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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Nerdy Birdy: Around San Diego

My parents and I met at a midpoint between LA and their campsite to go birding. I had done some research and had heard that San Elijo was a good birding location. The path was pretty short, about a .3 mile round trip, but I was hopeful when I saw all the water because birds like water.

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SAN ELIJO PATH

We took the short boardwalk trail but only found a pretty far and hidden Coopers Hawk.

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BOARDWALK

Sadly even with the plentiful amount of water at this location the birds that we finally did find were pretty common. I was hoping to see something amazing, maybe even a new bird but that just wasn’t the case.

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589.HOUSE FINCH

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40.BUFFLEHEAD

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47. RUDDY DUCK

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178. MARBLED GODWIT

I did manage to snap one clear photo of a Kingfisher, a bird that I have seen many times but that is pretty hard to photo. This bird is super leery of people so I was happy getting the flight shot I did.

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319.BELTED KINGFISHER

The nature center was a pretty cool building and we inquired inside if there were any other birding places close by.

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NATURE CENTER

We decided to check out Robb Field about 20 minutes away and see if we had better luck there. Robb Field also had quite a bit of water and was a little better but the birds were far which made them more difficult to photo.

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GREAT WHITE EGRET - I LOVE HOW THE FEATHERS WERE BLOWING IN THE WIND

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CINNAMON TEAL

The best part about Robb Field was that I found a new bird except that it wasn’t the new bird that I thought. With male and female plumage and breeding and non-breeding plumage it is easy to get birds a little confused. I got super excited when I spotted a dark headed Merganser. I wasn’t sure what Merganser it was but I was assuming since I hadn’t seen one before that it was new.

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45. RED BREASTED MERGANSER

And then just for reference I took a photo of a Merganser that I thought I had photoed before.

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44. COMMON MERGANSER

When I got home however I found out that the Dark headed Merganser was in fact the breeding plumage male Red-Breasted Merganser a bird I already had a photo of in its summer plumage and the second merganser which I thought I already photoed was in fact a new bird.

REGARDLESS I got a new bird today and that was enough to make me very happy.

Because the Merganser group was so far away we hoofed it down the path and halfway across a bridge hoping for some closer shots.

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THE BRIDGE WAS FAR

What was amazing is that the Mergansers started a head bobbing mating ritual that was pretty cool to see. I was glad we took the extra time to follow the bird.

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There were so many birds at this part most of which we had seen before. What was interesting however was the pairing of the birds. I was able to see quite a few males and their females. It became a game to try and find the female and the male plumage of the same bird although I always get a little aggravated that the males are so pretty and the females are so drab.

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LESSER SCAUP MALE

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LESSER SCAUP FEMALE

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22. NORTHERN PINTAIL MALE

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22. NORTHERN PINTAIL FEMALE

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21. NORTHER SHOVELER FEMALE AND MALE

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16. AMERICAN WIDGEON MALE

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16. AMERICAN WIDGEON FEMALE

I am still getting used to my new camera body (Canon 7D). The best thing about it so far is the AF performance, this body is fast, so fast that I can now take killer flight photography shots something that the last body (Canon 50D) did very poorly with. These flight shots are TACK sharp… makes me so happy!

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Lastly I wanted to show a comparison shot. I had the wide angle lens on my camera taking some landscaping images when a Red Breasted Merganser sailed close by. I shot a photo, following the shoot what you can motto before screwing with changing lenses, knowing I wouldn’t get nearly close enough and quickly swapped the lens to my 500 for a close shot. I wanted to show you the before and after. I left both un-cropped, just goes to show what a good zoom lens is capable of.

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YOU CAN BARELY MAKE OUT THE BIRD IN THE WATER

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VA-VA-VOOM LOOK AT THAT ZOOM

2 comments:

paul peggy zeus said...

Great shots especially of the Great White Egret landing - Perfect wing position, lighting and I also love the egret with the wind blown feathers - Blew me away!

lilmansworld said...

wing!

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