California Quail

Though we supposedly have California Quail in the Puget Sound area, I’ve only seen them once or twice and even then I just caught a glimpse of them so I was thrilled when we ran into two different flocks at Spring Lake in Santa Rosa. I was on the lookout for them because I’d seen them in nearly the same area a few times before.

However, I’ve never managed to get this good of shots before. There were several female quail and both Lael

and I got some nice shots of them.

Both the female and the male have striking plumage, but the male’s plumage seems a little more dramatic.

Although I decided later I should probably have taken a camera to San Francisco when we went there the next day, I didn’t, so these were the last shots taken on a great family vacation to Redwoods, Santa Rosa, and San Francisco.

Lake Ralphine

I could only fit in a single trip to Lake Ralphine/Spring Lake on this visit to Santa Rosa and that was rather later than I usually walk there. We didn’t see quite as many birds there as I’ve usually seen in the past, but I’m not sure if that was because of the time of day or because I’ve seldom visited Santa Rosa in April.

Even if I failed to see a single Acorn Woodpecker, my personal favorite, on this visit Lael and I found lots of other subjects who were too intent on absorbing sun rays to notice us. This might be the biggest turtle I’ve ever seen outside of a zoo, much larger than the turtles we usually see around home.

Right behind him was a Double-Crested Cormorant that seemed nearly as ancient as the turtle.

While I was out trying to sight a Swan or Night Heron, Lael was focusing on the intrepid ground squirrels that scamper the shores of Lake Ralphine

and on a hybrid goose.

I think I took pictures of both on earlier visits, but over time they seem to have faded into the background for me, probably undeservedly.

Snowy Egret Tiff

I’m not sure why this Snowy Egret has his feathers standing on end , but this was my favorite sequence from shooting the heron colony in Santa Rosa. Although I’ve seen shots of Snowy Egrets like this before, I’ve never managed to get one myself. As excited as the egret on the left is, the one building the nest seems totally unconcerned.

Beauty Rising

As if to confirm my prejudice that Snowy Egrets are more photogenic than Great Egrets, these three shots illustrate the kind of cropping I would have loved to have had in yesterday’s post.