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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Nerdy Birdy: Big Morongo Canyon Preserve

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BIG MORONGO CANYON PRESERVE ENTRANCE

I stopped at Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, a favourite birding place of mine, on my way back towards LA. Although I normally visit this park in spring and fall, when the migrants are flocking, I was hoping to get a few wintering bird photos.

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BIG MORONGO CANYON PRESERVE HIKING TRAIL, YOU CAN SEE THE SNOW CAPPED MOUNTAINS IN THE DISTANCE

I was a little worried about the temperature but because this little valley is protected on all sides by mountains it blocked a majority of the wind.

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BIG MORONGO CANYON PRESERVE HAS A BOARDWALK

The mountains protection coupled with the fact that there was not a cloud in the sky enabled the temperature to reach almost 70 which was perfect for birding.

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BIRDING ALONE AT BIG MORONGO CANYON, I WAS ONE HAPPY GIRL

I spent quite a bit of time taking photos of birds that I normally would have passed by, birds that are pretty common, that I have photos of already, but I am attempting to refine some techniques and the more common birds are easier to get closer too.

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CAMERA 7D – LENS 500mm f/4 IS USM – 500mm – 1/640 – f/9 – ISO 640 - SHOT ON TRIPOD
AMERICAN ROBIN


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CAMERA 7D – LENS 500mm f/4 IS USM – 500mm – 1/800 – f/8 – ISO 2500 - SHOT ON TRIPOD
THE BIRDS, LIKE THIS AMERICAN ROBIN, WERE ALL OVER THE PALM TREE BERRIES


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CAMERA 7D – LENS 500mm f/4 IS USM – 500mm – 1/800 – f/9 – ISO 2500 - SHOT ON TRIPOD
CALIFORNIA TOWHEE STUFFING HIS MOUTH WITH BERRIES


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CAMERA 7D – LENS 500mm f/4 IS USM – 500mm – 1/640 – f/8 – ISO 640 - SHOT ON TRIPOD
HOUSE FINCH


Some of the photos, like this picture of the very common Morning Dove, came out incredible; that teaches me not to pass by the common because sometimes the common can become extraordinary.

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CAMERA 7D – LENS 500mm f/4 IS USM – 500mm – 1/8000 – f/4 – ISO 800 - SHOT ON TRIPOD
MOURNING DOVE


Another super common bird is the White Crowned Sparrow. I took a photo of one warbling his song perched on top of a faded flowering stand of plants. By changing my position I was able to fill the entire background with yellow creating one of my favourite photos of the day.

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CAMERA 7D – LENS 500mm f/4 IS USM – SHOT ON TRIPOD
WHITE CROWNED SPARROW


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CAMERA 7D – LENS 500mm f/4 IS USM – 500mm – 1/640 – f/8 – ISO 200 - SHOT ON TRIPOD
JUVENILE WHITE CROWNED SPARROW


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CAMERA 7D – LENS 500mm f/4 IS USM – SHOT ON TRIPOD
WESTERN SCRUB JAY


I spent quite a bit of time trying to find the Vermillion Flycatcher. They are often at Big Morongo near the tennis courts, however, today there were many workers swarming all over that end of the park. I finally spotted the little red bird flitting around in some scrub. Although I kept trying to get slowly closer he was easily spooked. I assumed with all the workers he was on high alert and decided against following him. I didn’t want to cause anymore stress.

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CAMERA 7D – LENS 500mm f/4 IS USM – SHOT ON TRIPOD
SKITTISH VERMILLION FLYCATCHER


That decision to leave the flycatcher caused me to turn around and much to my surprise, right behind me, was perched the same male Phainopepla I had been desperately trying to get a photo of yesterday. HURAH!

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CAMERA 7D – LENS 500mm f/4 IS USM – SHOT ON TRIPOD
THE MALE PHAINOPEPLA

2 comments:

paul peggy zeus said...

yeah, you got the Male Phanopepla!!

lilmansworld said...

really liked the tree on the boardwalk. it screams "read under me!"

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