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.
STAY COOL! THANKS FOR THE INTEREST! DAVE