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.
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