Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Secretary Bird

The secretary bird is native to Asia and Africa. The secretary bird's English name was once thought to come from the 1800s when Europeans first spotted these birds. Back then, male secretaries wore gray tailcoats and dark knee length pants. They also used goose quill pens that they carried behind their ears. This bird shares many of these physical features: long, dark quills at the back of the head; long gray wing and tail feathers that resemble a tailcoat; and black feathers that go midway down the legs like short pants. Secretary birds are distantly related to buzzard, vultures, harriers and kites. But unlike those birds, secretary birds spend most of their time on the ground. They stand over four feet tall. In their natural habitat they nest and roost high up in acacia trees at night. The secretary bird is the national is emblem of Sudan and a prominent feature of the Coat of Arms of South Africa. The photos below were taken at the San Diego Zoo. The bird gave me a good viewing. The biggest challenge was that it is behind glass. It was a busy day at the zoo and I had to be patient to not have strollers and legs in the glass reflection overlaying my view of the bird in my photos. I have always loved the secretary bird. As you browse the photos here, maybe you will see why?

If you'd like to see a few more photos from my time visiting the secretary bird this day there are a few more here . 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Comic Con San Diego 2014

Comic Con is a big event in San Diego. I think that our downtown gets more packed with people than at any other time of year. The tickets to get in to the actual Convention Center that houses the Comic Con are getting harder to obtain every year. A friend of mine told me that this year they somehow gave preference to out of town folks to get tickets over locals. I don't know how that works. I do know that it is a BIG deal and pretty pricey to get the tickets. I don't feel the need for a ticket to Comic Con to enter the Convention Center. There is plenty of entertainment all over downtown during this event. Just hanging out in front of the Convention Center and watching the crowd is incredibly fun and entertaining. Below you will find some photos I came home with from this years event and a link to a gallery of more. 

Every year there are a group of people trying to save the heathen Comic Con attendees. Because if you believe in Batman you must be heathen right?

You can see this dude in head to toe by clicking the gallery link at the bottom of the post here.

I am not sure what this monkey did to piss the transit enforcement off, but you'll see a series of photos in my gallery. They even made him take his shoes off!

I don't get most of the costumes but I still can appreciate them!


Head on over to my full 2014 Comic Con gallery. You just might see something that tickles your fancy, makes you shake your head or both.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A Day Trip to Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve

It was a beautiful Southern California May day. The best part of the day was getting to see my friends Steve and Ken. I realize now that we've been friends for about 13 years. We go way back to before any of us had a digital SLR camera and we were shooting with Panasonic bridge cameras. We actually met on a dpreview forum. You know the way the years slip by and people get busy and one thing leads to another. Before you know it, it's been years since you've seen your friends. It was so good to see Steve and Ken. It was just as comfortable as ever, like no time had passed at all. We always have a great time together and this day was no different. I introduce you to Steve and Ken. Steve is in front and Ken is behind. This first photo is a peek to how my day went photographically. I took two quick photos of the guys and the best one is what I show you here. I managed to get Ken with his eyes closed! But doesn't he look relaxed and peaceful?

There weren't a whole lot of birds around. But some of the usual suspects made an appearance, like this Great Blue Heron high in a tree. All of my shots are heavily cropped because I didn't drag my Bigma around. For me it was more about spending time with old friends and enjoying the company.

And of course there were a few Egrets around.

There were some interesting log formations in the pond.

I did get a photo of a Tern hollering on the bridge way across the water. Look close, you'll even see his tongue. 

The Tern's are quite acrobatic and entertaining to watch.

Oh look, I managed to catch a Black-necked Stilt in flight.

A Cackling Goose shaking it's wet head at me.

A Brown Pelican on a fly-by.

We went for an early lunch around 11 a.m. at a local Mexican restaurant. I ate too much and had a strong Margarita. Hey, we started out early. I was up at 5 am to make the 90 minute drive up there. But Steve commented, "This drink is strong." I laughed and said, "Well they figure if you are having a Margarita at 11 a.m. you must be serious!" That set the stage for how I felt when we traveled on to San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary. It was too hot at 1 p.m. at SJWS, and I was feeling the extra heat of a bit of tequila in my system. We moseyed around for a short while. I was treated to seeing a White-faced Ibis. Pretty cool looking bird as you'll see below.

It is kind of surprising how many different birds are in this small watering hole next to the Visitor's Center there at San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary. 

I want to provide you with a link about Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve and also one for San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary which is really a unique place tucked into Irvine. It is smack dab in the middle of a full development of business. It amazes me to walk around the area and experience natures adaptation of man's encroachment. It is an oasis in the middle of man for the wildlife. 

If you take a look at the  gallery I put up, you'll see some of the other things that caught my eye. I did manage to get a shot of a tern with a fish in his mouth flying by. There is even a raccoon at SJWS, even if it is a bit of a rough shot from being underexposed, cropped and pushed. Oh and don't miss my favorite blurry shot of the day, a Swallow in flight! If you've ever tried to take a photo of these birds, you may appreciate even a blurry shot of one. They are such beautiful birds but man are they tough to photograph in flight. They are fast and change direction on a dime without notice.