Friday, October 28, 2011

Shore Birds, Monterey Bay, Asilomar Shore

Our weekly Bird Walks continue with a productive day along the Bay in Pacific Grove, California. The Point Pinos Lighthouse is one of the oldest continuously operating lighthouses on the California coast. It is always a welcome sight.
These shots are all taken with a Nikon D7000 with a 300mm f/4 lens with a 2.0x teleconverter. Shutter speed is set manually at 1/1000 shooting with the lens wide open at f/8, ISO is variable depending on the available light. We find that this combination does auto-fucus quite well although most references from Nikon and other sources suggest  that focusing is not as fast or reliable. It certainly makes an ideal walk-around combination for documenting the local wildlife. 

Crespi Pond is between the lighthouse and the Bay and we always find Coots in the golf course grass and gulls bathing in the pond.

The shoreline nearby hosts many species. This day was typical as we saw many of the expected birds. There is a constant movement of Brown Pelicans soaring along the shoreline. This first year bird shows the expected lighter coloration.

Working the shoreline are the Willets which are often in small groups and Whimbrels which are usually solitary. 

This day we saw the Ruddy Turnstone that was among a group of Black Turnstones. Here we see a good size comparison between the two species. Wikipedia information on the Ruddy Turnstone can be found here.

We didn't get a good profile shot of the Ruddy Turnstone but this shot shows a bit more detail.

We also saw a grouping of a Surf Bird, a Black Turnstone and a Black-bellied Plover. It was unusual to see all three together.

On the sandy area just above the high tide line we spotted a solitary Western Meadowlark. We got several poses that show the coloration. Although quite common in the western US, this is the first one we have seen along the Monterey Bay Shore. Wikipedia information on the Western Meadowlark can be found here.

The Glaucous-winged Gull is seen far less often along the shore. This example shows the typical "dusty" head coloration that is quite different from the more common Western Gull. Wikipedia information about the Glaucous-winged Gull can be found here.

We often see Great Egrets feeding in the kelp beds offshore but this day we found one feeding right at the waters edge.

Inland Birds, Monterey Bay, Laguna Grande Park, Seaside, California

Now that Fall has arrived, we have begun the weekly bird walks after a summer of fog, marine layer and recovery. This day was overcast like so much of the summer which restricted the quality of the photos. It was our first outing in a while that resulted in seeing this fine example of a Red-shouldered Hawk in a tree that usually is the perch for Eurasian Collared Doves. This day the doves were scarce.

We often see White-fronted Geese in the park. This one was near the volleyball court. Wikipedia information on the White-fronted Goose can be found here.

On the pond we saw more of the expected species like this Eared Grebe.

On the bushes near one of the walking trails we spotted a pair of House Finches. This shot of the male was the best shot we were able to get.

Coots are always on the pond and we enjoy seeing them moving about. Since they are more tame, we get better close-ups of them. This one was a particularly good pose.

There were a few Ruddy Ducks on the pond but none really close. This shot of a female was the best we were able to get this day.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Monterey Bay, Asilomar Shore, Shore BIrds at High Tide

The other day we went out to the Asilomar Shore along Monterey Bay in Pacific Grove and found a particularly productive section of beach at high tide. The birds were working the waters edge which was washing far up onto the beach and dried kelp.
We have been watching Black-bellied Plovers in this ares for several weeks and we find now that they have almost completely finished their late Summer molt. Here we see one of many on the shore, this one in fine winter plumage.

Also in this same stretch of beach we saw two Willets among the other birds.

A solitary Whimbrel was nearby. This one stayed in the area the longest.

There were many Black Turnstones on the beach often very close to the Willets. This one was quite far away and this shot is cropped more than some of the others.

There was one Killdeer right at the waters edge but this one was moving fast (as was the surf) so we only got this compromised shot. We have seen many Killdeers in this general location throughout the summer and fall.

Finally, we saw a solitary Sanderling among the other busy birds.

All these shots were taken with a Nikon D7000, a Nikon 300mm f4 lens with a 2x Teleconverter. We have found that his equipment delivers pretty good image quality while still auto focusing well when there is good light. This day the sun was quite strong.