Sunday, September 4, 2016

“High and Dry times” September 2016 Updated wildlife photos from the Bay Area.

Goodbye to the Swains! Up high to fly south soon, our dry hills now golden as we wait for rain.

A tale of two red tails featured in profile photos. The first is a youngster who flew right up to me as I was taken pictures of a northern harrier way out there who had no interest in coming close. Youngster had no problem with me standing next her or him, maybe because he found me. I don’t know to be honest.

    The fourth photo is of another red tail mentioned earlier in this blog. This was a grizzled old timer who refused to fear anyone anymore. Soiled wing tips from dragging on the ground, gray around the eyes and a beak that had seen younger days. As I stood next to him or her, it dove a couple times for mice and even landed on my car. I called animal control upon finding this bird, though quickly realizing this was just an old timer living out the end of its life cycle. The animal control officer and I both took photos before leaving the bird alone. The Ironic part of the story is that both experiences took place in the same area near Byron Airfield in eastern CC County…
Red tailed hawk youngster

Western burrowing owls This picture a different look from an older shoot. I haven't been able to find larger colonies like I used to...
This group was part of a Brentwood colony no longer there. Hopefully moved to a safer location.  

Black tail buck. Don't like the back ground, though I went with it anyway. Love these big guys, this one behind a barn near Camino Tassajara...

Red tail hawk Old timer taken in 2008 or so...

Western Pond turtle
"Last time I fall asleep on high tide"

Bobcat Another from an older shoot on Morgan Territory.

Swainson hawk youngster. Funny with the swains, eyes visible and clear when young, turn very dark and deep set when older. Guess good sunglasses are required for that migration...

Red fox crossed Vasco in front of me during busy traffic, we both took a chance as I shouldn't stop on that highway. The fox made it safely back across and headed for the hills.

Swainson adult near my home in Oakley. Followed this one for years, still she screamed vehemently...

Western coyote,
nothing better than a happy song dog on the trail...

Monday, August 1, 2016

Bay Area Local Wildlife photos August 2016

        Updated wildlife pictures with photos of animals taken here in our Bay Area.  Lately, I have had some luck crossing paths with a few coyotes in the North Los Vaqueros watershed and Marsh Creek areas. They roam the dry hills and canyons during daylight hours hunting the elusive ground squirrels. The numerous little runners were not born yesterday; they possess audible alarm calls and amazing team survival skills. Yet there are youngsters in the field, and songs dogs know it. I have always respected the Song dog. Attitudes these days are slowly changing thanks to expanding knowledge of wildlife and groups like project coyote…

            Coyotes are listed as a varmint, many humans have little respect. Coyotes are aware the only way to deal with us is to change locations, avoid battle and utilize the ability to cut and run. I honestly believe thru my experiences, and with many conversations with area ranchers, coyote caused damage among livestock tend to be over rated,  I believe their benefit as rodent control out ways the harm they cause.  

     The coyote is as wild and beautiful as this rugged country before him and it could not be the same without him. The increased watershed and park lands have assisted the coyote by providing safe lands to hunt and raise their young without being constantly used for target practice…  

Repeating an old Lakota Sioux proverb,

“The Buffalo will disappear, then man shall be gone and there will be total darkness. And in that darkness the unmistakable call of the song dog will be heard.”   
American Kestrel

White Pelican

Red Fox

Western Coyotes

Anna's hummingbird

Western Coyote

Western Burrowing owl

Red Tailed Hawk

Red Fox- new look from an older shoot

Western Coyote

Friday, July 1, 2016

July 2016 Local Bay Area Wildlife  

There is a great July show in the sky, and it’s not fireworks. It’s our area raptors. Many on the hunt for their new young, others sitting nests feeding and covering the young in this hot weather, while some just cruising way up in the thermal air drafts. We are very fortunate to have the varied species of interesting raptors in our bay area. Please watch out for young birds and animals new to this world, and please do not use rat poisons. If you see bait boxes around buildings or businesses, I can’t see anything wrong with speaking respectively to the owners about removing these boxes for the good of our environment. Poison contaminates the entire food chain recklessly, and no one wants to be responsible for the carnage. Change is coming; we will be the ones lucky enough to see it through…

            Summertime raptors and other interesting characters, happy Fourth of July! Young white tail kites are back in my area, though I haven’t been able to witness the training sessions like last year. Swainson hawks are thriving in eastern CC County, and the nest sites are numerous. I am once again monitoring my favorite family who has three youngsters again; hopefully all will make it through. Anyone interested in viewing photos of the maturing season of the youngsters let me know, I would be happy to Email their progress once they are ready…  

Thanks, Dave
red tailed hawk

great egret

white tailed kite

western coyote

swainson hawk


red shouldered hawk-green racer snake

swainson hawk

tarantula wasp-thanks Michael for showing me this mini world of wonderful insect species. Maybe not so mini, this one was near three inches in length...

red tailed hawk, first time I remember seeing one eyelid protection screen down while the other is up. One flap down.
Thanks everyone for the interest, I appreciate it much! Happy fourth! Be safe...

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

June 2016 “Heroes and Villains” Bay Area Wildlife update

*Happy Memorial Day! Thanks for our War Veteran heroes who keep us safe and secure.

Dry winds and warm days are sweeping through our bay area turning the hills to gold and bringing on the summer. It is a tremendous time of year for those of us enjoying the outdoors and wildlife.

I received a response from Fish and Wildlife regarding my concerns relating to the status of burrowing owls in eastern Contra Costa. I was satisfied with their response,  a warden came out, provided information and viewed areas over grazed by goats in small sections of creeks and flood basins. Something is not right, wish I could figure it out.

Due to a leg injury, my hiking has been curtailed considerably lately. Feeling better, I plan to get out and hike in remote areas soon. Lately, I have shot many photos from the roadside perspective.
Burrowing owl@ Jersey Island

Tule Elk @ Tamales bay 

Red breasted sap-sucker @ Del Valle

Older Barn owl photo from the cave that lasted over 20 years prior to being washed out about 10 or less years ago. Morgan Territory.

Rattler @ North end of Los Vaqueros reservoir.

Black tail buck on Finley Rd. CC County South.

Long billed Curlew in Byron

Burrowing owls at Sand Creek basin in Brentwood

Swainson hawk in Brentwood

Rattler @ Los Vaqueros reservoir N/S

Burrowing owl-  hero of course. Who doesn’t like these owls?
Tule elk-    hero, especially to all the babes he is hanging with.  
Red breasted sap sucker-    villain, even though wood peckers destroy trees, they many times go after diseased trees actually assisting with quick disposal and ground structure for other wildlife.  
Barn owls-   heroes no doubt. Proper rodent control. Willing to work late night shifts.
Rattler-   Villain, and proud of it. Another rodent controller. Comes with warning device.
Black tail buck-   Hero, I would only shoot at these with a camera… Can be jealous, and antlers were designed for making things right and clearing things up.
Long billed curlew-  Hero, once rare and hunted, these large ground foragers making a decent comeback. Witnessing many together walking fields is always a welcome sight.
Swainson hawk-  Hero, tremendous flying skills, loves to vacation down South. Provide great rodent control.
*Just playing on the words. All wildlife is awesome. All interesting in its own way.
Thanks, Dave.      

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Bay Area Local Wildlife May 2016

"Raptors and Cats" No update on Burrowing owls just yet, though I am expecting an email from Fish and Wildlife.
Not at all impressed with the burrowing owl conservation network. (If their is such a thing)
I am still going to get some answers from someone on these issues.
Had to reach back to some B side photos for a couple of these as my luck and chasing time has been slightly off during the last month. It is a beautiful springtime out there, even the cattle ponds are holding water... Interesting note: For the first time ever, I have found more bobcats the last two months than coyotes. And everywhere I go someone says " I saw five coyotes out here this morning".
That's the beauty of wildlife I guess.
red tailed hawk / gopher snake NS Los Vaqueros reservoir
bobcat Mines Rd. Livermore

burrowing owl Brentwood

male northern harrier over wheat field EO Oakley

Swainson hawk over Knightsen

red tail flight over Byron

baby fawn chases mom at Los Vaqueros reservoir SS

bobcat at Mines Rd. Livermore (different cat than #2)

golden eagle stare down

same red tailed hawk as #1 leaving NS Los Vaqueros reservoir
Thanks everyone for the interest!