Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Cassin's Kingbird, Tyrannus vociferans

Cassin's Kingbird, Tyrannus vociferans, Santee Lakes.  This delightful flycatcher is quite the singer, as evidenced by it's Latin name.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Will the Real Bird of Prey Please Stand Up?

Klingons, here is a real bird of prey!  Great Blue Heron, Santee Lakes.  These amazing birds hunt just about anything they can swallow, from your favorite Koi, right out of the pond, on down to ground squirrels, peaking out of their holes.


Santee Lakes

Had a wonderful stroll along Santee Lakes in Santee, California.  These man-made lakes are fed with reclaimed water and are just teaming with bird life!

Belted Kingfisher

Crow chasing a red-shouldered hawk.

Double-crested cormorant 

Grace's Warbler, Western Form 

 Nuttall's Woodpecker

 Osprey

 Phainopepla

 Red-Shouldered Hawk

 Red-Winged Blackbird

 Ruddy Duck getting out of Dodge!

Wood Duck, likely a beneficiary of one of the many wood-duck nesting boxes that have been added to the trees in the park.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

A Winter Stroll Along the Mission River

We spent the afternoon strolling along the Mission River, enjoying the variety and huge flocks of birds wintering along the tidal flats near the mouth of the Mission River.  The river is a favorite spot for birders with their binoculars and large telephoto lenses. A Winter walk along the river is a great way to get out and see all sorts of migratory waterfowl, all while staying within the city boundaries.

 This common merganser was hunting for fish between the boulders along the shore.

Two snowy egrets were following the common merganser, hoping to snatch a fish or two scared up by the merganser.

This Eurasian Wigeon was hanging out with the flocks of American Wigeons, a bit far from it's normal Eurasian breeding grounds.  This was the first time I've seen one of these; add another bird to the list!

White pelicans dipping their beaks into the water for fish in the Mission River.  When they found a school of fish, they would surround them, all seemingly dunking their heads in unison.  Watching them slowly drifting back and forth across the river, dunking their heads in and out of the water as they herded the schools of fish, was a total National Geographic moment.  These are not common here along the coast.  I'm feeling pretty lucky if I see them once a year; so, I was feeling pretty fortunate to see a whole flock of them.  Perhaps it has something to do with the recent rainstorm washing nutrients out into the river and stirring up a bunch of plant and animal life or perhaps it was just one of those random lifetime moments.

Northern Shoveler browsing for food in the Mission River.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Magic Island, Oahu

It was a brilliantly sunny day at Magic Island Park and everyone was out enjoying the weather...

 Cruise liner and a fishing boat.  Never play chicken with a cruise liner!

 Ala Wai Yact Harbor, Waikiki and Diamond Head

Kamehameha Canoe Club

Green sea turtle sunning at the surface

What nicer place to get married than on the beach in Hawaii?

Party on Mokoli'i Island

I'm used to seeing Mokoli'i as a quiet and peaceful view from Kualoa.  However, it was warm and sunny last Saturday and there was quite the party going on at Mokoli'i Island!  There were so many people, we found ourselves wondering if someone put the island in a guide book.  The beach was full of surfboards and kayaks and there were people wading between Kualoa park and Mokoli'i Island and others scaling the side of the slope.  The view is probably spectacular from the top of Mokoli'i and this camera nut looked wistfully over, wishing this little Nikon could take a panorama with a wide angle lens from the top.  Of course, that assumes that the camera made it over without getting soaked!  Perhaps one of these days, with a little preparation and a good, waterproof camera bag.

A nice peaceful view of Mokoli'i Island.  however, if you look closely, you'll see quite a crowd on the top and along the beach!

A buch of kayaks and surfboards/paddleboards along the shore.

People climbing down the somewhat treacherous slopes of Mokoli'i.

Even people wading back after enjoying the hike and view...

What do you think?  Would you be first on the list to scurry up those slopes to see that amazing view of the Koolau Mountains or does it seem like somewhere that people just don't belong?  It kind of looks like fun to me, but I can see both points of view.
  



Sunday, December 28, 2014

Shooting Photos on the Reef

I never get tired of watching the huge schools of fish grazing on algae and flowing with the waves.  I snapped over a hundred pictures before I was forced to head back to shore as the cold and shivering started to take its toll on those normally steady camera hands. The water had a fair amount of particulates, probably due to the recent rainstorms and, perhaps, due to  people feeding the fish nearby so not all of the pictures were clear enough to keep.  However, here are a few to give you an idea of the amazing variety of fish.


Convict tangs (Manini in Hawaiian) and Blue-lined Surgeon 

 Blue Parrotfish and Convict tangs

 Moorish Idol
 Rockmover Wrasse

 Snowflake Moray

 Threadfin Butterfly fish

White bar Surgeon and Convict Tang

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Queen's Surf

Finally a sunny day and a good excuse to get to the beach to snap some fish pictures.  Here's a few pictures of what we saw!

Bluespine Unicornfish

Cigar Wrasse

Lagoon Triggerfish

Orangespine Unicornfish (left) and Fantail filefish (right)


 Manini or Convict Tang and Bluespine Unicornfish browsing on algae on the reef.

 White Mouthed Moray, Gymnothorax melealgris, possibly a male and a female.

 White Mouthed Moray, Gymnothorax melealgris.

White Spotted Puffer

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Anahulu River and the Dole Plantation

American Anole on Bromeliad, hunting for ants.  The Bromeliad was about five feet tall, part of the beautiful gardens at the Dole Plantation.

Canoe team out practicing.  There were three canoes going up and down the river, dodging the crowd of paddleboarders and canoes.

Hawaiian Duck coming out of the water to beg for food.

Mongoose checking me out.  It walked past two cats and neither budged.  In fact, they gave no sign of seeing that mongoose, not even a head turn or a flick of a tail!  I suspect that they are old acqaintances...

Paddleboarding families on the Anahulu River.  One Mom chose to keep her kid up close on the kayak but the other let her kid get up on the paddle board with Dad! 

Green sea turtle coming up for air.  They stayed close to the top of the water, except when the paddleboarders got a little too close, making it easy to have your camera ready when they popped their heads up to breathe.  It seemed like there were four or five green sea turtles in the mouth of the Anahulu river, making for a nice turtle viewing spot for the passing paddle boarders, kayakers and for the people along the shore.

Two green sea turtles up for air at the same time!  Could it be that there were even more than four or five of these in that little patch of water?  I don't know why they are there; perhaps to eat algae or leaves/vegetation off of low lying trees.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Rainy Day Waterfalls at the Ho'omaluhia Botanical Gardens

It was really raining hard today, sometimes so hard it was tough to see out the windshield.  Most people were indoors at home or at the many malls, enjoying the holiday season.  However, I've been hoping to see one of the most spectacular displays Kaneohe has to offer, where the Koolau Mountain range just lights up with waterfalls!  Today was the day.

Waterfalls galore on a rainy day outing to the Ho'omaluhia Botanical Gardens!

 A damp but hungry chicken came up to the car hoping for food!

 Common Waxbill, Estrilda astrid.  These tiny little birds are so light, they can site on a blade of grass.

One of the many varieties of tropical plants at the botanical gardens.