Sunday, December 31, 2017

                                                       It’s January 2018! Happy New Year!
    This photo of rising winter sun taken towards the east from Brentwood… Many beautiful days of late, however we sure could use some rain to fill our creeks and reservoirs.

                                                                Stalking a song dog
          I crossed paths with a beautiful coyote near Los Vaqueros reservoir who was busy hunting gophers. I know I include many photos of coyotes and red tails but I can’t help it. They represent wild freedom to me, and I just really like that. It keeps me going out and am still amazed that in this crazy busy society, wild animals can live just as they always have. Thank goodness there are places that can happen.

           Seagulls have adapted well to Los Vaqueros reservoir as they use the water source for a break from the nearby Alameda dump site just down the road from Los Vaqueros reservoir. At times several hundred land in the lake during this time of year. One predator has used their arrival as an alternate food source. During a two week period of visiting the reservoir I found this predator twice had taken seagulls. Photos below reveal who the villain is…  

                                                  Wintertime ferruginous hawk
                Showing more photos of ferruginous hawks. It has become harder in my opinion to locate these gorgeous hawks; they used to be numerous around the Bethel Island area. Development has scattered them to lesser populated areas where large rodents thrive it seems. They also show up in regional parks and other remote areas around us. Still, the Delta is a quality place to view them consistently. All pictures shown have been taken in our greater Bay Area and besides the rising sun photo, are part of the local wildlife.
Western coyote L. Vaqueros SS

Golden eagle L. Vaqueros SS

Ferruginous hawk Knightsen

Western coyote L. Vaqueros SS

Sand hill cranes CA Delta system

Western bobcat L. Vaqueros SS

Golden eagle -seagull L. Vaqueros SS

Ferruginous hawk Knightsen

Red tail flight in Oakley
Gray fox @ Del Valle reservoir
Thanks Everyone, happy new year!

Thursday, November 30, 2017


                Updated the wildlife photos with some of the wild species that can be observed in the bay area during this fall season. Among others, red shouldered hawk and osprey flight pictures taken this fall, and other animals found along the way chasing the wildlife…
        The season is changing bringing back green grass and unsettled weather. One of first things in fall I appreciate is the sand hill cranes flying into our delta region along with other waterfowl migraters. The sand hillers have made a comeback, and it seems like the flying columns continue to get larger. The booming voices fill the air as they come in to feed and rest on our delta islands. The large birds can live over twenty years and remain loyal to the same mate for a lifetime. They are living proof that we can make changes to preserve species by making adjustments and allowing wildlife to proliferate on their own by changing some of our habits and practices we use around their habitat.  
    The next great step will be to remove rodent poisons once and for all; “Raptors are the solution” is leading the way in this endeavor. R.A.T.S has fought hard to educate the public on the extreme fall out and effects of using these products. I cannot give this organization enough credit, the proof continues to come in daily from many environmental sources and scientific studies. It is not a theory or story tale, it is real! And it aims at a myriad of species all the way up the food chain.   
“A world without raptors and other predators is a world I want no part of.“

Raptors are the Solution

Red shouldered hawk in Knightsen

Another shot from an older experience not previously shown. Thought's are an interesting contrast from last months summer looking coyote at close range. They certainly adapt to the seasons nicely. Western coyote... Los Vaqueros S/S.

resident red tail in Oakley, if this perch looks familiar, it has been used for kestrels, kites, coopers and others. Taken in my yard, lucky to have so many raptors around...

Sand hill cranes near Holland tract...

Another different look from an earlier shoot at Los Vaqueros S/S. Bobcat...

Acorn woodpecker, looking hard for a place to hide some winter food... Mines Rd. Livermore area.  

Ferruginous hawk near Jersey Island...

Sand hill crane on Holland tract...

Small bobcat at Los Vaqueros S/S This tiny cat was nearly the size of a house cat. I have seen many this small in the bay region.

Probably male osprey with small perch, east of Knightsen along seven mile slough...
Another example of what we can accomplish as bald eagles and ospreys have benefited from the removal of DDT, now lets remove rat poison.  

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

                                                             "Return of the Hawks...              

                                           Bay Area Local wildlife November 2017  
               After a great rain and snow season last year, this year is off to a bad start. Everything out there is dry and dangerous. If we just had a decent storm or two we may not have suffered as badly from these recent firestorms. A good storm would be a welcome sight at this point. Can't wait for cool mornings and green grass. Bring on the winter!

               Bringing back some raptors this time around, also including another road runner again in the Livermore hills off Mines Rd. 

                    The eyes tell the story... In the past I have been allowed into groups of black tail deer even with a dominate buck present. I backed down to this buck when looking into his eyes... Took the picture of the male out near Camino Tassajara.

Monarch butterfly and milkweed plant. 

The dark flyer-red tail hawk South CC County near Highland Rd.

Ferruginous Hawk near Bradford Island

Western coyote-N/S of Los Vaqueros reservoir property.

White tail kites have been returning home with family in Oakley. Usually for a few minutes, then off they go.

Another road runner in Livermore hills area. I am getting closer to the shot I want...

Bull of the west... black tail buck in Camino Tassajara area of C Costa county. I did not want to become a statistic...

Red tail hawk in Oakley.

Ferruginous hawk near Holland tract.

Happy Halloween! by the birds in black. Turkey vultures near Del Valle reservoir.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

                               Bay Area Local Wildlife October 2017 Season of the Black Tail deer

   When out and about in our area foothills and outback areas these days of fall, if you see female doe’s, likely there is a large buck nearby possibly in the cover. This is the time of year those antlers matter, and it is all on when competing for females. When winter rolls around all will be forgotten, and the boys will be best friends all over again. The women and youngsters will band together and survive the winter together. Sharing a few pictures of the rut in progress in the Bay Area…

       Burrowing owl update for eastern C.C. County; there is no doubt about it, the burrowing owls numbers are dwindling in our Bay Area. Many folks have contacted Fish & Wildlife about discing or plowing of fields for fire prevention during breeding season in East County, yet this practice continues even in areas where property owners are aware of the owls. In June 2015, the process was halted in Brentwood when F&W responded, yet in 2017 again the field was plowed as owls were present. F&W is understaffed, and claims there are more important matters. I have been in contact with F&W concerning two areas in an attempt to notify the property owners we are aware the owls are here and present. I am expecting protective actions next spring when they are raising their young, and I am watching closely from now on. Some F&W officers are sincere, while others do not impress me. One in particular, responded to area and later says “there are no owls” while failing to respond despite the fact I had previously advised him I had recent pictures of the owls. At this point, I will not name names. There are laws concerning disrupting the soil in areas the owls breed from March to August, and they are listed as a species of special concern. If the discing occurs next spring in one or both of these two areas this is going to another level.

    Sharing a photo not previously shown taken about 10 years ago at a time Jim Hale (Biologist) and I visited the Brown St. Basin in Oakley to study the burrowing owl colony. At that particular time, I estimate some 30 owls (Including young) were living in burrows in this flood basin. Oakley has announced recently this basin will be turned into a sports field soon like the two other basins both of which had burrowing owls. Laurel Basin and Freedom Basin in past years. (These areas have no signs of burrowing owls any longer) Currently ,at the Brown St. Basin there are much fewer owls, possibly due to area development or lack of food source. As I have said before, for some reason the owls prefer the city life. Perhaps to escape the raptors and other demons of the prairie, I don’t know.
Anna's hummingbird from my back yard in Oakley

A warrior Up Top Morgan Territory

Road runner Mines Rd. Livermore

Blue heron Taylor Slough California Delta

"blacktail gals" Camino Tassajara area near San Ramon

Black Tail buck

Bushtit at Del Valle reservoir

Anna's in Oakley

Burrowing owl in Oakley (Older photo)

Black tails at Los Vaqueros reservoir
Thanks everyone!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

                                                        Golden Country September 2017

                The days of summer has kept me loyal to the Livermore foothills in Alameda County. Getting up high above the tree covered valleys, and spring fed creeks of this impressive area. Here, many raptors take to gliding over the wilderness in the warm thermal up drafts. Hanging out here waiting for raptors reminds me of fishing, sometimes nothing is around while other times the action is good. Lately the fishing is good. The normally dry creeks still hold some water, and it is obvious the wildlife is doing well here these days. Golden country is not only a reference to the color of the hillsides, it also brings out the area top raptor; the golden eagle. In this group of photos, I am highlighting some of the bird’s I have been able to photograph common to this area from  “high in the sky, to those that thrive in valley basins”. Throwing in a song dog captured along Mines Rd. This area also is home to Del Valle reservoir.

        The golden eagle has always been something very special to me. I admire the relationship they have with the Native American culture, and the fact that they prefer the badlands, never too curious about us humans. In photography, I believe it is extremely tough to accurately reflect their fierce personality and fortitude. Seeing them in the wild is like seeing a dinosaur for me. The strong slow wing beats and the ability to hold position in strong wind gives this bird away even from a far. It has always made me drop everything and chase them trying to get a credible photo. (many times denied) It is far easier to gather photos of very colorful birds like red tails, ospreys or ferruginous hawks which reflect the light perfectly for the photographer. The golden however, like other very dark birds sometimes has the photographer looking at the camera, like a baseball infielder looks at his glove when he misses a ground ball. I believe the golden likes it this way, seems to go with the attitude. Dark, deep set eyes, consistent golden brown color on this powerful body; a preference of the most remote open country. This magnificent eagle will always be one the great mysteries of our bay area wilderness.

Coopers hawk at Del Valle
 young golden eagle skyward

Osprey (actually at Los Vaqueros), though they are also at Del Valle

White-breasted nuthatch Mines area

Red tail from topside, mines canyons

Great tailed crackle- bull frog (I believe) Del Valle reservoir

Golden eagle above mines Rd. , crosses ravens territory. Sheer size of golden exposed  here as ravens pretty large as well. Ravens only offering opinion in this event...

younger golden eagle seen here, still with the thick white band on tail...

Plain titmouse down in the canyons. Mines Rd. area.

Unlike the goldens, a western coyote will stop and curiously look back while scaling cliff area on Mines Rd.