General Nature Photography

Important Announcement

From this point forward postings will be made on the main page, but the photos will also be added to the gallery. To see the written information about the photo do a search for the number (the first number, if it is a set).

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Moss Landing State Beach, California – November 21, 2011
Nikon D7000, Tamron 70-300 VC zoom at 300mm, ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/500 sec

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Moss Landing Beach Park – Moss Landing, California – November 21, 2011
First off, let me assure you this otter is alive and well. He is preening his paws and napping. For those of you who have been to Moss Landing, you know there is a large population of Sea Otters that hang out in the marina area. You usually see them floating on their backs in a large community. I guess I shouldn’t have said well, because I have no idea if this otter is well or not well. I can say I’ve never seen one lying on the beach here. Before we left Moss Landing, this otter had gotten back in the water. That’s why I assume it was just sunning himself or herself.

Humpback Whale Tail

West Cliff Drive – Santa Cruz, California – November 1, 2011
We got a real treat today. In two different locations we were able to watch the Humpbacks from shore. In this photo the whale was slapping his tail on the water. I’m pretty sure he was doing it to call other whales or to broadcast his location. Other whales came closer after this whale slapped his tail a few times.

You can see a few other whale photos on my Keep Santa Cruz Weird Blog .

The whales were feeding on anchovies. At the first location, (I didn’t take any photos) the birds were in a feeding frenzy as well as the whales. It was so exciting that I didn’t want to take the time to pull the gear out of the car. Dumb, huh?

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Moss Landing California – October 14, 2011
Just when you enter Moss Landing State Beach there is a pull off for a couple cars. Several large pipes go under the road to take care of water running from one large body of water to another. These photos were taken during quite a tide rip, so the water was really rushing through the pipes (a rising tide). Sea Otters are usually found on the marina side of the road, but this little guy was on the other side. I don’t know whether he was trying to catch fish near the pipes or trying to swim back through. If he did get stuck on the wrong side of the road, it wouldn’t be disastrous. During slack tide he could easily get back. Anyway, a got an opportunity to get really close. Here are three shots. Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 460mm, ISO 200, f/6.3, 1/250 sec, tripod

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Moss Landing, California – August 1, 2011
This is the last 3 photos I’ll post of the sea lions. I know, I got carried away. The story of Lana the Sea Lion I just posted was in honor of my grand daughter’s 6th birthday. I wanted to have a little fun with the non-bird photos. Even when I lived in Japan and rode the jam-packed trains, I had a whole lot more room than these mammals on this dock.

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See the Fieldtrip Story – Lana The Sea Lion

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Moss Landing, California – August 1, 2011
If you turn in to Moss Landing State Beach and drive to the end of Jetty Road you will find a parking lot of sorts. This is where people come to watch the sea otters. If you look across the water to a dock, you may see a zillion sea lions laying on the dock. To get a close-up view, leave the state beach and turn right on highway one. Be careful, the cars are moving fast. Be patient when you time your return to highway one. There is or used to be a restaurant next to the dock and this is where you turn in to get down to the dock. There is a large paved parking lot. My advice would be to view the sea lions from above and not go down on the dock. I took a ton of photos, and I’m only going to show you a half ton. I know these aren’t birds, but as I have said before – this is my blog! If I take some interesting nature photos, I’ll post em! These photos show sea lions enjoying the sun. I guess they’re working on their facial tan. One fellow seems to have an itch that needs attention.

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17 Mile Drive
At one of the rest/viewing area there were a few ground squirrels. At least that’s what I call them. I’ve included 3 photos. The first one is a portrait. Now here is a photo that any mom would melt over.
However, in reality, I think this big girl is a momma or soon to be. Now this is just wrong. Squirrel obesity should be against the law. Oh, I forgot. This is California. It probably is! The gull in the background is a Heermann’s gull. I took a few photos of these gulls. I should have included them in this little field trip, but if you scroll down to photos 931 you’ll see the Heermann’s Gulls I photographed during this trip. Here is one more of the ground squirrel. There were several, so I’m not sure it’s the same one as shown here.

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Moss Landing, California – March 31, 2011
These little guys are one of the reasons why Moss Landing is so popular. You can rent kayaks and get up close and personal with the resting sea otters. I’m actually posting this in October. The other day at Moss Landing I think I got some really good close-up photos of an otter playing in the pipes that connect two bodies of water just at the entrance to the park. I haven’t processed them yet, but I’ve got my fingers crossed that I got at least one good photo. Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 500mm, ISO 100, f/6.3, 1/160 sec, tripod.

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Moss Landing, California – March 31, 2011
Sometimes I process photos, upload them to the blog, but forget to do a blog entry. Sorry. I wanted to show some typical shots of Moss Landing. On most spring visits there seems to be quite a few peeps.

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UC Santa Cruz Arboretum – Santa Cruz, California – March 29, 2011
As I’ve said many times before, even though this is a blog devoted to birding and bird photography, it is my blog so I reserve the right to bird walk (get the pun) from the normal posting. My trusty sidekick is often with me on my bird walks. She enjoys the birds, but her real passion (besides me, of course) is gardening and flowers. For this reason, the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum is a favorite of hers. These are for you, babe!

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UC Santa Cruz Arboretum – Santa Cruz, California – March 29, 2011
I often see these lizards on my birding trips to the arboretum. Rabbits are another common site. Shawn and I did an Internet search to try to find out exactly what species this lizard is, but it was weeks ago and I have forgotten our conclusion. Nikon D80, Nikon 70-300 zoom at 195mm, f/5.3, 1/640, ISO 200

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Moss Landing, California – March 31, 2011
Moss Landing is one of my favorite birding locations when I’m down at my cottage in Santa Cruz. I can’t wait till this Fall when my wife and I will be retired and go down for a 3 month stay. We plan on being in Santa Cruz during the Fall and Spring months. We’ll see how things work out for that. During Winter we’ll be in Washington for duck/water bird season and during summer for boating. Since we’ll be down in California for several weeks at a time, I hope to expand my birding haunts, but Moss Landing will always be one of my favorites. The state park is not large, but the birding is often quite good. A jetty/channel is located at the mouth of an inland water area. Just north of that entrance from the ocean you can often see otters and sea lions hanging about. The otters are close enough for some digiscoping. On this trip I tried to get some portrait shots, but it wasn’t easy. It really stretched the capabilities of my camera/fieldscope. I remember taking some photos back in 2007. Do a search for Sea Otter to find those photos on the blog.

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Theler Wetlands – Belfair, Washington – October 6, 2010
On a nice day my son-in-law, my two grandchildren (5 & 2) and I like to go on bird walks. The closest trail system from my house is Theler Wetlands – less than 10 miles away. The trail is flat and popular with walkers, joggers and nature lovers. The trail weaves around through wetlands and along a small river that flows into Hood Canal. As far as birding goes, it is a hit or miss affair. Part of this depends on the tide. When the tide is high there is little mud along the sides of the river. We like mud. Mud means peeps. Today was a slow day. As the ducks return to the Northwest, things will get more active. We did see a few Great Blue Herons, a Northern Harrier and some Killdeer. There were also some little brown jobbies, Cedar Waxwings and Spotted Towhees, but no photos worth keeping. I only have two photos for the day – this unknown gull – maybe a Ring-billed juvenile and a dragon fly. Both were taken with my digiscoping system. Nikon P4, Nikon Fieldscope 82mm ED with 30x WA eyepiece, and tripod, f/6.1, 1/420 sec, ISO 50

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Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge – Washington State – August 29, 2010
I’m not sure what this is. It isn’t a bird! I suppose it’s a muskrat or something of that sort. Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 500mm, f/6.3, 1/160 sec, ISO 400, tripod

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Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge – Washington State – August 29, 2010
I got a couple of good photos of an adult raccoon teaching its five babies to forage for food. Or, should I say, the babies were so cute that I got photos of them. Here are two I’ll share with you.

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Northwest Trek Park – Eatonville, Washington – August 17, 2010
Here are four non-bird photos. The first two were taken from the tram ride. We saw a lot of animals, but I didn’t have a very good seat and the movement of the tram along with low light made it difficult for my trusty ole but limited Tamron zoom. This moose was casually walking along the fence grazing as it went. Much of the park is enjoyed without seeing any fencing, which adds to the experience of being inside with the animals rather than looking into an enclosure. The second photo is some type of mountain goat. Photo three and four were taken while walking around the park on the trails. I saw this dragonfly while watching the foxes and I liked the silhouette. The last photo is a wolf. Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 200mm, f/5.0, 1/160, ISO 400, handheld

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Sequim, Washington – Olympic Game Farm – October 18, 2010

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Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge – October 18, 2008
Surprisingly, a digiscoping setup can come in handy when you want to take a close-up. The only difference is that you are actually quite a distance from the subject. The location of this photo is near the spot where I took some terrific Wood Duck photos a few years ago. I always check out this location in case the ducks are there again, but as the years go by I realize that I was very fortunate to get those photos.

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UC Santa Cruz Arboretum – Santa Cruz, California – March 31, 2009
My wife wanted me to take a couple of flower photos. They really look much better than these jpgs when viewed in Photoshop. I don’t know what kind of flower this is.

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Mt. Katadin Trip – Maine – July 16, 2008
I found this photo in my Nikon P4 Digiscope folder. I guess I forgot to post it. This moose was all the way across a lake, so I maxed out my digiscope equipment to get what I got. At least it’s proof that I actually saw a moose in Maine!

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Gilsland Farm, Maine – July 22, 2008
This beautiful fellow landed on the dock at the pond – just down the hill from the Audubon Center.

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Carmel, Maine – July 22, 2008
This little guy was playing around in the same trees in which I was taking bird photos. I couldn’t resist. If I knew then, what I know now, I would have borrowed Shawn’s shotgun! (Just kidding – kind of). Last weekend I took my Toyota Prius in for its oil change and asked them to check the heating system. There was a rather obnoxious noise coming from the dash. When the technician dropped the glove compartment and pulled out the filter, he discovered that someone had taken up residence in my heater venting system. The critter had made a royal mess. $400 later the problem was resolved. I’ve had chipmunks in my garage before, but this is the first time I’ve run into this. The tech suggested I close the recycle air vent just before pulling into the garage and that I place some scented dryer sheets under the hood. There is something about the strong smell that is supposed to make critters want to be somewhere else. I hope they take the hint!

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Bangor City Forest – Bangor, Maine- July 19, 2008
Shawn said, “You’re not going to post that photo!” I said, “Yep”. Even though one of the major purposes for this blog is to educate people about birding, it is also a place for Shawn and I to keep a record of the bird photos we’ve taken. The bird shown here may be a lifer for me, so despite the poor photo, it has a place on the blog. I would never share this photo in a user group such as Bird Pix (unless I was asking help for an ID – which I will do in this case). I try to share my better quality photos or photos that have a special purpose on user groups. But, here at AKABIRDNERD, you’ll get the whole enchilada!If you have an ID opinion about this photo, please share!

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Mount Katahdin, Maine – July 16, 2008

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Baxter State Park, Maine – July 16, 2008
Shawn and Malia took us for a drive up to one of their favorite places. We hiked in to a lake to look for moose, but had no luck at this spot. We did find a moose at a different location on this trip, but I’ll be posting it later. My grand daughter enjoyed her first fishing experience – at least until she caught a fish and found it wiggly and stinky. A doe with her two fawns surprised us along the trail and I just had a quick opportunity before they bolted into the brush. Here is one of the fawns.

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Birdsacre, Ellsworth, Maine – July 11, 2008
I’m always on the lookout for a nice photo – bird or no bird. This was taken at the raptor refuge place that Shawn and Malia used to frequent when they lived in Carmel. I think it is on the road that goes from Bangor to Bar Harbor.The refuge has a nice loop trail behind the buildings, so I stopped to take this photo while looking for birds.

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June 15, 2008
I sometimes sit in the back of the house and take a few photos of critters and flowers as well as my avian friends.
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom, Manfrotto tripod

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Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge – May 31, 2008
This photo was taken along the loop trail out to Two Barns. Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom, Manfrotto tripod

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Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge – May 31, 2008
We were almost back to the car when I got inspired by the grass along the trail. It’s not all about birds you know! A camera and a nice walk on a nature trail really helps you step back and see what’s around
you. Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom, Manfrotto tripod

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Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge – May 16, 2008
Here are a couple of frogs that begged to have their photos taken.
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom

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UC Santa Cruz Arboretum, California – April 3, 2008
It’s not all about birds! This lizard provided a photo opportunity. Just look how he blends in with his environment.
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom

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Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge – Washington State – March 16, 2008
This goose was right on the trail (not an unusual event here) so I took a quick photo. I see these birds all the time, but I admire them for their family skills – taking care of each other and their young.
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 200mm, f5.0, 1/320 sec, ISO 200, Manfrotto tripod

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Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge – March 16, 2008
Seeing this bird was a real treat as it was a lifer sighting. It was located right at the beginning of the trail that leads out to McAllister Creek. It was grazing along with two Canada Geese.
Nikon P4, Nikon Fieldscope 82mm ED, 30x WA eyepiece, Manfrotto tripod – 3rd photo taken with Nikon D80

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Fir Island – Conway, Washington – February 17, 2008
When looking for a hobby that both my wife and I could enjoy together, birding was just knocking on our door. We both love nature and we both NEED to get the exercise. I can’t think of another hobby that is so well suited to retirement. This is my wife enjoying the thousands of Snow Geese that are feeding in farmer’s fields this last winter. Now we just need to get to the retirement part!

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Gilsland Farm Audubon Center – Falmouth, Maine – December 28, 2007
I believe this is my last 2007 photo. On to 2008!
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 500mm, f6.3, 1/160 sec, ISO 400, Manfrotto tripod

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Carmel, Maine – December 25, 2007
This is my Christmas squirrel. These little guys may be a nuisance around a bird feeder, but they certainly are cute.
Niko D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 270mm, 1/1250 sec, f 5.6, ISO 400, Manfrotto tripod, photo taken through the dining room window

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Red Squirrel – Carmel, Maine – December 22, 2007
In this set of three photos there are two close-ups and one photo showing the squirrel under the bird feeders.
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 380mm, 1/125 sec, f/6.0, ISO 400, Manfrotto tripod – taken through the dining room window

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Red Squirrel – Carmel, Maine – December 22, 2007
What do you do when it’s colder than an ice cube outside and there is 3 feet of snow? You sit in the dining room and take photos of whatever shows up on the back porch. My son-in-law is not as taken with the Red Squirrel as I am. He says they eat up his bird seed. Well, geeze, how’s a body to survive with three feet of snow on the ground. I guess I took a lot of photos of these animals, but I was having fun. You can see the tunnel exit that comes out under the bird feeder. These little guys tunnel all over through the snow. In the 3rd photo the squirrel is eating a sunflower muffin. Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 270mm, 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400, Manfrotto tripod – taken through dining room window.

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Red Squirrel – Carmel, Maine – December 20, 2007
After the squirrels tunnel to the bird feeders they would move around a bit due to the snow being trampled down by my son-in-law. He trampled down the snow under the bird feeders to provide for the ground-feeding species and he also cleared areas of the deck to lay seed. He would have preferred to have the squirrels find someone else’s yard, but I kinda like the little critters.
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 290mm, 1/200 sec, ISO 400, f/5.6, Manfroto tripod – taken through dining room window

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Red Squirrel – Carmel, Maine – December 20, 2007
Well, believe it or not, this is the first photo I processed from my Christmas trip to visit my Grand daughter and her Ma and Pa. And so you say, what’s the big deal. I’ll tell you what. The date I’m writing this is June 21, 2008. I’m just now getting around to processing the photos from six months ago. These little Red Squirrels would tunnel through the snow to get to a point below the bird feeders. The snow was over two feet deep and winter was just beginning! The little guy in the second photo is telling us off. I guess he didn’t want his photo taken.
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 500 mm, 1/160 sec, ISO 400, f/6.3, Manfrotto triod – taken through the dining room window

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Tree Frog – Theler Wetlands – Belfair, Washington – October 12, 2007
This little frog was found over by the bulrushes where the Red-winged Blackbirds usually hang out. Not only did I take photos of anything that moved, but even of some things that didn’t!
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 500mm, 1/320 sec, f6.3, ISO 400, Manfrotto tripod

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Jack Rabbit – Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge – Willows, California – July 10, 2007
Get a load of those ears. This is a set of four photos. We saw these rabbits all over the refuge. It was around noon and the temperature was in the high 90’s. Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 mm at 500mm, 1/160 sec, Manfrotto tripod

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Dragonfly – Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge – Ridgefield, Washington – June 2, 2007
I know absolutely nothing about dragonflies. I was not seeing any birds around, so I decided to shoot a photo of this guy who posed for me. This was our first trip to Ridgefield. We went to two locations. One, where this was taken, north of the other which is an auto trip of about 5 miles or so. We saw a lot of birds during the auto circuit. I’ll be showing a few photos of those next. My son-in-law is into dragonflies and he gave my an ID on this bug. Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 450 mm, 1/80 sec, Manfrotto tripod

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Wild Rabbit – Kent Ponds – Kent, Washington – May 25, 2007
As we were observing some American Goldfinch this little guy came out of the tall grass for a quick visit.
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 500mm, 1/250 sec, Manfrotto tripod

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Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge – May 12, 2007
Here are 4 photos of raccoons we saw today. The first 3 are of one raccoon and the 4th photo is of a raccoon we saw in another location. Both raccoons were seen along the boardwalk that leads out to Two Barns. Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 500mm, 1/60 sec, Manfrotto tripod

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Turtles – Juanita Park – Kirkland, Washington – May 6, 2007
As I have mentioned before, if I see an opportunity to take a nature photo other than a bird photo, I take it.
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 460mm, 1/60 sec, Manfrotto tripod

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Vaughn Bay, Washington – April 22, 2007
This is one of two Gray Squirrels that raids the bird feeders every day. I purchased some feeders that birds can get into, but squirrels can’t. That doesn’t stop these smart little critters. They jump up on a feeder, shake it so that seed falls to the ground, and then goes to the ground to chow down. I don’t make much of an effort to stop them. Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 500, 1/200 sec, Manfrotto tripod

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Moss Landing, California – April 5, 2007
There were 50-100 otters in the harbor. Just look at this guy. Can life get any easier than this? Practically all of them were floating on their backs and seemed to be relaxing. Nikon P4, Nikon Fieldscope 82mm ED, 30x WA eyepiece, Manfrotto tripod

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Moss Landing, California – April 4, 2007
Besides the birds of Moss Landing, the sea otters are a real attraction. They come into this area from open ocean to relax, I guess. There were ten times the number you see here – all lying on their backs in similar poses. Look at their little paws. If this isn’t cute I don’t know what is.

Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 500 mm, 1/200 sec, Manfrotto tripod

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Natural Bridges State Park – Santa Cruz, California – April 2, 2007
I grew up in Santa Cruz, not far from this beach. I remember hearing the sea lions at night, many blocks away. Some things never change. Some things do – I’m now more shaped like a sea lion that a little freckle-faced boy!

Nikon P4, Nikon Fieldscope 82mm ED, 30x WA eyepiece, Manfrotto tripod

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Near Dungeness Spit – January 27, 2007
On the way out to Dungeness Spit for some birding, we saw this herd of elk in a farmer’s field. Of course, we had to stop and take a few photos. They were not very close, so I had to use the digiscope.

Nikon P4, Nikon Fieldscope 82mm ED, 30x WA eyepiece, Manfrotto tripod

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Vaughn Bay, Washington – January 10, 2007
This gray squirrel is a frequent bird feeder robber in my backyard. I don’t make a big deal of it. Squirrels have to eat too!

Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 400mm, 1/60 sec, Manfrotto tripod

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Wapato Park – Tacoma, Washington – November 18, 2006
My wife loves turtles. She begged me to take a photo of this guy on the log. On a previous outing I took a turtle photo and it didn’t come out good. I owed her, so here it is.
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 200mm, Manfrotto tripod

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Vaughn Bay, Washington – November 18, 2006

Today begins a new dimension to my wildlife photgraphy. I have purchased a Nikon D80 DSLR camera for photos that will not reguire the long distance capability of the digiscope.

This chipmunk is trying to figure out how he’s going to get over to a bird feeder. He finally decided the jump was a bit too far and found some seed below the feeder.

Nikon D80, 55-200 zoom at 200, handheld

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McLane Nature Trail – Olympia, Washington
We found these mushrooms near the parking lot during our birding walk. I couldn’t pass up the photo opportunity.

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Vaughn Bay, Washington – October 22, 2006
I’m not up on my seals and I don’t know if there is more than one kind of seal in Puget Sound. I do know that there are many Harbor Seals in our area, so I’m saying this is a Harbor Seal.

Seals often sun themselves on the ski docks that dot Vaughn Bay.

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Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge – October 13, 2006
We were walking along the trail that leads out to Two Barns, with the Nisqually River just yards away. It is a rather damp area. If you saw my earlier posted Wood Duck, it was found in this same location on a
different outing.

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November 12, 2006
This is Chiku Zawadi, or Chiku for short. She has been a part of my family for about 6 years.

Chiku has a very extensive vocabulary. She can sing, whistle and communicate in many different ways. When I’m eating something she likes, she will say “Chiku want toast.”
“It’s good.” “Chiku want.” She is a very smart bird. She can identify many things by name – especially food!

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Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge – September 23, 2006
We walked upon 2 of these beautiful nests with its nasty inhabitants during our birding hike. I thought I’d give it a whack with a stick. Then, I decided, NO!

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Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge – Washington – September 23, 2006

My wife and I found several of these little critters next to the observation platform at the Twin Barns. This little guy seemed as content as a frog on a log. Well, maybe as content as a frog on a leaf.

Nikon P4, Nikon Fieldscope 82mm ED, 30x WA eyepiece, tripod

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Watershed Park – Early September 2006

This wood fungi was found on the Watershed Park nature trail in Olympia, Washington. It was growing on a fallen tree just off the trail.

Nikon P4 set to automatic