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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).

1032
Carrie Blake Park, Sequim, Washington – December 16, 2011
Well, this is it – the last photo of 2011. It is fitting that the last 2011 photo should be this particular species. Since I live on the water in Washington, this is the bird I see most often. I love to watch them pick up clams and hover 20-30 feet over the rocky beach and drop the clam to break it open. This bird here at the park is looking for a handout. Nikon D7000, Tamron 70-300 VC zoom at 300mm, ISO 1250, f/5.0, 1/400 sec

1024
Port Orchard, Washington – December 4, 2011
Here are 3 photos I took on a windy day in Port Orchard. The birds were a bit far off for my lens. This one is a Glaucous-winged Gull. Nikon D7000, Tamron 70-300 VC zoom at 300mm, ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/500 sec. Go to Ducks 2011 to see the other two.

1009
Moss Landing State Beach – Moss Landing, California – November 21, 2011
This Caspian Tern made a quick flyby and I was able to get one photo. Nikon D7000, Tamron 70-300 VC zoom at 300mm, ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/1250 sec

966
Wilder Ranch State Park – Santa Cruz, California – October 22, 2011
Just north of the Santa Cruz city limits is a great biking and hiking area – Wilder Ranch. It cost us $10 to park, but we didn’t want to park along Highway 1. This is the same coastal highway we often travel from SC to San Francisco. There are several trails. You can hike or ride your bike up into the hills, or you can go along the coast. We chose the coast and will try another trail next time. It was a hot, gorgeous sunny October day. I took a lot of photos. I posted the scenic and mammal photos on my other blog – Keep Santa Cruz Weird . Check out the scenic photos. It is simply beautiful.

933
Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco – July 31, 2011
I’ve narrowed this bird down to a Western or Herring Gull. It’s probably neither. Somebody come to the rescue! Update:  Consensus is Western Gull Nikon D80, Nikon 70-300 zoom at 102mm, ISO 100, f/5.0, 1/400 sec, handheld

932
Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco – July 31, 2011
In the last posting I mentioned that these birds can be found in the city. Well, here they are right in the middle of Fisherman’s Wharf traffic. I suppose they scavenge for food that people drop on the pavement/sidewalk.
Nikon D80, Nikon 70-300 at 110mm, ISO 100, f/5.0, 1/400, handheld

931
17 Mile Drive, Monterrey California – August 1, 2011
Heermann’s Gulls are quite plentiful in this area. I haven’t been here in the winter, but I’ve seen plenty of them in summer, fall and spring. These four photos are showing the bird in a rather natural habitat, but you can find these birds in the city as well. In the next posting, you’ll see what I mean. I like this gull because it is easy for my to ID. Nikon D80, Nikon 70-300mm at 170mm, ISO 200, f/5.0, 1/1250 sec, handheld

920
Seacliff State Beach – Aptos, California – March 31, 2011
Gulls are particularly difficult for me to ID. I’m pretty sure I’m not in this boat alone. I’m going to make a guess here that this is a second winter bird. My field guide says that the yellow tip of the bill develops with adulthood, and this bird still has quite a few juvenile markings. Nikon D80, Nikon 70-300 zoom at 270mm, ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/500 sec. Aw ha! The lighting of this second photo shows the tip of the bill turning yellow.

893
Port Orchard Waterfront – January 22, 2011
You gull experts out there can haggle over what species this gull is. A gull is a gull is a gull. I can sometimes ID the adult birds, and that is a big emphasis on SOMETIMES. This photo was take with my Nikon D80 and Tamron 200-500 zoom at 200mm. The bird was quite close. f/5.0, 1/640, ISO 200. Any time you see me shooting with my Tamron lens a tripod or window frame or some kind of support is a given unless I’m shooting flying birds.

864
Unknown Location – October 27, 2010
I was in Washington on October 27th, so I must have taken this in Washington State. Caspian Terns are regular visitors to Vaughn Bay during the summer.

847
Sequim, Washington – October 9, 2010
I keep finding these photos that are not on my original blog. Oh well, there here now. This gull was in the same location as the Trumpeter Swans I saw on this day. He is immature and I wouldn’t even guess the species.

803
Theler Wetlands – Belfair, Washington – July 26, 2008
I guess this is the first time I’ve posted a photo of this species. They are frequent visitors in the summer to my area. I often hear and see them while I relax on the deck. I love to watch them dive for fish.

775
Rockland, Maine – July 17, 2008
I was so pleased to finally get a photo of this gull. We don’t have them in Puget Sound and I had made my lifer sighting of this species the winter of 2007. Just as Shawn pulled off the road near Bar Harbor, and I had my camera poised, the bird flew off. This particular bird was very cooperative. Shawn crept closer to get some shots with his camera. I took the first shot with my D80 and then switched to the P4 and Fieldscope setup. Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 200mm, ISO 200, 1/1000, f/5.0, tripod

682
Moss Landing, California – March 31, 2008
This gull was begging me to take its photo. Who as I to resist a potential budding star.
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 350mm, F6.0, 1/125 sec, ISO 200, Manfrotto tripod

638
Port Orchard, Washington – January 13, 2008
Here is a set of two photos – one a Glaucous-winged in flight and the other an immature bird.
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 200mm, f7.1, 1/2000 sec, ISO 400, handheld

568
Theler Wetlands – Belfair, Washington – November 3, 2007
Seeing a Bonaparte’s Gull in my stomping grounds is a bit unusual. I may only see them once or twice a year.
Nikon P4, Nikon Fieldscope 82mm ED, 30x WA eyepiece, Manfrotto tripod, 1/1000 sec, f7.7, ISO 400

554
Theler Wetlands – Belfair, Washington – October 12, 2007
It was a slow day out at the wetlands, so I found myself taking photos of anything that moved!
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 450mm, 1/250 sec, f6.3 and ISO 100, Manfrotto tripod

522
Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco, California – July 12, 2007
Here is the second set of gulls we saw on the beach to the west end of Fisherman’s Wharf. There are 4 photos in all.
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 200mm, 1/400 sec, Manfrotto tripod

521
Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco, California – July 12, 2007
This was a lifer sighting for me. The gulls on the beach looked a bit scruffy. Notice some of them have been banded. There are 4 in this set and 4 in the next set. Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 165mm, 1/640 sec, Manfrotto tripod

519
Santa Cruz, California – July 11, 2007
This gull photo was taken at the Santa Cruz Wharf. We searched and searched for a California Gull, but never saw one the entire time in California. What’s the deal? Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 200 mm, 1/640 sec, Manfrotto tripod

398
Moss Landing, California – April 4, 2007
This is a set of three photos. The one you first looked at is a Western Gull in flight. The second one is a close-up from the breast up. The third is a close-up portrait of the bird’s head. Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 270mm, 1/640 sec, handheld

395
Moss Landing, California – April 4, 2007
Just inside the state park at Moss Landing there is water on both sides of the road. This tern stayed around for quite a while, diving for fish right next to the road. He was very fast, so it wasn’t easy to get photos. I’ve included three more photos for you to look at. One shows a little closer shot of the bird. One shows the top of its wings – an angle you will only see when the bird is diving or looking down on it. The 3rd shot shows the tern as it hovers above the water looking for fish. The next evening we went out to dinner at Gildas on the Santa Cruz wharf. I didn’t have my camera, but we saw some very close fly-by views of this same species. Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 200mm, 1/1250 sec, handheld

333
Herring Gull x Glaucous-winged Hybrid – Port Orchard, Washington – March 4, 2007
Here is another set of 4 gull photos. Some have been ID’d as hybrids and others as Herring Gulls.
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 400mm, 1/320 sec, Manfrotto tripod

332
Herring Gull x Glaucous-winged Hybrid – Port Orchard, Washington – March 4, 2007
Gulls can really be difficult to ID. I guessed, after going through my field guides, that this was a Herring Gull. An ornithologist I know thought that it may be a hybrid because the tail feathers are dark gray rather than black. Different species of gulls often interbreed. Anyway, I’m going with the expert opinion. The gull in this first photo was yelling at me because I disturbed his siesta.
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 360mm, 1/250 sec, Manfrotto tripod

302
Olympic Peninsula, Bluff near Dungeness Spit – January 27, 2007
While I was trying to get a shot of the Black Scoter from high on the bluff, this gull stuck his head up to see what was going on. I took a quick little peak-a-boo shot. Nikon P4, Nikon Fieldscope 82mm ED, 30x WA eyepiece, Manfrotto tripod

268
Clam Drop – Vaughn Bay, Washington – January 12, 2007
This gull is exhibiting a typical behavior of GW gulls here on Vaughn Bay. When the tide is out they grab a clam and fly above the rocky beach 20-30 feet and drop the clam. The clam cracks open and the bird eats lunch.
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 200mm, 1/100 sec, Manfrotto tripod

229
Bar Harbor, Maine – December 22, 2006
On Vaughn Bay the predominate gull is the Glaucous-winged Gull. So, when I see another species I tend to get a little shutter happy. At the marina in Bar Harbor there were several Herring Gulls. I’ve included 4 photos.
Nikon P4, Nikon Fieldscope 82mm ED, 30x WA eyepiece, Manfrotto tripod

204
Vaughn Bay, Washington – November 29, 2006
I believe this to be a 3rd winter Thayer’s Gull. At first I thought it was a Ring-billed Gull, but I’m seeing a little red developing on this bird’s lower bill. The bird also has very pink legs. There are birders that disagree with this ID, so I very well could be wrong.
Nikon P4, Nikon Fieldscope 82mm ED, 30x WA eyepiece, Manfrotto tripod

190
Vaughn Bay, Washington – November 28, 2006
Don’t let my wife see this post!
I’m not sure which gull this is. As I’ve said before, there are a lot of hybrids on the bay. This bird is not a full adult yet. You can tell that because of his muddy colored head and neck. It will probably be pure white within another year. This could be a California Gull or a Ring-billed Gull. A Glaucous-winged Gull would not have the dark patches on the feathers. Nikon P4, Nikon Fieldscope 82mm ED, 30x WA eyepiece, Manfrotto tripod

159
Wapato Park – Tacoma, Washington – November 18, 2006
The one good thing about this gull is that it is pretty easy to ID. Some people come to the park to feed the ducks, and these gulls of course want to get in on the action. Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 200mm, Manfrotto tripod

153
Wapato Park – Tacoma, Washington – November 18, 2006
I first posted this as a Ring-billed Gull, but my son-in-law pointed out that I was wrong. He loves doing that, especially since he is the one that got me into this mess – birding. :-) The photo says Ring-billed, but that is not correct. I tried to get a good ID on this bird, but all I got was a definite NOT Ring-billed. Therefore, I’m going with Hybrid Gull. Our local Glaucous-winged Gulls often interbreed with other species and we get birds like the one you see here.
This is my last flight shot for today. The background is a little busy, but I didn’t want to mess with this photo.
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 200mm, handheld

152
Wapato Park – Tacoma, Washington – November 18, 2006
One of the good things about a DSLR camera is that it is easier to capture a bird in flight. I put this bird in my viewfinder and panned across the horizon shooting multiple shots as he flew past me. The background was really busy on this one, so I cloned the whole thing. It blurred the wing edges a little, but is worth it to make the bird more visable. Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 200mm, handheld

148
Vaughn Bay, Washington – November 18, 2006
Identifying gulls is very difficult for me. There is so much inter-breeding that I have a lot of trouble making a positive ID. At first I thought this was a Ring-billed Gull but its legs are still pink. It could be a Thayer’s Gull or a Herring Gull whose bill has not yet turned red. You got me!
Nikon D80, 55-200 zoom at 200, handheld

107
Vaughn Bay, Washington – October 1, 2006
Gull are really hard for me to identify because their coloring changes from year to year until they are about 3-4 years old. They also inter-breed, so you get weird variations.

092
Theler Wetlands, Belfair Washington – October 21, 2006
Here is a juvenile and adult bird swimming together. You can easily see the differences in the two birds. Can you point out 5 major differences in these two birds?

091
Theler Wetlands, Belfair Washington – October 21, 2006
This is an adult Ring Billed Gull. Notice the tail, gray back, ring on the bill, and yellow eyes. The juvenile bird is a bit different. Its tail is turning black, but no white pattern yet. The back is not uniformly gray. The ring is not formed on the beak yet, and the eyes are black.

018
Vaughn Bay, Washington – September 21, 2006
There were several Ring-billed Gulls on the bay this evening when we got home from work. This is a photo of a young bird. The Ring-billed Gulls were feeding on some floating apples alongside our regular Glaucous-winged Gulls. This is the first time I’ve seen the Ring-billed Gulls here, but then I just started my log in mid July. The lighting was not very good as it was quite late. However, we take what we can get.
Nikon P4, Nikon Fieldscope 82mm ED, 30x WA eyepiece, tripod

017
Vaughn Bay, Washington – September 21, 2006
First time I’ve seen this gull on the bay. Someone had thrown some apples in the water and these gulls and the Glaucous-winged Gulls were having a feast. Some of the Ring-billed were obviously youngsters. They were gray and speckled and their beaks were black on the whole tip rather than a ring like the adult shown here. It was late in the evening, so the light was fading. The ring is black. The Ring-billed Gulls were quite a bit smaller than the Glaucous-winged. Nikon P4, Nikon Fieldscope 82mm ED, 30x WA eyepiece, tripod

012
Vaughn Bay, Washington – September 17, 2006
This gull is sitting on some old pilings a couple hundred yards from my house. I’m including it on my website because I like the photo – not for bird identification purposes. The Glaucous-winged Gull is a year-round resident on Vaughn Bay (along with Northerwestern Crows).
Nikon P4, Nikon Fieldscope 82mm ED, 30x WA eyepiece, tripod

006
Vaughn Bay, Washington – September 12, 2006
Here is another photo of the gull that happened to be available on the floating dock in front of my house just after I unpacked my new spotting scope. This photo had some vignetting on the right side. With the help of Photoshop, I was able to lighten the right side up a little. I lost some detail on the back of the dock, but who cares? I simply blurred the back side of the dock to make it look a little more even across the width of the photo. I wanted to keep this shot because the bird was fairly well focused and only needed a little sharpening. If you analyze the photo carefully you can see I didn’t do a very good job. Remember I’m just a beginner. Nikon P4, Nikon Fieldscope 82mm ED, 30x WA eyepiece, tripod

005
Vaughn Bay, Washington – September 12, 2006
This photo is from the first set of photos taken about 30 minutes after unpacking my new Fieldscope 82mm ED spotting scope and attaching the Nikon P4 camera with a digiscoping bracket. The eyepiece is a 30x wide angle designed for digiscoping. By the way, for those who may not know what digiscoping is – it is attaching a digital camera to a spotting scope. A spotting scope is like a telescope designed for day viewing of objects/wildlife at a distance. This gull looks like it doesn’t want to step in the Canada Goose poop, or doing the hokey pokey, but in reality it is just stretching. Nikon P4, Nikon Fieldscope 82mm ED, 30x WA eyepiece, tripod

004
Vaughn Bay, Washington – September 12, 2006
I received my new digiscoping system about a half hour ago. This is a photo from the first set I shot. My career as an amateur bird photographer has officially begun. I am already finding that the Nikon P4 camera tends to shoot a bit soft. Thank goodness for software like Photoshop that allows you to crisp things up a bit. I also quickly discovered the need for a good tripod. My old tripod jiggled constantly. My neighbor came to my rescue, so a new tripod is now in my near future. Nikon P4, Nikon Fieldscope 82mm ED, 30x WA eyepiece, tripod