This day of shooting and hiking started at Tesla park. As we were walking I noticed a host of shadows on the ground ahead. I looked up to see a flock of seagulls circling. As I was snapping away it suddenly dawned on me what seagulls often do to the unsuspecting fool on the ground looking up. SPLAT! We quickly moved on with no foul droppings from the sky. The girls were their usual running and playful selves. A scrub jay was juggling several acorns at once. A Brown Thrasher (my first) was in a tree. A Kestrel on a wire. We moved on to continue the day along Collier Canyon Road to Highland road and finally out Marciel Rd for some landscape views. At 1:30 pm it was bright, sunny, and a balmy sixty degrees with a few puffy clouds. At 5:30 pm it was just above freezing. We had hail, and a fair amount of it too. Got to love California in February.
There was a lone White Tail Kite sitting in my favorite oak tree. Then a Vulture perched near it. Then another, and another until there were 5 and then the White tail Kite said "enough is enough" and flew across the ditch to a tree on the other side. A Red Tail Hawk and Kestrel were also nearby. The girls are always with me. The park's lamps are picturesque too.
On this trip I first encountered a couple of wild animals chasing each other around the park. The girls do this every time we come here. They chase each other for about 5 minutes until the initial energy bloom wears off. Then they come to me on their own for their first cookies. Good Girls! This was a real good study of the White Tailed Kite. He (or she) waited until we got close, then flew across the ditch to a tree on the other side, then repeated the procedure when we caught up to him on that side. I looked up at one point and noticed some contrails very clearly but couldn't make out the jet until I looked at it through the viewfinder with my super telephoto lens. Even then it barely showed. A small bird that I think is either a flycatcher, a gnatcatcher or maybe even a type of swallow. Then some pampas grass and a gnarly oak.
On my previous visit here (Tesla #1) I captured my first ever Kite. This time I captured my first ever Kestrel and had no idea that I had until I got home. I was interested to see which local songbird might have such an orange color. As soon as I got home and saw the hooked beak I knew I had a raptor and thought Merlin or some such. I had never seen a Merlin or a Kestrel so I really didn't know. I broke out the bird book and was so surprised and pleased to see it was an American Kestrel. I believe this one is a male with the blue wing coverts. There were numerous Songbirds this day and a lonely Vulture. I also captured my very favorite Oak Tree and a decorative park lamp.
After so many hikes here I knew this would be a great place to photograph many different birds. Then in 2018 I got serious about image making. I was taking photography classes at Las Positas College in early 2017 but was shooting with a Nikon F5 film camera. I purchased my first DSLR, A Nikon D5300 with several kit lenses, half way through the year. I liked it a lot but felt cheated with a cropped sensor-meaning a smaller field of view- and so, purchased my Nikon D850. I have been so pleased with this camera I think I'll never need a new one, though at some point it may just be too heavy for my ever older arms to support.
Of the three prime local areas for Bird Photography, I think I've never taken better ones than here at Tesla. The hawks, kites, kestrels, falcons and Eagles were a great blessing and completely cooperative on most occasions as long as I kept my distance. Of course there were vultures waiting for the leavings...
Red Tailed Hawk, White Tailed Kite & Turkey Vulture.