A Change of Pace...
April 2011 was a time to visit Carmel/Monterey/Pacific Grove, California.
My daughter and son-in-law treated me to a Cottage by the Sea at Pacific Grove.
They came from their home in London, picked me up in Salt Lake and we flew to the Coast to celebrate my 75th, along with my daughter's ___ birthday.
My love affair for this location began some 55 years earlier, when I was
stationed in the military at nearby Fort Ord.
Although landscape photography was my first priority, I went prepared for
bird photos using a modest Nikon D90 and 70-300mm lens.
My bird images are in alphabetic order, beginning with the ubiquitous
It's a bit of a paradox how we marvel at finding a bird like this in Utah.
At the same time, they are so common in areas such as this.
The Black Oystercatcher was a fun bird to photograph...
They are very vocal, especially in flight!
Tide Pools and foliage as a backdrop make a colorful combination
This bird hops from place to place providing me flight photo opportunuties
In April, 2011, the days are often overcast, smoothing out the shadows
My walk along the coastline between Pacific Grove and Asilomar State Park was
the area for most of these images, such as this Black Phoebe that appeared each day.
The only other Black Phoebe I've photographed was from St. George, Ut.
This bird was very cooperative
This is one time I would have liked a sunny, blue sky for a background!
This is a Black Turnstone at a time when some sun was present.
Black Turnstone, side view at a time when it blinked!
A group of Black Turnstones...
at a time when a Willet shows up.
Willet, closer up
Here are Cormorants, primarily Brandt's
Here is an extreme crop of the same location, showing the Brandt's breeding
coloration... especially their blue gular pouch.
Brandt's, Pelagic, and Double Crested Cormorants are all found along this coastline.
I was fortunate to find this Brandt's Cormorant closer, for a better view.
Springtime blooms make a stunning backdrop for Brewer's Blackbirds...
These birds are everywhere along my walk!
Brown Pelicans occupy the same areas as do Cormorants, as seen here...
A day with blue sky!
Brown Pelicans juxtaposed against civilization at the Monterey Wharf!
A noisy visitor to the Cottage backyard one morning...
This is a California Towhee! (backview)
My preference for a perch would have been a native tree, rather than this
metal jungle. The bird only was present for less than a minute.
This Canada Goose found a more picturesque location to nest!
Another day with soft, diffuse light
At the Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University, on a walk between Pacific Grove
and the Monterey wharf, I observed what I believe is a Leucistic Canada Goose,
nestled down amidst the 'ice plant'.
"American Crows", occupying the tidal areas...
and also the blooming groundcover that carpets my morning walks.
Here we see (right) a Double Crested Cormorant, sharing real estate with a
Pelagic Cormorant (left).
And, yes... the Eurasian Collard Dove has invaded this area also.
Moving along in alphabetical order, here is a Great Blue Heron on a foggy day.
And, overhead in a Cyprus tree, is a Great Egret... very common here...
Close encounters are made in an unusual way here...
with a kayaker enjoying birds and Sea Otters up close and personal!
The same foggy location as the Great Blue Heron earlier,
(small pond on a... you guessed it... golf course!)
I was given considerable opportunities to capture images of these Egrets all along
my walk from Pacific Grove, either eastward toward Monterey; or west and south
From a distance, watching from shore, a telltale giveaway that there is an Otter
feeding out there would be a seagull following a short distance behind,
picking up scraps of the seafood the otter provides as it cracks open shells on
Here, I believe, is a Western Gull waiting for a handout.
A Juvenile Western Gull (Thanks Bryan, Eric, Ryan!)
House finches add more color to an already spectacular seascape.
Marbled Godwits are found in freshwater paralleling the walkway.
Same bird... different angle.
A Pacific Loon (Thanks again to the experts)
A Restaraunt drew us away to Carmel Valley, where this bird was found.
This is a Golden-crowned Sparrow (Thanks to the experts again!)
Pelagic Cormorants were busy with nesting activities. These birds demonstrate
awesome iridescent colors in their feathers.
The longer I photograph/study Cormorants, the more compelling these
"Jurrasic Park" Critters become.
Pelagic Cormorant in Breeding Plumage
(If only I would have packed the longer Telephoto lens! 300mm is too short here!)
Pelagic Cormorant in Breeding Plumage.
A Pigeon-Guillemot, I believe...
"Ring Around the Rosie"?
An expert identified this bird as:
"An immature Glaucous-winged Gull, with its plumage
bleached and worn"
I couldn't pass up including a Harbor Seal in this picturesque setting!
Killdeer being monitored by a Western Gull.
Black-Crowned Night Heron
The Cyprus trees at "Lovers Point", Pacific Grove hosted this
Here it is again, perched on a rock along the shoreline.
Here is a Red-tailed Hawk, seen along the '17 mile drive'.
It had just finished evening 'dinner' here.
A Song Sparrow...
Western Grebes literally covered the waterfront...
They would occasionally 'run on water'.
Closeup of a Western Gull
Another Western Gull
Another audacious, bodacious Western....
A Western Scrub Jay outside the Cottage...
Another Western Scrub near Monterey Wharf.
Five little WHIMBRELS, on the shore at Asilomar Beach.
I end my APRIL 2011 BIRD LIST with..
this little White Crowned Sparrow doing 'the splits'.
Regarding this image, I reproduce a statement from "Ryan":
"I love that White-crowned sparrow...notice how it is a 2nd year bird,
with its rufous first-winter crown being replaced with adult black feathers".
Please Note:To view a "Landscape slideshow" of the area,
(A special thanks to Musician/Composer Ken Foster for use of his original music for
the "Landscape" Slideshow)