Monday, April 30, 2012

Nerdy Birdy: Will Rogers State Park

Mr. Rogue and I have been exploring the parks and hikes closer to our new house when he can get away from work... which sadly isn’t often. Yesterday Mr. Rogue and I decided to try Will Rogers State Park which is probably the closest hike to our house. This was the first time either of us had been to Will Rogers and I was excited to explore someplace new. Will Rogers was a popular actor and he bought 186 acres of land to build a ranch as a quiet place outside the city to be with family and friends. He then donated his place for a public park. And it was GORGEOUS!


Because Will Rogers loved horses so much there is a large polo field which was being used on the property as well as several fenced in fields and of course the gigantic stables.



Of course we both brought our cameras. I settled on my usual large zoom lens to catch any birds we saw, and Mr. Rogue brought an assortment of lenses including a zoom and a wide angle landscape lens.


We took the path to the lookout point and that looped back to the parking lot. On the way up the trail there were some fantastic views of the city and the surrounding mountains.





But no view was as beautiful as the view from the lookout point. You could see all of Los Angeles, you could see the surrounding mountains and we could even see the ocean. It was gorgeous!



I didn’t see any new birds or any unusual ones for that matter but I really wasn’t surprised. With as hot as the day was and the fact that we didn’t arrive to the park until noon, which is not the best time to bird, I was pretty happy with what I did find.






The two highlights of the day were from two rather ordinary birds. I got to see a courting dance of a Mockingbird for the first time. He was carrying a piece of food and dancing flapping his wings, dipping his head to a female watching closely. We sat and watched for a good 15 minutes and I got a few good photos. This one is my favorite, although I had to lay down on the ground to get it, I loved how the eye level shot came out.


The second bird highlight was when the perfect lighting conditions fell across a very willing Allen’s Hummingbird model. I say willing model because he just sat there and sang for a good 10 minutes as I crept closer and closer. Finally in the best position I could get in the clouds rolled in front of the sun. Male hummingbirds have a very reflective throat patch that is a gorgeous rainbow of color. That same throat patch is a nightmare to try to photo. Generally it comes out a flat color or worse a dull black or brown. Just like the photo I took earlier in the day, in full sunlight, of a different Allen’s Hummingbird.


But in the right conditions I finally was able to get the rainbow effect!!! My best hummingbird photo yet!


While I was taking photos of the birds Mr. Rogue concentrated on everything else. He got to spend quite a bit of time with the Macro lens he bought for my birthday last year and he was pretty impressed with its abilities. He got some great photos of the flowers, some bugs and anything else that was interesting.






paul peggy zeus said...

Nice pictures from two amazing photographers. Glad he had a chance to join you in some fun!

Jennifer Arens said...

Nature is just plain awesome!

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