Here are additional photos from the Costa Rica trip spanning from 6 miles s of the Nicaraguan border to the mountainous highlands at 8000 ft of the south.
We just returned from a trip to Costa Rica and visited many different habitats from dry tropical forest, wet tropical lowlands, cloud forests and coastal mangrove.There were a wide variety of birds, mammals and reptiles photographed.The birds included many Hummingbird species,Trogons, Toucans, Motmots, Herons, Warblers, Tanagers, Owls, Hawks, Kites, Orioles, and Oropendola, Macaws, Parrots, and Woodpeckers.We stayed at remote lodges in at least 5 areas.Tropical Birding organized and led the trip and did an excellent job of finding birds and locations.It really is necessary to have a guide to find many of the birds as they are not always that obvious. We will be updating with new posts with more images in the coming weeks.
We went to Bosque del Apache south of Albuquerque,NM just after Thanksgiving to photograph the thousands of Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese that winter at several wildlife refuges there. There are approx 15,000 cranes and 25,000 snow geese plus a few Bald Eagles, hawks, owls, coyotes, and other wildlife. The birds are there from Nov into Feb and then migrate to nesting grounds in Colorado, Nebraska,and Wyoming. The birds roost in shallow ponds overnight and fly out to feed in corn fields on the preserve and nearby. In late afternoon they return to their protective water so they can be photographed taking off in the morning at sunrise or before and landing before sunset. The visitors center has bird feeders for other birds such as Gambel’s Quail, Pyrrhuloxia, Spotted Towhee, and others.
The Department of the Interior is recommending cutting in half several important National Monuments in Southern Utah including Bears Ears, and Grand Staircase-Escalante to allow “development”, which means strip coal mining, and oil and gas drilling. Bears Ears contains precious Native American artifacts, petroglyphs, dwellings, and archeological sites which could be destroyed. Also the Republican Tax bill includes drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Preserve which is critical habitat for millions of birds, Polar Bears, and other wildlife.
CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVES IN CONGRESS TODAY TO STOP THIS ASSAULT !!
For more info contact the Sierra Club or Nature Conservancy in my Blog Roll links
I photographed at San Jacinto Wildlife area yesterday and was able to get a juvenile Red-shouldered hawk and a Merlin in flight. There also was the first Golden Eagle that I have seen this year. Usually they don’t arrive until late Nov or Dec. It flew off before I was able to get close enough for a decent shot.
We photographed around Jackson Hole, Wyoming in Teton National Park the last week in Sept. It rained, snowed, was partly cloudy, and warmed up to 60 one day but that didn’t stop us. Temps ranged from 25 to 60 over a week. The Moose and Bears are out rain or shine but of course the sunrises and sunsets aren’t too good when it is totally overcast. Some of the best landscapes came right after the rain or snow cleared, which it did. I used my new Canon 5d mark IV with a 17-40mm wide angle lens for landscapes and a Canon 1dxII for wildlife with a 300 mm f2.8 and 1.4 extender.
I photographed Allen’s Hummingbirds in my front yard. We have them year round, but there is an increase in numbers around August with some migrating south for the winter. They are extremely territorial and spend most of their time chasing away other hummingbirds. It takes standing approx 12 feet away from the flowers and waiting for sometimes hours to catch them feeding. If you try to approach closer they fly away. I was using a Canon 1dx II with a 300 mm f2.8 lens and 1.4 extender usually 1/2000 sec to freeze the wings.
Our backyard Western Bluebirds have produced their second batch of young this year- April and now July with 3 young each time. They just fledged last night all at once and are nowhere to be seen today. Usually the parents take them away from nest and often return to the area a couple of weeks later. We have 2 bird baths that they frequent so we see the adults and last years young often.
Great Blue Herons arriving and catching fish at Seabeck, Wa on the Hood Canal west of Bremerton, Wa. This is the same location for the Bald Eagles, both arriving at the same time for the abundance of the sculpin fish at low tide. The morning light was the best at around 8-9 am depending on tides. Once the Herons arrive signaling the low tide and availability of fish, the Bald Eagles follow.
After photographing the Bald Eagles we went up to Mt Rainier National Park to the Paradise area at around 5400 ft, which still had quite a lot of snow on June 25th. Reflection Lake is only a short distance from Paradise Inn and Visitor Center. It was partially thawed but still covered with ice and snow, but enough of the water to get a good reflection of Mt Rainier. I found that the best time was at sunrise for an hour or 2 as the water is more still, and you get a better reflection. Also the mountain was better lit with the rising sun and also better clouds than the previous night. You can see the difference in the 3rd photo with no clouds(sunset) and the sunrise images are all the rest. I shot with a 17 to 40 mm Canon Lens with the Canon 1dx mark ii and used varying focal lengths. Also I did multiple panoramas which I have not processed yet but will use 4- 5 exposure to stich together in Photoshop. The Flickers were done near the Paradise Inn with an equivalent of 420 mm lens.
I photographed at Seabeck, Wa June 21 to 24th before and after low minus tides the gathering of Bald Eagles. They congregate only when the sculpin fish are trapped in the low tides in the oyster beds. The Great Blue Herons also arrive to catch fish and the Eagles try to steal from them. I shot all of these with a Canon 1DX II and a 300 mm f2.8 Canon II lens with a 1.4 extender ( total of 420 mm) although a slightly longer lens would be helpful at times. The 1.4 extender combination seems to focus faster and is sharper than the 2x extender. This year there were fewer birds with around 10-15 birds in a small area versus as many as 50-60 last year. In the next Blog I will include some of the Great Blue Heron images and also Mt Rainier Nat Park landscapes.
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