Kim's Sight - Nature Photography and Artwork by Kim Moore: Blog http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog en-us All images (C) Kim Moore (contact for use) kims.sight@verizon.net (Kim's Sight - Nature Photography and Artwork by Kim Moore) Thu, 01 Jun 2017 16:56:00 GMT Thu, 01 Jun 2017 16:56:00 GMT http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/img/s9/v89/u942521291-o243173337-50.jpg Kim's Sight - Nature Photography and Artwork by Kim Moore: Blog http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog 120 80 Sights of May 2017 http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/sights-of-may-2017 Birds, Bugs, Travel, Computer Crashes. 

I saw some of the May migrating birds, but missed quite a few. Between my travels, my birding buddy away, and my major computer crash and subsequent new computer recovery, I just didn't get out to catch them during the short window of opportunity. But it was a lovely month anyway. Some bird highlights were an Ovenbird (who would give a bird such a sad name), two Yellow-crowned Night Herons that have been hanging out in my local park (unfortunately, one became entangled in fishing line and is now at a bird rescue center), a Hammond's Flycatcher, and a Snowy Plover sitting on eggs (her nest has been protected from predators by a mesh cage and from people by caution tape barriers).

I took a trip with Audubon to the West Fork San Gabriel River. We saw some nice birds, but the trees have grown quite leafy which makes it harder for bird photography. However, there was an amazing number of butterflies. There were literally hundreds, and maybe more than a thousand, Variable Checkerspots and several types of blues. I photographed eleven species and missed shots of another four or five. There were more butterflies on my bird walk than on my Irvine Ranch monthly butterfly count. At Irvine Ranch we saw a relatively high number of Brown Elfin; we have rarely seen any in the past. A few small gopher snakes were also a highlight. We had a night of blacklighting at Irvine Ranch. It was spectacular! Great diversity with highlights including what I photographed: daddy longlegs, some caddisflies, over 20 species of moths, about 10 species of beetles, and various other insects. There are still a few yet to be identified at the bottom. Any help?

A little further from home, I went to Devon England for a family trip. The weather was lovely and we enjoyed the family visits and the countryside.

Watch the slideshows or click on the links to look through at your own pace.

Enjoy the show! I always appreciate corrections to ID's.

Local stuff:    http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/new_may_2017 
(insects and spiders first this time, scroll for birds, flowers, and art)

Irvine Ranch Butterfly Count:    http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/irc_may_2017

Irvine Ranch Backlight Night:    http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/irc_night_may_2017

West Fork San Gabriel River:    http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/west_fork_san_gabriel_may_2017

 

 

Devon an Somerset, UK:  http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/uk_may_2017

 

 

 

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kims.sight@verizon.net (Kim's Sight - Nature Photography and Artwork by Kim Moore) bird photography birds insects http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/sights-of-may-2017 Thu, 01 Jun 2017 14:38:53 GMT
Sights of April 2017 http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/5/sights-of-april-2017 So many birds, so many insects, so little time. I get distracted by everything all at once, so I had to visit some places twice: once to go birding and then again to look for insects. I went with a different group of people and different camera gear. Madrona Marsh, Sycamore Canyon in Whittier, Whittier Narrows Nature Center, Oak Canyon Nature Center in Aneheim, and local parks in Long Beach were just a few of the places I visited locally. Insect highlights included a Tomato Hornworm Caterpillar losing a fight with a Western Fence Lizard, images of larva, pupa, and adult Twice-struck lady beetle, and many butterflies. Spiders included a very large Araneus and a Slender Crab Spider. There have been many birds with migration season in force. First came through waves of Bullock's Orioles, then so many Western Tanagers it was hard to count. I saw more Warbling Vireos this month than I have seen in my lifetime. A  bright red Summer Tanager and a deep blue Blue Grosbeak were highlights.

Irvine Ranch was filled with wildflowers, butterflies, and a lazy Gopher Snake who would not leave the trail.

Boeing hosted a hike at the Santa Susana Field Lab for Earthday. It was a special event that you had to sign-up for.  A friend of mine had connections so not only did we join the hike but we got a private mini-tour of some of the other areas. The hike was long, very hot, and at a a pace, but I loved the area and was with good company.  Santa Susana Field Laboratory, according to Wikipedia was used mainly for the development and testing of liquid-propellant rocket engines for the United States space program from 1949 to 2006, nuclear reactors from 1953 to 1980 and the operation of a U.S. government-sponsored liquid metals research center from 1966 to 1998. Now the facility is closed, and they are removing the buildings and cleaning up the site.

 

Watch the slideshows or click on the links to look through at your own pace.

Enjoy the show! I always appreciate corrections to ID's.

Local stuff:    http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/new_apr_2017 
(insects and spiders first this time, scroll for birds, flowers, and art)

Irvine Ranch Butterfly Count:    http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/irc_apr_2017

Santa Susana Field Laboratoy:  http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/santa_susana_field_laboratory

 

 

 

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kims.sight@verizon.net (Kim's Sight - Nature Photography and Artwork by Kim Moore) bird photography birds insects http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/5/sights-of-april-2017 Mon, 01 May 2017 14:56:03 GMT
"I wish I brought the other lens" http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/4/i-wish-i-brought-the-other-lens As a nature photographer of birds, insects, occasional plants, mammals, and reptiles, it is hard to leave the house in the morning, because one big decision I need to make is what equipment to bring. Of course there are many factors that go into that decision, and I try to anticipate what I will see and what I want to do. However, inevitably, at some point during the day I say either to myself, or more often out loud, "I wish I brought the other lens." Here are some of my thoughts about what I carry.

My main camera is a Nikon D7100 (24.1-megapixel DX-format CMOS image sensor). I recently bought a second body as a spare with a slightly different strap configuration. I don't carry them both at the same time, but may pack them in the car if it is for a longer trip. I also have a point-and-shoot Nikon Coolpix P300 which slips neatly in a pocket. I frequently carry it to shoot pictures of the habitat. My phone is not the most high tech and so is not good for photos. I may change that in the future. I carry a spare camera battery. The camera has two slots for SD cards. This has been handy for when I forget to put one back in after loading the previous batch of photos to my computer.

Tamron 150 to 600mm lens. BlackRapid shoulder strap. Cotton Carrier hand strap.

I mostly shoot handheld. If I am going birding then I will bring my Tamron 150 to 600mm lens. I carry it with a BlackRapid shoulder strap attached to the tripod mount.

The camera and lens are pretty heavy, so I use it for shorter walking distances (max about 2 miles). I have tried a monopod but it has never been successful for me. Many birds are in the trees or flying at different angles, and I often need to grab my lens quickly. The monopod has not been helpful in these situations and just adds weight. I have yet to feel comfortable with it.

 

 

Tamron 150 to 600mm lens. On a tripod. Studying Gulls at the mouth of the San Juan Creek in Dana Point. Coffee is a required piece of equipment.

 

If I am going to sit and watch birds, I will probably be close to the car. In addition to the big lens, I have a rolling cart and can carry a tripod, chair, scope, bird book, and a thermos of coffee. I take the strap off and put the lens on the tripod. I have done this when studying gulls. It was a very satisfying experience.

 

If I'm shooting insects, I'll bring my Tamron 90mm macro lens with a Nikon SB-800 AF Speedlight and a Fotodiox 6"x9" Softbox. Again I shoot handheld. This too can get heavy. If I am walking with it, I will use my Cotton Carrier camera harness. I sometimes add a Raynox DCR-150 Snap-On Macro Lens for really tiny critters. Macro setup

 

 

 

 

If it's a longer walk, I will bring my Nikkor 70-300 VR zoom lens.  I wear my camera harness. This leaves me hands-free when I need it and gives me a break from carrying the camera in my hand. The drawback is that it is difficult to maintain good posture. I also carry the point-and-shoot and the Raynox snap-on macro. This setup is very versatile for shooting birds, macro, and habitat. It is probably the one I use most often. It is good for 'documentation' photographs and an occasional really nice one. I was happy I had this for my 3 1/2 mile butterfly survey. I could catch butterflies from a distance so that they wouldn't spook, and add my Raynox for close-ups, and it was a perfect lens for a gopher snake that was sunning itself in the middle of the trail.

 

Nikkor 70-300 VR zoom lens. Cotton Carrier camera harness. This photo was shot by a friend with my Nikon Coolpix P300. Nikkor 70-300 VR zoom lens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shot with Nikkor 70-300 VR zoom lens with Raynox DCR-150 Snap-On Macro

On some occasions, not on long walks, I bring my Sigma 15mm f/2.8 EX DG Diagonal Fisheye lens or Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-105mm zoom lens. These are good for landscape and other shots. I always carry my tripod in the car and I sometimes use it with these lenses for night shooting. Shooting with my fisheye lens

Shot with Sigma 15mm f/2.8 EX DG Diagonal Fisheye lens

 

Somehow, I always wish I had the other lens, but I don't let the lens restrict what I shoot. Recently birding in Sycamore Canyon in Whittier, I had my big lens. There were many insects I would like to have shot, but missed. However, I still got decent shots of butterflies. At Madrona Marsh, I shot a Red-tailed Hawk being harassed by a Red-winged Blackbird, with my macro lens because that is what I had when the action occurred. I would have loved to have my big lens. Another time, at Tejon Ranch, when I had my macro lens, I saw a rattlesnake. Oh how I wished I had a longer lens. As I gained some bravery, and the snake seemed not to pay too much attention to me, I crept closer to get a better shot.  But when I used my flash and got a little too close, he gave a little rattle and I ran very fast.

 

Shot with Tamron 150 to 600mm lens Shot with Tamron 90mm macro lens

 

Another decision in carrying gear is where you are going in terms of safety. I often go out alone, but only to certain places where I feel safe. The longer the lens, the more attention I get. Often it's somebody asking if I'm a birder and then they proceed to tell me about a bird that they have recently seen. That's good attention, and I enjoy talking with them on the trail and educating people on birds. However, sometimes there's attention you don't want, and I feel it may make me a target. Sometimes if I'm carrying the big camera in a sketchy neighborhood I will wear a poncho to cover it up or, better still, to go with a group. When I become absorbed in shooting, I am not always aware of my surroundings. I have been approached for 'money'. In one experience I had a bare-chested, bald, tattooed man wearing nothing but shorts and flip-flops and carrying a can of beer say "That camera looks expensive." I responded "I don't know, it was a gift".  That made my heart skip a beat. Fortunately, although I separated from them, I was with a group and someone from my group came to my side.  Nothing happened and perhaps he was just curious about getting into photography, but it makes me more cautious.

 

My favorite day pack Camera, lens, and carrying method are not the only decisions to be made. I almost always carry Pentax 8.5x21 U-Series Papilio II Binoculars. They are close focusing and are good for birds and bugs. I have a favorite daypack, which also functions as my purse. It is a Mountainsmith Drift Lumbar Pack and is a good size for carrying smaller lenses, a journal, a water bottle, and various other essentials. I like that it converts from a shoulder bag to a fanny pack.

 

And, of course, I have other decisions to make such as, which shoes, hat, water bottles, snacks, lunch, and clothes (long or short sleeves, shorts or long pants, sweater?). Sometimes I like to bring my journal and small watercolor kit. Whatever I decide, it is always not enough and too much to carry!

 

Intense birding people often are less interested in stopping for photography, much less for an insect. It's not just the right gear that is needed, but also going with the right people and then choosing the gear for the group. I went  birding at Madrona Marsh one week and there were so many insects that I had to make a second trip with friends from my entomological society and my macro lens.

 

Whatever I choose, the most important thing is to always carry a camera, and I'm sure that you will hear me say, "I wish I brought the other lens".

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kims.sight@verizon.net (Kim's Sight - Nature Photography and Artwork by Kim Moore) camera lenses photography http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/4/i-wish-i-brought-the-other-lens Mon, 10 Apr 2017 18:58:42 GMT
Sights of March 2017 http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/3/sights-of-march-2017 Crazy weather in March; one day it is 80F and the next it is 50F. It has been wet enough and warm enough to bring out some insects and spiders around my house, and wildflowers around the state. My monthly butterfly count was canceled due to rain and cold. I went birding with Audubon and on my own at local parks. I have discovered that I love plovers. I think they are my favorite bird of the moment. Their large eyes and the way they look at the camera definitely make the 'cute'.  I continued my quest to learn gulls. I missed the Yellow-footed Gull by a few hours, but found Thayer's, Herring, and Glaucus-wing. 

My husband and I went up the coast to Morro Bay for my birthday. The highlight was watching sea otters. Mothers held babies on their chests. One mother left her older baby to dive for food. The baby started screaming and swimming from otter to otter. When mom came back there was a joyous reunion with lots of otter kisses.

It was a long drive and short visit at Tejon Ranch to see wild flowers. It always feels remote and beautiful there.

What a delight to accidentally discover new places. I went with my husband to Buttonwillow for his job. We passed a sign on the way and made a detour to the Tule Elk Staute Natural Reserve. We saw elk and birds. I finally got a good look at a Swainson's hawk. I also found a Great Horned Owl's nest with a chick. I only wish I had brought my better lens, but at least I had a camera.  

Watch the slideshows or click on the links to look through at your own pace.

Enjoy the show! I always appreciate corrections to ID's.

Local stuff:    http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/new_mar_2017 

 

Monthly Los Cerritos Wetlands bird survey:  http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/hellman_03-23-2017

Morro Bay: http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/morro_bay_mar_2017

 

Tejon Ranch: http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/tejon_mar_2017

 

Tule Elk State Natural Reserve: http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/tule_elk_mar_2017

 

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kims.sight@verizon.net (Kim's Sight - Nature Photography and Artwork by Kim Moore) bird photography birds gulls insects morro bay nature sea otters tule elk http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/3/sights-of-march-2017 Sat, 01 Apr 2017 02:38:42 GMT
Sights of February 2017 http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/3/sights-of-february-2017 It is wonderful to see snow on the mountains and green all around. Our rain is finally improving our dire drought conditions. All the rain has been great for fungi (thanks iNaturalist for fungi ID's), and I'm starting to see more insects. Birds are starting to sing songs looking for mates, and I saw some pairs checking each other out. Each spring I have to brush up on my bird songs. I visited Oak Canyon Nature Center in Anaheim. This is one of my favorite local places. It was a great woodpecker month with several species. 

I went out on a pelagic birding trip out of Marina del Rey. The weather was perfect, but birds were few. A highlight was a Rhinoceros Auklet.

I went on a trip with Pasadena Audubon to Quail Lake, Holiday Lake, and Antelope Valley. I saw some good birds at a distance, but it was not a good bird photography trip. One thing of note was how noisy it was. There were lots of trucks passing on the 138, and each one had to blast its horn three times. I am reminded that it seems in even remote areas there is the noise from traffic or airplanes.

Watch the slideshows or click on the links to look through at your own pace.

Enjoy the show! I always appreciate corrections to ID's.

Local stuff:    http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/new_feb_2017  (birds first, scroll for insects, art, and misc.)

 

Rancho Los Cerritos:  http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/rancho_los_cerritos_feb_2017

 

Pelagic Birding Trip:  http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/pelagic_trip_feb_2017

 

Quail Lake and Antelope Valley: http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/quail_lake_feb_2017

 

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kims.sight@verizon.net (Kim's Sight - Nature Photography and Artwork by Kim Moore) bird photography birds fungi nature http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/3/sights-of-february-2017 Thu, 02 Mar 2017 01:36:01 GMT
Sights of January 2017 http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/2/sights-of-january-2017 Happy New Year. It has certainly been a wet January. We have desperately needed rain, so we finally got some...in record breaking amounts. Several of my regular activities were rained out.

I spent the month within about a 40 minute circle of my home, so my photos are local.  A young sea lion at Dana Point looked like he was waiting for his mother and making friends with birds. There were plenty of interesting mushrooms and I discover that squirrels like to eat them. I have a few insect photos, but was birding for the most part.

Winter is a time for waterfowl. I found beautiful ducks and geese including a Eurasian Wigeon, a Lesser Canada Goose, Hooded Mergansers, and a Wood Duck. I saw several birds that are vagrants showing up as rarities in our area including Painted Redstart, Yellow-throated Warbler, and Eastern Phoebe.  I finally saw my first Tricolored Blackbird. The Tricolored Blackbird lives almost entirely in California and is of special concern. Over just the last 6 years, the Tricolored Blackbird population has decreased by 64%. Audubon California is working closely with landowners and its partners in the Tricolored Blackbird Working Group to protect this species across California. So where did I see this bird? Eating garbage in a parking lot in Torrance with a flock of Brewer's Blackbirds and Brown-headed Cowbirds.

Predation is an interesting subject.  A Black-throated Gray Warbler was eating a Leaf-footed bug Leptoglossa zonatus  in my front yard. A Red-tailed Hawk made a meal of a gopher at Madrona Marsh and posed for photos.

On the last day of the month I was in Escondido and visited a sculpture garden called Queen Califia's Magical Circle. It reminded me of Park Guell in Barcelona, which was indeed part of the inspiration for the artist. It was very colorful and creative. 

Watch the slideshows or click on the links to look through at your own pace.

Enjoy the show! I always appreciate corrections to ID's.

Local stuff:   http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/new_jan_2017

 

Queen Califa's Sculpture Garden:  http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/queen_califa

 

 

 

 

 

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kims.sight@verizon.net (Kim's Sight - Nature Photography and Artwork by Kim Moore) bird photography birds nature http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/2/sights-of-january-2017 Thu, 02 Feb 2017 06:47:14 GMT
Farewell 2016, you will not be forgotten. Hello 2017, what now? http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/12/farewell-2016-you-will-not-be-forgotten-hello-2017-what-now In January 2016 I posted, "I made a particular effort to get out frequently this month and participate in an eBird challenge and in iNaturalist challenges. I enjoyed getting out but need to get back to a more relaxed pace." Well, that didn't happen. My pace picked up. I got heavily into eBird and into iNaturalist, which are websites where you post your observations and are very useful tools for researching flora and fauna. Through this effort, I learned much about nature, human nature, and myself. It was great fun, and I met many new friends and fellow naturalists. I am especially grateful to my husband Lindsey who sees me traipse off and is patient when I ask him if he wants to see my photos. I am very thankful for my friends - Jan, for art and camping, who has to put up with my birding and Merryl, who is my birding buddy, who has to put up with my photography and insects. Thank you Jeff and Carolyn from El Dorado Audubon for great field trips. And thank you to all those with whom I have spent time in the field. It is great to have people with whom I can share the fun. And I am very grateful to have friends and family that remind me of all the other things in life.

Some things I have learned:

  • I have learned many new places to visit. I have also learned that each place requires a longer visit than I ever have time for.  I have enjoyed the diversity and sometimes subtleties of habitats.
  • I have learned so much when it comes to recognizing birds by sound. I have also learned that I have a long ways to go. 
  • Patience is required in all things, yet I have not learned patience. This is an ongoing task for me.
  • I recognize a wide variety of birds, insects, and some plants, but can become quite unsure and easily talked into or out of an ID. I need to work on my skills and confidence. 
  • I learn a lot from being with others who are knowledgeable in a subject, and also I need space and time to process information in my own way. I need to pace myself with trips with others and trips alone.
  • I learned about nature and art journaling. This has helped me observe more closely. I also learned that I need to let go of self-judgment and criticism of my art skills (and probably in other aspects also). Sometimes it is hard to start, yet the only way to improve is to keep doing it. The journal class I took with Jack Laws was very liberating in that regard.
  • When you travel with other experts, they point out many things that you might not otherwise see.
  • I enjoy "discovery" and the element of surprise that comes from finding things randomly on my own.

Classes/Conferences:

  • Bird Sounds
  • "Way of Water" art journaling class in the Northeastern Sierra-Nevada
  • California Master Naturalists Conference including Nature Journaling with Jack Laws
  • "Earth Now" Conference
  • Calligraphy class
  • Colored Pencil Botanical Illustration

Some of the things I did:

  • Gave a talk on Bees to a Girl Scout group
  • Gave a talk on entomology and insects to a different Scout group
  • Gave a talk to the Lorquin Society on my monthly butterfly count 
  • Participated in a Coastal Bioblitz for World Ocean Day
  • Participated in Tejon Ranch Invertebrate Bioblitz
  • Participated in monthly butterfly survey with Irvine Ranch Conservancy
  • Participated in monthly bird survey at Rancho Los Cerritos
  • Participated in monthly bird survey at Los Cerritos Wetlands with Sea and Sage Audubon
  • Served as secretary of the Lorquin Entomological Society
  • Volunteered as a Trail Steward for El Dorado Nature Center

Stats:

  • 270 volunteer hours (Citizen Science 192,  Interpretation 53,  Program Support 25)
  • 299 bird species for the year, 245 in LA County - eBird rank 40 in LA County, 42 in Orange County
  • approx 1900 observations, 900 species, 2800 identifications logged in iNaturalist

Some of the places I went:

  • Cambria
  • Pelagic trips/Whale watching trips
  • Quail Lake and Holiday Lake
  • Bonelli Park
  • Joshua Tree NP
  • Morro Bay
  • Whittier Narrows
  • Wardlow Park
  • Legg Lake
  • San Gabriel Spreading Grounds
  • Convict Lake
  • Sycamore Canyon
  • Deforest Park
  • Cruise to Vancouver
  • Culp Valley - Anza Borrego
  • West Fork San Gabriel River
  • Chilao
  • Buckhorn Campground
  • Redrock Canyon Campground
  • Kern River
  • "Trail of a Hundred Giants" in Sequoia National Forest 
  • Malibu Lagoon
  • Northeastern Sierra-Nevada
  • San Bernardino Mountains
  • Whitewater Preserve
  • Near Temecula at Dripping Springs Campground
  • Idyllwild, CA
  • North slope of the San Gabriels
  • St. Andrews Priory
  • Point Loma
  • Trails above JPL
  • Santa Fe Dam
  • Cibola NWR
  • Bolsa Chica
  • Huntington Central Park
  • ...and many more that are too many to name

 

I think some of the most standouts are:

  • The trip to the Northeastern Sierra-Nevada and separately Jack Law's Class stand out as inspirational and educational
  • The Weekend in Culp Valley Campground and the Great Birding Day looking at Gulls and Visiting Bolsa Chica stand out as deeply soul satisfying and having perfect pace for viewing nature
  • Tejon Ranch BioBlitz stands out for sharing with others and as a magical place

 

I will have to see how 2017 proceeds and how I can balance my year. I know I want to continue to take photos, do a lot more artwork and creative projects, explore new places, and learn new things.  

I look forward to sharing with you all.

 

 

 

 

 

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kims.sight@verizon.net (Kim's Sight - Nature Photography and Artwork by Kim Moore) http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/12/farewell-2016-you-will-not-be-forgotten-hello-2017-what-now Sun, 01 Jan 2017 01:16:34 GMT
Sights of December 2016 http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/12/sights-of-december-2016 I got an early Christmas gift of a new Tamron 150-600 lens for photographing birds. I immediately went out to my local park to try out the lens on a Green Heron and an American White Pelican. A Red-shouldered hawk posed nicely too. The main advantage of this lens is that distant birds once appearing as a tiny smudge are now a little bigger. However, it hasn't solved the problems of branches in the way, poor light, birds not posing, shaking lens, shaking branch in the wind, nor morning fog or rain. It does help me build muscles. It is much heavier to carry and hold so I continue to use my smaller lens for longer hikes. I'll have fun (aka frustration) working out how best to integrate it into my regular  shooting.

A little rain is great for our plants. While the plants are renewed by the rain, I stay at home and do some artwork. I am renewed by working on creative efforts.

I took a trip, along with a fellow naturalist James Bailey, to the Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego, where we looked at local flora and the rugged California coastline. In addition to adding to our own collections of photos, we posted on iNaturalist to participate in the 2016 National Parks Bioblitz.

An Audubon trip to Santa Fe Dam Recreation Park started out very foggy. But soon the fog lifted, and we saw lots of birds. Rock Wren, Merlin, and Ross's Goose were my favorites.

I had to drop my husband off in Dana Point, so I decided to spend some time on learning my gulls. My birding buddy Merryl and I spent a few hours in Dana Point and then stopped by Bolsa Chica on the way home for a fifteen minute stop that turned into a few hours. It turned out to be a fabulous day of birding. A whole lot of gull education and then reddish-egret and long-tailed duck.

I don't always post the photos from my monthly bird survey for the Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site when the pickings are slim. This month, however, the birds were back. Winter seems to be the best time for birding at the Rancho when the Toyon berries get ripe. The Cedar Waxwings were back, and Robins, and Hermit Thrushes, and about 20 species of birds. An Allen's Hummingbird (although they are abundant and around all year) posed for me. I love the way the gorgette changes color as the bird moves its head. But what happened to them on the Audubon CBC (Christmas Bird Count???)

I finished the month with am Audubon trip to the Cibola NWR in Arizona, and Palo Verde Ecological Reserve in CA. Both are close to Blythe, CA. This was my second time going and it never disappoints. Highlights for me included Sandhill Cranes, Prairie Falcon, and just the volume (both in number and sound) of geese, ducks, and blackbirds. The only disappointing part is not having enough time to linger in one spot.

Watch the slideshows or click on the links to look through at your own pace.

Enjoy the show! I always appreciate corrections to ID's.

Local stuff:  http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/new_dec_2016

 

Point Loma : http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/pt_loma_dec_2016

 

Santa Fe Dam: http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/santa_fe_dam_dec_2016

Rancho Los Cerritos monthly bird survey: http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/rancho_los_cerritos_dec_2016

An excellent day of birding: http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/most_excellent_birding_12-11-2016

 

Cibola NWR and Palo Verde Ecological Reserve: http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/cibola_dec_2016

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kims.sight@verizon.net (Kim's Sight - Nature Photography and Artwork by Kim Moore) Cibola NWR bird photography birds nature http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/12/sights-of-december-2016 Sat, 31 Dec 2016 23:36:45 GMT
She sees sea Gulls by the sea shore http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/12/gulls-at-a-glance I am finally giving in and working on my gull skills. As with anything new, it seems quite daunting. "Where do I begin? There are just so many variations? I'll never learn this. Who cares?"  All the self doubt, fear of failure, fear of feeling stupid or being found out that I am a sham, seems to apply to gull ? ID, new art, and any new skill. But, I find when I take a deep breath and approach it methodically and patiently, it all starts to come together.  I am not an expert overnight and I still have a long way to go, but making the effort sure helps.  

This will be a living blog that I will update as I get new information, insights, and photos. If you find I have made an error, please let me know. I will correct it and learn. If you know another source, let me know. If you find this helpful, let me know.

So here goes. I am highlighting a few key points that will help me in the field and help me to remember the differences.

Local Gulls in Size Order:

BOGU Bonaparte's Gull - Chroicocephalus philadelphia (13.5") Two-year gull
Pigeon size, Black bill,  Post occular spot, Generally don't mix with others

Bonaparte's Gull - Chroicocephalus philadelphia (1st winter)1st Winter
1st Winter

Bonaparte's Gull - Chroicocephalus philadelphiaBreeding Adult

1st Summer

Bonaparte's Gull - Chroicocephalus philadelphiaWinter Adult

Winter Adult
(non-
breeding)

MEGU Mew Gull - Larus canus  (17") Three-year gull
Similar to Ring-billed, but smaller bill and shorter legs. Dark iris on adult.  Winters on the coast


Mew Gull - Larus canus (1st winter)1st Winter
1st Winter

Mew Gull - Larus canus (2nd winter)2nd Winteryellow bill may be slightly ringed, yellow legs
2nd Winter
yellow bill may be slightly ringed
yellow legs

Mew Gull - Larus canus (adult winter)Winter Adultdark iris, yellow bill, yellow legs

Winter Adult
(non-breeding)
dark iris, yellow bill, yellow legs

RBGU Ring-billed Gull - Larus delawarensis (17.5") Three-year gull  
Pale mantle

Ring-billed Gull -  Larus delawarensis1st Winterpink bill, pink legs

1st Winter
pink bill, pink legs

2nd winter 2nd WinterSimilar to adult, fewer tail markings, thick band on bill,
2nd Winter
Similar to adult, fewer tail markings, thick band on bill,

Ring-billed Gull -  Larus delawarensisNon-breeding Adultyellow legs, yellow bill,  light iris ringed with red
Winter Adult
(non-breeding)
yellow legs, yellow bill,
light iris ringed with red

HEEG Heerman's Gull -Larus heermanni (19") Four-year Gull   
Distinctive, dark easy to identify

Heerman's Gull - Larus heermanniHeerman's Gull - Larus heermanniOrder: CHARADRIIFORMES - Plovers, Sandpipers, and Allies
Family: LARIDAE - Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers

Immature, Alamitos Bay, 12/09/2011
1st Winter
all dark brown, pale bill

Heerman's Gull - Larus heermanni (immature)Heerman's Gull - Larus heermanni (immature)Order: CHARADRIIFORMES - Plovers, Sandpipers, and Allies
Family: LARIDAE - Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers

Marina Stadium, Long Beach 12/03/2014

2nd Winter
uniformly dark, but more sooty

Heerman's Gull - Larus heermanniHeerman's Gull - Larus heermanniOrder: CHARADRIIFORMES - Plovers, Sandpipers, and Allies
Family: LARIDAE - Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers

Winter Plummage, Alamitos Bay 11/23/2010
3rd Winter
similar to non-breeding adult

Winter Adult
(non-breeding)
red bill

Heerman's Gull - Larus heermanniHeerman's Gull - Larus heermanniMalibu Lagoon 06/14/2106 Breeding Adult

CAGU California Gull - Larus californicus (21") Four-year Gull  
Variable, mantle lighter than western, adult yellowish legs, dark eye, slim straight bill

California Gull - Larus californicus (1st Wiinter)California Gull - Larus californicus (1st Wiinter)California Gull - Larus californicus (1st Wiinter) Dana Point, San Juan Creek Mouth 12/11/2016 1st Winter
pink legs, pink bill with black tip
 

 

California Gull - Larus californicus (2nd Wiinter)California Gull - Larus californicus (2nd Wiinter)California Gull - Larus californicus (2nd Wiinter) Dana Point, San Juan Creek Mouth 12/11/2016

2nd Winter
bluish legs, dark iris

 

California Gull - Larus californicus (3rd Wiinter)California Gull - Larus californicus (3rd Wiinter)California Gull - Larus californicus (3rd Wiinter) Dana Point, San Juan Creek Mouth 12/11/2016 3rd Winter
bluish legs, dark iris
 

California Gull - Larus californicusCalifornia Gull - Larus californicusOrder: CHARADRIIFORMES - Plovers, Sandpipers, and Allies

Family: LARIDAE - Gulls, Terns, and Skimmer


Colorado Lagoon 01/08/2015
Winter Adult
(non-breeding)
dark eye, green-yellow legs,
red and black mark on bill

 

Thayers (23)"  Four-year Gull - UNCOMMON IN OUR AREA
Highly Variable

Thayer's Gull - Larus thayeri (1st Winter)Thayer's Gull - Larus thayeri (1st Winter)Thayer's Gull - Larus thayeri (1st Winter) LA River, Willow St. Bridge 01/06/2017

1st Winter
brown primaries, thin bill
 

2nd Winter
 

3rd Winter
 

Winter Adult
(non-breeding)

Yellow-footed (24") Four-year Gull - UNCOMMON IN OUR AREA

I got nothing

1st Winter
 

2nd Winter
 

3rd Winter
 

Winter Adult
(non-breeding)

WEGU  Western Gull - Larus occidentalis (25")  Four-year Gull
Adults White head, dark gray back, pink legs, large yellow bill with red dot,thick tipped, slightly drooping, darker eyes

Western Gull - Larus occidentalis1st Winter 1st Winter
very dark, large bill, may have pale base lower mandible


Western Gull - Larus occidentalisWestern Gull - Larus occidentalisWestern Gull - Larus occidentalis LA River, Compton 03/10/2017 2nd Winter

dark gray back, two toned bill, yellow eye
 

Western Gull - Larus occidentalisWestern Gull - Larus occidentalisAlmansor Park, Alhambra 02/04/2016 3rd Winter
resembles 3rd yr Yellow-footed, but tail is white
May still have some black on the bill

Western Gull - Larus occidentalisWestern Gull - Larus occidentalisOrder: CHARADRIIFORMES - Plovers, Sandpipers, and Allies
Family: LARIDAE - Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers

Resident
Winter Adult
(non-breeding)
red dot on bill
pink legs

HERG  Herring Gull - Larus argentatus (25") Four-year Gull
Mantle lighter than California Gull, Highly variable

Section needs work

Herring Gull - Larus argentatus (1st winter)Herring Gull - Larus argentatus (1st winter)Herring Gull - Larus argentatus (1st winter) Dana Point, San Juan Creek Mouth 12/11/2016
1st Winter

Herring Gull - Larus argentatusHerring Gull - Larus argentatusHerring Gull - Larus argentatus LA River, Compton 03/10/2017 2nd Winter
 

Herring Gull - Larus argentatusHerring Gull - Larus argentatusHerring Gull - Larus argentatus LA River, Compton 03/14/2017 3rd Winter
 

Herring Gull - Larus argentatusHerring Gull - Larus argentatusHerring Gull - Larus argentatus LA River, Compton 03/12/2017 Winter Adult
(non-breeding)
pink legs, pale eye,
streaky neck


GWGU  Glaucous-winged Gull - Larus glaucescens (26")  Four-year Gull
Bill shape variable, unpatterned and uniformly colored plumage. Wing tips same color as back.
Hybridizes

Glaucous-winged Gull - Larus glaucescens (1st winter)(1st winter)Glaucous-winged Gull - Larus glaucescens (1st winter)
1st Winter
all-dark bill

2nd Winter
 

3rd Winter
 

Glaucous-winged Gull - Larus glaucescens (hybrid)Glaucous-winged Gull - Larus glaucescens (hybrid)Order: CHARADRIIFORMES - Plovers, Sandpipers, and Allies

Family: LARIDAE - Gulls, Terns, and Skimmer

(possible hybrid with a Western Gull)

Alamitos Bay 12/04/2013
Winter Adult
(non-breeding)
wing tips same color as mantle
(the one in this photo may be a hybrid with slightly darker wing tips.)
 

 

Same Year Birds:

First year birds 

Mew Gull - Larus canus (1st winter)1st Winter

MEGU

Ring-billed Gull -  Larus delawarensis1st Winterpink bill, pink legs

RBGU

California Gull - Larus californicus (1st Wiinter)California Gull - Larus californicus (1st Wiinter)California Gull - Larus californicus (1st Wiinter) Dana Point, San Juan Creek Mouth 12/11/2016

CAGU

Glaucous-winged Gull - Larus glaucescens (1st winter)(1st winter)Glaucous-winged Gull - Larus glaucescens (1st winter)

GWGU

Western Gull - Larus occidentalis1st Winter

WEGU

Herring Gull - Larus argentatus (1st winter)Herring Gull - Larus argentatus (1st winter)Herring Gull - Larus argentatus (1st winter) Dana Point, San Juan Creek Mouth 12/11/2016
HERG

Adult 

Mew Gull - Larus canus (adult winter)Winter Adultdark iris, yellow bill, yellow legs

MEGU
yellow bill, yellow legs
pigeon size, dark iris

 

Ring-billed Gull -  Larus delawarensis1st Winterpink bill, pink legs

 

RBGU
yellow legs, yellow bill,
light iris ringed with red

California Gull - Larus californicus (or hybrid)California Gull - Larus californicus (or hybrid)LA River, Long Beach 12/19/2015

CAGU
yellow legs, yellow bill
darker gray back, red dot and black on bill, dark iris

Glaucous-winged Gull - Larus glaucescens (hybrid)Glaucous-winged Gull - Larus glaucescens (hybrid)Order: CHARADRIIFORMES - Plovers, Sandpipers, and Allies

Family: LARIDAE - Gulls, Terns, and Skimmer

(possible hybrid with a Western Gull)

Alamitos Bay 12/04/2013
 GWGU

pink legs
wing tips same color as mantle

Western Gull - Larus occidentalis1st Winter

WEGU

pink legs
red dot on bill, dark back

 

Herring Gull - Larus argentatusHerring Gull - Larus argentatusHerring Gull - Larus argentatus LA River, Compton 03/12/2017

HERG
pink legs
pale eye, streaky neck

 

 

 

And now for some side by side comparisons:

1st Winter California Gull - Larus californicus, Dana Point, Glaucous-winged Gull - Larus (r)1st Winter California Gull - Larus californicus, Dana Point, Glaucous-winged Gull - Larus (r)1st Winter California Gull - Larus californicus, Dana Point, Glaucous-winged Gull - Larus (r) Dana Point, San Juan Creek Mouth 12/11/2016

CAGU GWGU

 

1st winter birds California Gull - Larus californicus, Western Gull - Larus occidentalis1st winter birds California Gull - Larus californicus, Western Gull - Larus occidentalis1st winter birds California Gull - Larus californicus, Western Gull - Larus occidentalis Dana Point, San Juan Creek Mouth 12/11/2016

CAGU  WEGU

 

Dana Point, San Juan Creek Mouth 12/11/2016

WEGU  CAGU

 

 

Western Gull - Larus occidentalis  ( Winter Adult (l) and 2nd Winter (r))Western Gull - Larus occidentalis ( Winter Adult (l) and 2nd Winter (r))Western Gull - Larus occidentalis ( Winter Adult (l) and 2nd Winter (r)) Dana Point, San Juan Creek Mouth 12/11/2016

WEGU (Adult and 2nd)

(l) Ring-billed Gull -  Larus delawarensis, (r) Western Gull - Larus occidentalis (Winter Adults)(l) Ring-billed Gull - Larus delawarensis, (r) Western Gull - Larus occidentalis (Winter Adults)(l) Ring-billed Gull - Larus delawarensis, (r) Western Gull - Larus occidentalis (Winter Adults) Dana Point, San Juan Creek Mouth 12/11/2016

RBGU  WEGU

 

Ring-billed Gull (Winter Adult), Western Gull (2nd Winter)Ring-billed Gull (Winter Adult), Western Gull (2nd Winter)Ring-billed Gull (Winter Adult), Western Gull (2nd Winter) Dana Point, San Juan Creek Mouth 12/11/2016

RBGU  WEGU (2nd)

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kims.sight@verizon.net (Kim's Sight - Nature Photography and Artwork by Kim Moore) gull gull comparison gulls http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/12/gulls-at-a-glance Thu, 15 Dec 2016 04:16:57 GMT
Sights of November 2016 http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/11/sights-of-november-2016 I started my month by adding Magnolia Warbler and Cassin's Vireo to my life list of birds and also a Roseate Dragonfly to my insect list. An Osprey posed at the nature center on my volunteer day. They are magnificent birds and their call cannot be denied. I was also lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the usually shy Least Bittern. As the fall migration of warblers slowed down, toward the mid to latter part of the month, I sought other outings.

It is too early for Gray Whale migration, but I took a whale watch cruise to see dolphin and seals.

There was not much happening on my butterfly count, but I love being outdoors and in the company of such good people.  A new-to-me jumping spider was a nice find.

To celebrate our 25th anniversary, my husband and I spent a couple of nights in Idyllwild, CA at a charming B&B. We discovered a wonderful nature center nearby with a a very interesting museum/gift shop and lovely hiking trails. We enjoyed the autumnal colors and mountain birds.

I went on a loooong day of birding with Pasadena Audubon. We stopped at eight locations in one day tracking down several 'prized' birds. We heard the Pygmy Owl and saw at great distance the Mountain Plover. Alas, no photos of those. It was a lovely autumn day and I was very happy to discover some new birding areas. St. Andrews Priory was a highlight for overall beauty.

Watch the slideshows or click on the links to look through at your own pace.

Enjoy the show! I always appreciate corrections to ID's.

Local stuff:  http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/new_nov_2016

 

Dolphins and Seals : http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/whale_watch_nov_2016

 

Irvine Ranch Conservancy monthly butterfly count: http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/irc_nov_2016

 

Idyllwild, CA: http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/idyllwild_nov_2016

North Slope of the San Gabriels: http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/north_slope_san_gabriels_nov_2016

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kims.sight@verizon.net (Kim's Sight - Nature Photography and Artwork by Kim Moore) birds nature http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/11/sights-of-november-2016 Thu, 01 Dec 2016 03:42:14 GMT
Sights of October 2016 http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/10/sights-of-october-2016 My photo activities were cut short this month by dropping my camera to the ground. This was not the first time! As a result, my favorite lens was out of commission for a few weeks.  That has been very painful. So fewer birding outings and more time with my macro lens in the back yard. I guess it all works out, and being October and all, I have lots of spider photos. I also took time to write a separate blog post all about my Green Lynx Spiders. lick here to see it:  http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/10/missing-lynx

Warblers were migrating, and we had some vagrants come through. Blackpoll warbler, Black-and-white warbler, Nashville warbler, and Black-throated Gray Warbler were highlights.  I found insects and spiders in my yard and caught a grasshopper molting. I think I get double bonus points for birds eating insects: a Snowy Egret eating a common green darner and a Black-and-white Warbler eating a long-jawed spider.

My butterfly count was interesting. At first attempt, a tree went down over the main jeep trail so instead we did a short walk-about and saw a Fatal Metalmark - a first for us in the area. We met again a few weeks later and completed the survey. The butterflies were fewer, as expected for the time of year, so we enjoyed the clouds and beautiful scenery.  We saw some mule deer that seemed uninterested in our presence. 

I went with a friend on an overnight camping trip near Temecula at Dripping Springs Campground. Our primary purpose was to do some nature/art journaling and just relax. Mission accomplished.

 

Watch the slideshows or click on the links to look through at your own pace.

Enjoy the show! I always appreciate corrections to ID's.

Local stuff:  http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/new_oct_2016

 

Irvine Ranch Conservancy monthly butterfly count: http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/irc_oct_2016

 

Dripping Springs Campground: http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/dripping_springs_camp_oct_2016

 

 

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kims.sight@verizon.net (Kim's Sight - Nature Photography and Artwork by Kim Moore) birds butterflies insects nature spiders http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/10/sights-of-october-2016 Tue, 01 Nov 2016 01:27:34 GMT
The Missing "Lynx" http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/10/missing-lynx MaleGreen Lynx

 

The more you closely observe something, the more fascinating it becomes, or at least that's the way it is for me, particularly with nature.

I first noticed Green Lynx spiders several years ago on my lavender and the other shrubby drought tolerant plants in my garden. Each fall I would see them and occasionally saw them with their egg sacs, but by summer they were gone (or so it appeared). Rarely did I see a male. I just wasn't observing closely. Since then, I have been fascinated by them and have been photographing them whenever I get a chance. 

I have come to appreciate the many color variations and patterns on these beautiful spiders. I saw my first spiky green spider and wondered what it was. I  found out it was a Green Lynx spider. Soon after, I saw a reddish spider and a yellowish spider. They were also spiky and I wondered what they were. Of course I found out they are the same species. 

Green lynx spider - Peucetia viridans Green lynx spider - Peucetia viridans Green lynx spider - Peucetia viridans
Green lynx spider - Peucetia viridans
Green lynx spider - Peucetia viridans Green lynx spider - Peucetia viridans

I have watched several spiders weave their egg sacs over a period of about an hour. I watched one fill it with orange eggs. The mother's body changed shape from round and fat to skinny. Initially the sac was a pale yellow-green; then it dried to a brown color and was camouflaged with bits of the lavender. The mother stays near the egg sac and vigorously defends it. 

Green lynx spider - Peucetia viridans Green lynx spider - Peucetia viridans Green lynx spider - Peucetia viridans
Green lynx spider - Peucetia viridans Green lynx spider - Peucetia viridans Green lynx spider - Peucetia viridans
Green lynx spider - Peucetia viridans Green lynx spider - Peucetia viridans Green lynx spider - Peucetia viridans

She ventures a short way to actively hunt or lay-in-wait for prey. One often thinks of spiders catching flies in a web, but this species doesn't build webs to catch prey; Honey Bees seem to be the most common visitors, and so they are the most common meal followed by Fiery Skippers. Wasps, large flies, other butterflies, and an assortment of bugs are on their menu. Freeloader Flies quickly come to dine on the spider's dead or dying prey and annoy the spider to no end. They cover a Honey Bee and even land on the spider. The spider will flick them away with her legs.

Honey Bee Green lynx spider - Peucetia viridansSweat bee Green lynx spider - Peucetia viridansWith bee and Freeloader Flies Green lynx spider - Peucetia viridansFiery Skipper Green lynx spider - Peucetia viridans dining on a Duskywing skipperDuskywing skipper Green lynx spider - Peucetia viridansAssassin bug Green lynx spider - Peucetia viridans eating European paper wasp - Polistes dominulaEuropean paper wasp - Polistes dominula Green lynx spider - Peucetia viridansEumenid wasp Glassy-winged sharpshooter - Homalodisca vitripennisGlassy-winged sharpshooter - Homalodisca vitripennis

It may be a month or more before the egg sacs open. The mother will make a mesh of web often tying branches into a cluster in order to make a safe haven for the spiderlings. While this spider usually has one brood a season, some may have multiple broods, and as soon as one sac opens, she makes another one in the same spot. I have observed up to three broods. The eggs hatch inside the sac after about two weeks, but stay inside for another couple of weeks although I have not observed what happens in the egg sac. The mother helps open the egg sac to release the spiderlings.

Green lynx spider - Peucetia viridans Green lynx spider - Peucetia viridansOne brood is done ,now creating another egg sac Green lynx spider - Peucetia viridans Green lynx spider - Peucetia viridansmultiple broods Green lynx spider - Peucetia viridans Green lynx spider - Peucetia viridansWeaving together a safe place for the spiderlings

The spiderlings will molt multiple times over the course of their lives.

Green lynx spider - Peucetia viridans Green lynx spider - Peucetia viridansMolting
 
Green lynx spider - Peucetia viridansMolted exoskeletons
 

The babies spread through my garden and dine on tiny insects such as carpet beetles, small caterpillars, and nymphs of other insects. I enjoy finding the baby spiders throughout the spring, but then they seem to disappear or maybe I'm just not looking for them. 

Baby Green lynx spider - Peucetia viridansBaby Green lynx spider Green lynx spider - Peucetia viridansEating a carpet beetle Green lynx spider - Peucetia viridansStill growing

It's not until the next fall that I start to see a few adult females starting the cycle anew. I love their patterns and colors and their expressive faces. They have become one of my favorite garden visitors.

Green lynx spider - Peucetia viridansWho can resist this face?

 

 

 

 

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kims.sight@verizon.net (Kim's Sight - Nature Photography and Artwork by Kim Moore) green lifecyle lynx spider http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/10/missing-lynx Thu, 27 Oct 2016 01:56:22 GMT
Sights of September 2016 http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/10/sights-of-september-2016 I turned off the ugly noise of the presidential campaigns and made my way out to the inspirational joy of nature. I enjoyed the month in the company of like-minded people.

I attended a conference of the California Master Naturalists in Running Springs in the San Bernardino Mountains. There were many interesting presentations. My only regret was there was not enough time to explore the area. Of highlight was a class I attended on nature journaling and drawing by Jack Laws. In addition to some simple tips for drawing, he talked about some ideas to help see and think about the world. After the conference we took a field trip to the Whitewater Preserve. As we were driving out, I was happy to spot some bighorn sheep on a rocky outcropping. We stopped the vans so all could get a look.

Some of the regular participants were unable to attend my monthly butterfly count, so I once again was the lead on my transects. I was fortunate to recruit a very knowledgeable young naturalist to join the team and I enjoyed the company of some others relatively new to the group. We saw many butterflies including lots of woodland skippers. However, what was surprising was the relative absence of some of expected ones such as white checkered skippers. That's why I continue to go out; always something new.

I participated in a BioBlitz at Tejon Ranch. That required a blog all of its own.  Here is the link in case you missed it. http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/9/tejon-ranch-invertebrate-bioblitz

At home, the green lynx spiders are thriving in my garden. I got to watch one spin its egg sac and deposit its orange colored eggs. I found one of several egg sacs not being guarded and couldn't resist opening it to see the little golden eggs.I was surprised by a few late blooms on my tree out front, one of which had a first-in-my-yard mantid on it. My cats alerted me to a common green darner at my door. It posed for some macro shots. I wrapped up the month with some local birding and a trip to my local nature center. My monthly bird count at Los Cerritos Wetlands had a few shorebirds coming back for the season. A highlight was a Dainty Sulfur butterfly, my first. At DeForest park, I co-led a bird walk. Highlights for me included a Pectoral Sandpiper and an angle-wing katydid. I see cool insects on bird walks. A trip to the LA river had more birds coming back, but now wearing non-breeding plumage. Finally, at the nature center on the last day of the month, small bullfrogs (or soon to be heron snacks) were all around the lake.

I am off to recharge my batteries, literally and figuratively. Enjoy your pumpkin spice season!

 

Watch the slideshows or click on the links to look through at your own pace.

Enjoy the show! I always appreciate corrections to ID's.

Local stuff:  http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/new_sep_2016

 

Irvine Ranch Conservancy monthly butterfly count: http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/irc_sep_2016

 

Whitewater Preserve: http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/whitewater_sep_2016

 

Pali Mountain Resort Running Springs http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/running_springs_sep_2016

 

 

 

 

 

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kims.sight@verizon.net (Kim's Sight - Nature Photography and Artwork by Kim Moore) birds butterflies insects http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/10/sights-of-september-2016 Sat, 01 Oct 2016 15:36:35 GMT
Tejon Ranch Invertebrate Bio"Bliss" http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/9/tejon-ranch-invertebrate-bioblitz

A BioBlitz is when a group of people, including experts, get together to identify as many different biological organisms as they can in a given area in a short period of time. These BioBlitzes serve several purposes from engaging the public in conservation to gathering scientific information. I have participated in a number of citizen science BioBlitzes and this one, camping and searching for invertebrates with the Tejon Ranch Conservancy and the Lorquin Entomological Society, is one of my favorites.  I feel truly privileged for the opportunity to join this group and lend my skills as a nature photographer, my somewhat limited but growing knowledge of entomology, and my curiosity of and my passion for discovery of Southern California fauna.

Tejon Ranch is an amazing place. It is the largest contiguous private landholding in California at 270,000 acres. The owner of the land reached an agreement with several environmental groups to leave 90% of the land undeveloped in exchange for unchallenged development of the other 10%. The Tejon Ranch Conservancy was created to document, enhance, maintain, and restore the ranch's ecosystems.

Mule Deer - Odocoileus hemionusMule Deer - Odocoileus hemionus

Blainville's Horned Lizard - Phrynosoma blainvilliiBlainville's Horned Lizard - Phrynosoma blainvilliiBlainville's Horned Lizard - Phrynosoma blainvillii Tejon Ranch, 09/12/2016 Tejon Ranch encompasses areas of Antelope Valley, Tehachapi Mountains, the base of the southern Sierra-Nevada Mountains, and the western edge of the Mojave. This makes for rich biodiversity. Because this is a private land holding, there has been limited access to the land for scientists and the public. While a fair amount is known about the mammals, birds, and reptiles that call it home, there is still much to be discovered, particularly when it comes to invertebrates. That’s where we come in.

Our group of seven drove to the top of one of the mountain ridges. I was a bit white-knuckled as our van made its way up a steep gravelly narrow road with a sharp drop-off on one side. But, from there on, it was a completely blissful adventure. The weather was perfect, not too hot, and the wind was unusually calm. California AqueductCalifornia AqueductCalifornia Aqueduct Tejon Ranch, 09/12/2016 The views from the top were magnificent. The rolling golden California hills, the valley and distant mountains, and a view of the California Aqueduct reinforce my love of this state. We walked down the mountain passing pinyon pines, Tejon Ranch, 09/12/2016 manzanita, oaks, and chaparral for about four miles at a very leisurely pace.  We made frequent stops to photograph insects along the way. When someone found something particularly good, we all gathered round to share. It is wonderful to have passion for something, but I am extremely fortunate to have others who share these often underappreciated interests. My fingers were blistered from gripping my camera and trying to capture all I saw. And I was not even close to capturing as much as some of the others!

After about six hours, we went down to our camp at Pescadero Creek.  We pitched our tents, ate some dinner, and told a few jokes. I turned in a bit early while the others went off to look for critters in the dark. The winds were cooperative during the night and I slept cozily in my sleeping bag. The next morning, the temperature dropped and we bundled up and regrouped over breakfast and coffee. We walked a short way from camp to a very small pond. 

A small water source in an otherwise quite dry area attracts many critters, and it was teaming with life. We saw insects associated with water, frogs, and I had the good fortune to be startled by a California king snake,

California kingsnake - Lampropeltis getula californiaeCalifornia kingsnake - Lampropeltis getula californiae

which I announced to the rest of the group with a sharp squeal of surprise -- and delight. 

After a few hours recording our findings, we drove to another area of the ranch, this one populated with Joshua Trees. I’m sure this area is richer in the spring, but we managed to find a few gems in the dry autumn desert.

 

We have been logging our findings in iNaturalist which will be used by the Conservancy to add to their compilation of species on the ranch.  We covered a very small portion of the ranch and for such a short time, but I am sure we added some significant findings. I look forward to many more opportunities to visit, explore, and discover at Tejon Ranch.

View more of my photos here. http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/tejon_sep_2016

Thank you to Cedric, Chris, James, and the iNat community for help with identifications. As always, I welcome corrections.  

 

“I am dying by inches, from not having anybody to talk to about insects...” 
― Charles DarwinLetters. A Selection, 1825–1859

 

 

 

 

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kims.sight@verizon.net (Kim's Sight - Nature Photography and Artwork by Kim Moore) biobltz insects tejon http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/9/tejon-ranch-invertebrate-bioblitz Mon, 19 Sep 2016 19:04:24 GMT
Sights of August 2016 http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/8/sights-of-august-2016 Local stuff: This month kept me closer to home, so I took my macro lens to the backyard. It is always a rewarding venture. In addition to my usual spiders and insects, I found a spittlebug just molted and shot some flies in flight. My friend found a beautiful mantid at the local park. We also saw antlions. They are just too fast to photograph! Look closely at some of the pictures, and you might see the jaws. 

Even though I have been at the Los Cerritos Wetlands over several years (mostly birding), I finally saw my first Wandering Skipper!!! That was definitely a treat. They live in our coastal wetlands, which are always under threat of climate change, habitat degradation and development. This butterfly is listed as Low Risk/Near Threatened as evaluated by the IUCN. At the end of the month I went to Malibu Lagoon. It was there I saw my second Wandering Skipper! I went to Sycamore Canyon, just north of Malibu, with some birding pals and we saw Nanday Parakeets and a large group of California Quail with young ones. I also visited the LA River a couple of times this month, where, in addition to bird watching, I enjoyed the dragonflies. 

IRC Monthly Butterfly Count: Woodland Skippers were most abundant, however a highlight for me was to catch a Western Fence Lizard swallowing a huge grasshopper. The grasshopper gave a valiant effort but in the end was no match for the hungry reptile. 

Pelagic Birding Trip: I went on a Pelagic Birding Trip out of Dana Point. Not that many birds, but always good to be out on the water. We did have some nice looks at Black Storm-Petrels and Pink-footed Shearwaters.

Watch the slideshows or click on the links to look through at your own pace.

Enjoy the show! I always appreciate corrections to ID's.

Local stuff:  http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/new_aug_2016

 

Irvine Ranch Conservancy monthly butterfly count: http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/irc_aug_2016

 

Pelagic Birding Triphttp://kimssight.zenfolio.com/pelagic_trip_aug_2016

 

 

 

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kims.sight@verizon.net (Kim's Sight - Nature Photography and Artwork by Kim Moore) birds butterflies insects http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/8/sights-of-august-2016 Wed, 31 Aug 2016 23:38:31 GMT
Sights of July 2016 http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/8/sights-of-july-2016 Highlights captured in pictures:

Local stuff: I visited the LA River a couple of times and found the Black-necked stilts great fun to watch. These seemed to neglect their own chicks in favor of attacking young Mallards. Mother duck didn't do much. This went on endlessly. I don't think there were any serious injuries, but the Mallards eventually got the hint and the next day seemed to stay further away.  There is a huge colony of Elegant Terns at Bolsa Chica on one of the isolated islands. There were many birds bringing fish back to their nests. I enjoyed watching a Leaf-cutter bee attack my rose bushes, cutting and carrying off bits of the leaf to line her nest. I found two species of crabs and a dragon fly that are new to me. I enjoy discovering new creatures, but the familiar are fun to photograph when they pose.

IRC Monthly Butterfly Count: Dry, dry, dry!!! We still managed to see some butterflies but the habitat was so extremely dry that seems such a hazard for fires. 

Watercolor Journaling in the Northeastern Sierra-NevadaSan Francisco State University has wonderful classes at their Sierra-Nevada Field Campus. I went for a week to learn watercolor journaling. We hiked to waterfalls, painted, and I photographed the wildflowers, butterflies, and birds. Evening Grosbeak, American Dipper, Western Columbine, and Leopard Lilies were some of my favorites. I am so in love with mountain meadows. Each day brought a new hike and a new location. I can now say I hiked the Pacific Coast Trail - well maybe not all of it but at least a small part. I learned that it is hard to hike with a day pack, camera, binoculars, art supplies, and small three-legged stool. I need a pack mule.

Watch the slideshows or click on the links to look through at your own pace.

Enjoy the show! I always appreciate corrections to ID's.

Local stuff:  http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/new_july_2016

 

Irvine Ranch Conservancy monthly butterfly count: http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/irc_jul_2016

 

So many places to see in the Sierra:

Around the camp:  http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/sierra_nevada_campus_jul_2016

Frazier Falls:  http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/frazier_falls_2016

Sierra Valley:  http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/sierra_valley_2016

 

Trail to Hawley Falls:  http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/hawley_falls_2016

Veronica Lake:  http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/veronica_lake_2016

Sardine Lake and Haypress Creek:  http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/sardine_and_plum_2016

 

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kims.sight@verizon.net (Kim's Sight - Nature Photography and Artwork by Kim Moore) birds butterflies insects sierra http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/8/sights-of-july-2016 Mon, 01 Aug 2016 07:21:33 GMT
Sights of June 2016 http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/6/sights-of-june-2016 I must say that this was a month of habitat diversity with Tide pools, Oak woodlands, Chapparal, Desert, Riparian Corridors, Mountain Pine Forrest and meadows.  I love California!

Highlights captured in pictures:

Local stuff:  My mother came to visit me from New York City, so I took her to enjoy some of California's lovely habitats. I briefly questioned my decision to take her hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains when it was very hot and we saw a large rattlesnake, but the snake just went on its way and she was happy to see it -- from a distance. I particularly liked the baby Great Egrets we saw when we stopped for lunch by Malibu Lagoon. They look like Muppets. On another trip, I picked my husband up in Dana Point and was lucky enough to see the Pelagic Red Crabs (aka Tuna Crabs) that have been floating up on the Orange County beaches. I enjoyed watching them swim backwards by flicking their tails (I guess it is only backwards to us and the normal way for them). A friend and I took a trip up to the Angeles Crest Forrest to join an Audubon group. We went the night before, so that we could sleep later before the early start. The campground was packed but we eventually found a sight about 40 minutes away and set up the tent in the dark. We were awakened by a beautiful dawn chorus of mountain birds. I didn't get many good photos but enjoyed the trip.  As summer approaches and birds have migrated through, and babies have fledged, there is less to see locally. My monthly bird count at Los Cerritos wetlands had mostly house finches and morning doves, but we did scare a coyote or two. I got a brief shot of one before it darted off. Coyotes prefer open spaces and would prefer not to see humans. I did a little artwork. Never enough time for everything!

IRC Monthly Butterfly Count: In addition to a lovely variety of butterflies, we saw several Intermediate Weed's Mariposa Lilies, a horned lizard, and a buck. I love the nature you find in preserved open spaces.

Tide Pool Bioblitz: For World Ocean Day, I participated in a Tide Pool Bioblitz sponsored by USC Sea Grant Program, Aquarium of the Pacific, Los Angeles Natural History Museum and the Los Angeles MPA Collaborative. We logged our findings in iNaturalist. I love the richness of the tide pools, but find it is difficult to photograph them: walk up and down steep cliffs, balancing on rocks, light reflected off the water. I am glad they are not that accessible, it helps preserve them.

Birding Trip in three parts: Kern River/ Sequoia/ Red Rock Canyon: Another Audubon excursion for three days of birding, this time sleeping in a motel instead of tent. We left the area two days before the devastating Erskine fire. Having been to the area, I am doubly saddened as California goes up in flames from devastating heat and drought.

  1. On the way up, before we met up with the group, we made a stop at Red Rock Canyon State Park in CA. The park is 25 miles northeast of Mojave on Highway 14. It was a brief stop to checkout the campground and the visitor center. It would be a lovely place to stay, but not in the summer! Highlights were a cactus wren and adorable antelope squirrels.
  2. Around the Kern River Area we stopped at several places including Onyx, the Audubon Kern River Preserve, Kernville, Weldon, Bert's Park, and various road turnouts. It was very hot and there were lots of ticks, but well worth the visit. Great bird sightings, cows, butterflies, a visit to a fish hatchery, great scenery and my best hawk photos (warning, a bit gory, and squirrel involved).  
  3. On the second day  in the afternoon, with a few stops along the way, we went up to higher altitude to the "Trail of a Hundred Giants" in Sequoia National Forest . Here we enjoyed much cooler temperatures (only in the high 80's to low 90's), giant trees and a Pileated Woodpecker. The sad part was that the forest has so many dead trees from drought and bark beetle devastation.

Watch the slideshows or click on the links to look through at your own pace.

Enjoy the show! I always appreciate corrections to id's.

Local stuff:  http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/new_jun_2016

 

Irvine Ranch Conservancy monthly butterfly count: http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/irc_jun_2016

 

Tidepool Bioblitz : http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/pelican_cove_bioblitz_2016

 

Red Rock Canyon: http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/red_rock_ca_june_2016

 

Kern River: http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/kern_river_2016

 

 

Sequoia National Park: http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/sequoia_jun_2016

 

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kims.sight@verizon.net (Kim's Sight - Nature Photography and Artwork by Kim Moore) birds butterflies insects kern nature sequoia tide pools http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/6/sights-of-june-2016 Thu, 30 Jun 2016 19:31:15 GMT
Sights of May 2016 http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/6/sights-of-may-2016 Highlights captured in pictures:

Local stuff:  Playing with Macro again I found lady beetles and some interesting insects as subjects in my yard. This seemed to be flycatcher month in the local parks, some catching butterflies and eating other insects.  

IRC Monthly Butterfly Count: A lovely day with the usual suspects. I am giving a joint presentation at the June meeting to the Lorquin Entomological Society about the program and butterflies. I hope to see some of you there. 

Los Cerritos Wetlands Bird Count: Two Red-tailed Hawk babies were still in the nest. They were very scruffy and cute. House Finch were quite abundant.

West Fork San Gabriel River: I went on a local Audubon trip. Although we saw good birds, they were difficult to photograph, so I shot more butterflies than birds.  

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park: WOW! Such a great trip. My husband and I went with friends over Memorial Day Weekend and actually found a campsite, and a great one at that. We spent lazy days around camp. I never ventured far and found lizards, butterflies (Ceraunus Blue and Great Purple Hairstreak), birds and mammals. At night, my lantern drew in some interesting insects (including a Mantisfly) and we had a fabulously starry sky. My friends (you know who you are) don't fully share my interests and continually complained that it was my turn at dominoes and hadn't I already taken a photo. Sometimes I have to be social so as not to be rejected by the herd, but I got in some shots - never enough. 

Cruise LA to Vancouver: I took my first cruise in about 35 years. A friend from Audubon found a great deal on a 3-day trip from LA to Vancouver. We looked for pelagic birds and spent a day birding in Vancouver. It was a great time! We saw lots of Albatross and gray whale blows (or gray whale "poofs" as we called them). I didn't photograph all the food, but trust me, it was delicious.

Watch the slideshows or click on the links to look through at your own pace.

Enjoy the show! I always appreciate corrections to id's.

Local stuff:  http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/new_may_2016

 

Irvine Ranch Conservancy monthly butterfly count: http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/irc_may_2016

Los Cerritos Wetlands bird count: http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/hellman_may_2016

 

West Fork San Gabriel River: http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/west_fork_san_gabriel_may_2016

 

Anza-Borrego: http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/anza_borrego_may_2016

 

LA to Vancouver Cruise: http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/la-to-vancouver
 
 

 

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kims.sight@verizon.net (Kim's Sight - Nature Photography and Artwork by Kim Moore) Vancouver anza-borrego birds butterflies insects nature port of la wildflowers http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/6/sights-of-may-2016 Thu, 02 Jun 2016 03:27:50 GMT
Sights of April 2016 http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/4/sights-of-april-2016 Ah Spring! A joy to behold. I want to be outside every day and all day. I participated in a biodiversity city challenge between LA and SF. That got me out even more. The warblers and other migrants are coming through. Songs of courtship fill the air. Birds are picking up bits and pieces to make their nests. Birds are mating and protecting nests. Babies are everywhere. Flowers are blooming and insects are flying. I am most fortunate to have the opportunity to witness all this activity. I am happy and at peace.

Highlights captured in pictures:

Local stuff:  I saw many baby birds and quite a few birds new to my list: California Gnatcatcher, Yellow-breasted Chat, Bell's Vireo, and Hermit Warbler, to name a few. I got a little carried away with shots of the baby Mockingbirds in my backyard and with a few R-rated scenes of an older hummingbird trying to mate with a fledgling and also of Tree Swallows mating.

I made a trip to El Dorado Park to shoot a few insect. Some shots are just to record new insects and some are prettier shots. There are some interesting flies and moths that I have not identified yet. I always appreciate help.

Throw in a few mammals and wildflowers and the month is complete.

IRC Monthly Butterfly Count: Brown elfin, a Mexican Tiger Moth, lots of butterflies, and baby red-tail hawks. It was very hot and windy but so worth it.

Los Cerritos Wetlands Bird Count: A mocking bird was repeatedly harassing a Red-tailed Hawk. I felt bad for the poor hawk. We changed our route a bit to avoid habitat where there might be birds nesting on the ground and chose a new route to record birds a little further back. We found this habitat to be more sandy with antlion traps. We also found two old raccoon skulls outside a burrow.  We recorded lots of House Finch, Morning Doves, and Hooded Orioles.

Watch the slideshows or click on the links to look through at your own pace.

Enjoy the show! I always appreciate corrections to id's.

Local stuff:  http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/new_apr_2016

 

Irvine Ranch Conservancy monthly butterfly count: http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/irc_apr_2016

Los Cerritos Wetlands bird count: http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/hellman_apr_2016

 

My husband had a work meeting in Mammoth Lakes. I drove up with him where we got up late and left early. We made brief stops at Convict Lake and then Manzanar.  Starting in 1942 Over 120,000 residents of the U.S.A., two thirds of whom were American citizens, were incarcerated under armed guard. Manzanar held 10,000 Americans. The historic site is a reminder of the dark things man can do against his fellow man when driven by fear.  Two photos of convict lake and black and white of Manzanar. http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/manzanar

 

 

 

 

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kims.sight@verizon.net (Kim's Sight - Nature Photography and Artwork by Kim Moore) birds butterflies insects nature wildflowers http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/4/sights-of-april-2016 Sun, 01 May 2016 05:35:15 GMT
Sights of March 2016 http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/4/sights-of-march-2016 I had a whirlwind month visiting many fun places. Family from England came to visit and wanted to see the everything (well almost) in California and the United States in 2 weeks. We sent them to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon on their own but joined them for trips to Morro Bay, Joshua Tree National Park, and local trips including Whale Watching. It was nice to see so much in a short time, but not enough time to really soak up any one place. Of course I managed to shoot a few photos along the way.

Highlights captured in pictures:

Local stuff:  Woodpeckers started the month and I added birds throughout the month. I discovered two new places in Whittier, the Whittier Narrows Nature Center and Sycamore Canyon. Both well worth the visit. Finally the bugs are back in town and my yard is providing fun opportunities to break out the macro lens. For those who like larger things, a few whale shots and lastly a cat photo.

IRC Monthly Butterfly Count: WOW!!! Everything was in bloom and there were lots of butterflies. Sara Orange-tips, Common Ringlets, and White Checkered Skippers were in greatest abundance. Love is in the air. I saw lots of courtship and mating going on. In addition to butterflies, I found a mating pair of Dragon Lubber grasshoppers. How often have I mentioned that this is the activity I most look forward to each month?

Los Cerritos Wetlands Bird Count: A few birds, insects,  mostly non-native, but still colorful, flowers, and a bunny for Easter.

Joshua Tree National Park: The park was packed with people. We went mid-week and all the campsites were full. We wound up camping in a private RV park in 29 Palms. It was like camping in a parking lot. But it was quiet, we had running water, picked up pizza for dinner and enjoyed good company so I had a good time even if no night photos.  We had a telescope with us and saw the moons of Jupiter.  We only did a quick drive-by through the park the next day. I hopped out of the car to shoot some wildflowers which were abundant.

Morro Bay: The drive up was lovely.  So great to see the hills green again after the rains. We spent one night to celebrate my birthday and the home the next morning. Our hotel was next to a Heron Rookery where Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, and Double Crested Cormorants were nesting. I have to go back and spend more time!!!!

 

Watch the slideshows or click on the links to look through at your own pace.

Enjoy the show! I always appreciate corrections to id's.

Local stuff:  http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/new_mar_2016

 

Irvine Ranch Conservancy monthly butterfly count: http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/irc_mar_2106

Los Cerritos Wetlands bird count: http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/hellman_mar_2016

Joshua Tree:  http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/jtnp_mar_2016

 
Morro Bay:   http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/morro_bay_mar_2016

 

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kims.sight@verizon.net (Kim's Sight - Nature Photography and Artwork by Kim Moore) birds butterflies nature wildflowers http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/4/sights-of-march-2016 Sat, 02 Apr 2016 23:03:02 GMT