Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Late in the Day at the Back Bay

On a whim yesterday I decided to go over to the Upper Newport Bay, which I could almost consider my extended backyard since I Can walk across Jamboree from my neighborhood and be looking at the head of the bay. I enjoyed going birding at such a different time of day, 5pm is a far cry from my usual birding hours, but my class schedule had me in a class on Tuesdays and Thursdays during those.
The lighting was not quite at the "magic hour" yet, but was really great, and the tide was not low, but wasn't at it's highest either so there was mud exposed enough to draw Marbled Godwits, Willets, dozens of Snowy Egrets, and some Short-billed Dowitchers - I believe they were both adults, one in alternate and one in basic plumage. This gave me ample opportunity to study them as well, because for all that I live seconds from the coast and other bodies of water, I am embarassingly bad at shorebirds. As I stayed there taking photographs of the feeding birds, more were flying in or flying by, and as I glanced up from one set of snapping photos, I saw one of the resident ospreys circling. Unfortunately I got no good photos of it.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

August Morning Walk at SJWS

Damn it was hot today, over 90 degrees this morning! But the birds were active, and the butterflies and dragonflies even more so. The best species for me were the wildly abundant Red-necked Phalaropes, I've never seen so many at Sea and Sage before. Here's my best shots from the walk. They are - in order: two red-neck phalarope pics, the dragonfly is a common green darner, a song sparrow, the skipper I'm pretty sure is a Fiery, and the plant is caterpillar phacelia all dried out...

Friday, August 25, 2006

Unexpected Visitors!

Well, tonight I had some unexpected visitors at my door! I heard some scratching sounds on the glass at the back door, and when I turned on a light, it revealed 4 raccoons - 3 young and a mother.
What inquisitive little critters!
Wolfe, my cat was very intrigued by them, not the least bit upset, or frightened, just interested.
Hmm, maybe I ought to clean that glass...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Leigh Has a New Store!

Hey all, while I haven't been taking very many photos lately, I have been busy. I opened up a store on to sell various items like totebags, hats, greeting cards, and mugs with my photographs on them! You can purchase these items at a very reasonable cost, and having bought items from stores on this website before, I can personally attest to the quality. So if you particularly liked a photograph of mine, and would like it made into a postcard or a t-shirt, check out my store and order it. If the particular photograph isn't there on an item you'd like to purchase, email me and let me know which item and which photograph you'd like and I will place it in there for you!
Want a black t-shirt with this lovely wild rose on it? Buy one today!
Help a college student out with her book costs eh ;)
Without further ado, my store, enjoy!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Apology to the Nature Readers

Sorry for the lack of my own photography and birding-related posts! It has been a busy and eventful summer for me and I admit birding took the back burner. Luckily migration is gearing up soon, and with my digital photography class I have an excuse to go birding - it's homework! So here's to promising more of my own photographic posts soon, and maybe with more artistic flare since we are working with Photoshop CS2, hooray =)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Beach Photo Shoot<3

Time to get out from my usual place behind the camera and pose for a few shots... Pete and I really wanted some professional-quality photos of us to frame since he's leaving for Chicago in a week. We also wanted to use one for the cover of the memory book we're making via - a really awesome website where you can make a myriad of things like puzzles and blankets and stamps and such, using your own photographs. Instead of paying through the nose for a professional (expensive) photographer, we asked our friend Jessica to take them for us. She is an amazing photog in her own right, and was willing to do it for us for free! (It gave her ample opportunity to try out her newly upgraded camera)

Here's a few of the shots - some photoshopped, some not, and here's a link to her page so you can see which she picked out as well...

Monday, August 14, 2006

Weekend in San Diego

Hey all, sorry for the lack of posts, nature-related or otherwise. I spent this weekend down in San Diego with Pete, he leaves for college in Chicago on the 19th and needless to say I'm not taking it well. We had a beautiful weekend though, relaxing, walking around Coronado, and eating out at some great restaurants, as well as cooking in. We stayed in his family's condo in Downtown S.D. It has a gorgeous view of the city, and it was really a treat to wake up to each day. Classes ended last week, summer semester really does suck, and fall classes start the 21st so I get one whole week of no class, hooray? I'll keep this short and end the post with a few photos from the trip =)
Dinner at Fillipe's in Little Italy, there was a line out the door to eat there!!
Pete cutting veggies for the dinner we prepared Friday night, it was delicious!
On the ferry across to Coronado a cicada landed in my hair and the lady behind me (taking the photo for us) flicked the crap out of that sucker, it was on the ground for like 5 minutes before it flew away! poor cicada
We had dinner at the most amazing mexican restaurant in Old Town, my new favorite place to eat in San Diego, best food

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Tuesday at UNB - Junior Ranger Camp

Hey all, I worked a few hours at a Junior Ranger program run by the Park Staff at the Upper Newport Bay's Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center. It was my job to teach the students about birds then take them out on a short bird walk. Basic information and a few species. It was a suprisingly birdy day at the bay, we got a huge flock of willets and godwits, with a few yellowlegs and a single long-billed curlew mixed in. Caspian terns were abundant and vocal. I saw one skimming along the water the same way a black skimmer would, I had no idea they fed that way occasionally. We got the good fortune to have the osprey fly over. We later got even better looks over at the nest post where the first successful fledging happened this year, since the platform was put up 13 years ago. (damn me not bringing my camera on the walk...)
Two sightings for me - one was the ash-throated flycatcher picking bugs out of a spider web, a good one for the campers to see. The second was a wintering northern pintail, anyone know how often they do that round here? I saw it in eclipse or perhaps it was a juv. The shape and color originally caught my eye and when I got a moment I took a better look at it and realized what it was. The light blue coming down the sides of the bill was a big tip off.
Now I'm gonna shower off and grab some lunch, no clue what's on the agenda for the rest of the day but this certaintly was a nice break from summer finals... ugh.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I and the Bird #29 Goes on Vacation

Right now it is summer in sunny Southern California, and for most people summer means taking a vacation. Having just gotten back from a really fantastic road trip up the CA coast, I admit to having traveling on the brain. So pack your bags, don't forget the sunscreen, insect repellant and extra socks because I and the Bird is hitting the road!
Our first stop is one of my local hangouts, the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary, where Amy Hooper of Wildbird on the Fly went on one of the daily morning walk's with Sea and Sage Audubon's Advanced campers. After taking in the canvasback and virgina's rail, it is time to move on, after all we have a lot of ground to cover.
When going on any vacation it is imperative to take a field guide that depicts the birds of that region. We head up the cost to Washington where GrrlScientist of Living the Scientific Life has recommended we pick up the Birds of Washington State guide.
Our next stop is 1562.04 miles away in Tuscon, Arizona where we join Rick from Amophila Adventures watching aztec thrushes, flame-colored tanagers, and montazuma quail at Treasures of the Sierra Madre in Madera Canyon.
Now head off to a seminar on the Ecology and Conservation of Forest Birds in the Pikes Peak Region of Colorado. Melissa from Rosetta Stones has invited us to watching and listen as professor Brian Linkhart pulls birds out of the mist nets and teaches us about the importance of preserving such a wonderful place.
Northward now, 1169.05 miles to Minnesota where Birdchick takes us in persuit of the slaty-backed gull. We all stop in for lunch at the Angry Trout before moving along.
Next, Alabama, where we have a seat in Karen of Rurality's garden. We snack on tomatos and okra and enjoy her beautiful indigo buntings, garden-helpers that keep the food we're consuming pest-free.
Next we join Mike from 10,000 Birds, in Rollins Savanna, Illinois. Here we all enjoy the mid-western regulars like dicksissel, yellow-headed blackbird, sedge wren and of course, savannah sparrow.
Massachusetts is next on the list. Here we meet with Janet from The Plover Warden Diaries where we take a shift watching over piping plover nests with her, then head over to try to get a glimpse of the black-tailed godwit through the crowds of other hopeful birders.
We join Tai Haku of Earth, Wind and Water in looking at a suprisingly small green heron before moving on to New Jersey where Patrick of The Hawk Owl's Nest gives us a lesson on identifying northern rough-winged swallows, a species I happen to love myself.
Our next stop is only a few hours and 177.58 miles to Washinton D.C., where John of A DC Birding Blog teaches us about ovenbirds, a really neat little warbler that differs from what one might consider usual warbler plumage.
Now onto South America where we canoe with Carel of Rigor Vitae, to see Hoatzins, a species I have neither seen or heard of before. Perhaps this stop provides a lifer for most of us?
Our next two stops are even father into South America where we see magellanic pengiuns with Joe of Interesting Things of the Day.
Now onto visit Clare of The House & other Arctic musings, in a real dump in Ushuaia Argentina. Amid the garbage we see white-throated caracaras, mulitple species of gulls, and one of his favorite species, a white-crowned sparrow, far out of range!
Now it's off to the U.K. to Sheffield where Roger of Words & Pictures takes us on an urban birdwalk where we hear blackcaps and whitethroats, and discuss the status of the black redstart.
Alright everyone, bathroom break because this next flight is gonna be a long one. It's off to Australia to join Duncan of Ben Cruachan Blog to participate in an orange-bellied parrot survey. beyond parrots the wildlife is abundant and even a little frisky at times.
Well guys, it's now time to hop on your respective flights home, unpack and get back to reality. I hope you all enjoyed our vacation together. Don't forget to submit to IATB#30 over at Burning Silo!