeder
Pinyon jay
Mallard pair takeoff
Mallard pair
Mallard drake in flight
Mallard drake in flight

 

 

 

 

Mallard drake in flight
Mallard drake in flight
Cinnamon Teal
Cinnamon Teal

 

 

 

 

October 10, 2013 Road Runner RV Park Espanola, New Mexico

Eagle Lake State Park and Cimarron Canyon State Park

Took a long day trip out past Taos to investigate two New Mexico State parks, Eagle Nest Lake and Cimarron Canyon. Took 76 to 518 towards Taos and then 64 east to the two state parks. Eagle Nest Lake was a complete disappointment as the lake is probably down 40 or 50 % and sits in the middle of a treeless valley next to a little tourist type village, not very pretty and held no appeal whatsoever to me.

I imagine in the summer heat, at an elevation over 8000 feet, it probably is pretty appealing to the natives as a place to escape the heat. It is said that the lake is also a premiere trout fishing hotspot.

A bit farther east on 64 and you pass through Cimarron canyon. There are 3 campgrounds on the side of 64 in the canyon, the 2 more westerly campgrounds, though in a pleasant location, both are really tight for larger RV’s and the sites are pretty close to one another. The campground on the east side of the canyon is basically a large parking lot with curbside type sites that a larger rig could fit in but still very tight and way too close together, not very appealing at all. The canyon itself is quite picturesque with a nice little trout stream running the length of the canyon.

Returned home via 64 and then 68 which takes you through the “ Grand Canyon of the Rio Grande”, an interesting scenic bit of road running along the Rio Grande River. Calling it the “Grand Canyon” may be overplaying the hand a bit, but nonetheless, an interesting stretch of road to travel.

I really want to stay in New Mexico to catch the sandhill cranes and snow geese arriving in November at Bosque del Apache NWR ( assuming the government resumes operations, of course ) and so will basically be sitting around for the better part of the rest of October without a lot to post.

Roseate spoonbill landing
Roseate spoonbill landing

Please bear with me as I am going through a rather boring stay in New Mexico while awaiting the government shutdown to end so I can resume my travels. I am using this down time to get caught up on computer work, mainly image processing and tossing. One of the hardest things I have to force myself to do is to go through all my photo downloads and throw out images, I always have that nagging feeling that I may someday need an image as a painting reference and so am hesitant to throw everything that is not a saleable image in the trash. As a result, especially after upgrading to my Nikon D800 and its huge files, space on my iMac keeps being regularly devoured every time I download a day’s worth of images and don’t mercilessly  go through and throw everything but the absolute best.

Great egrets nest greeting
Great egrets nest greeting
Northern shovelers in flight
Northern shovelers in flight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since I am spending all my time this month working on old files, I will supplement this blog with images taken previously but not processed until now, until such time as I can resume my travels and display new shots. All of these images were taken last winter on the East coast of Texas.

Great egrets nest greeting
Great egrets nest greeting
Great egret arriving home
Great egret arriving home
Great Egret
Great Egret

 

 

 

 

 

Great Egret landing
Great Egret landing
Mating Cinnamon Teal
Mating Cinnamon Teal
Snowy egret breeding colors
Snowy egret breeding colors