Swan Island Dahlias

Since we cut inland instead of spending Sunday at the Oregon Coast we decided to visit Oregon’s Swan Island Dahlias instead of just heading straight home. The fields of Dahlias were pretty spectacular, but up close most of them were indistinguishable from the Dahlia I see down the street from me in Pt. Defiance.

Still, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one that looks quite like this.


This all yellow variety looks slightly different from the Orange and Gold Winnie the Pooh that I love so much.


This lotus-like beauty, though, blew me away when I saw it as a photo,


though I don’t think it made that same impression when I actually saw it in the field.

A Few More Shots from Bodega Bay

Though the Marbled Godwits were definitely the birding highlight of our California trip to Bodega Bay, there was actually a lot more birds than I remember seeing in past trips. Unfortunately, other than the Godwits, this Willet


was the only bird I was able to get close to, and even it promptly disappeared.


There were cormorants, loons, murres, and pelicans, but so far out even my 560mm lens couldn’t capture useable shots. We even drove out to the point hoping to get closer, but the only shot I got from there was this sequence of a Brown Pelican diving.


plunging into the water,


and thwarting the gulls trying to steal his catch.


It was yet another of those reoccurring moments where I feel I should learn to shoot movies with my camera.

Marbled Godwits at Bodega Bay

I’ll have to admit that I was really tempted to try to get closer to the Godwits when I saw them near the lagoon, but Leslie and Jeff were across the street ready to start our beach walk, so I thought better of it. As it turns out, I was glad I started the walk instead because about half way down the beach we ran across a small flock of Marbled Godwits feeding on the incoming tide.


Although they retreated as we got closer, I managed to get even closer to them on the was back up the beach.


While they had all been resting on the shore when I first saw them across the road, they were much more active feeding on the beach, which made it easier to get close to without scaring them off.


I was amazed by this shot


where you could actually see whatever it is that they eat. I’ll have to admit that the shot makes me a lot more curious about exactly what it is that they are catching. I certainly never knew there was anything like this right under the sand.

In the end, of course, what really matters is the shots you get, and who doesn’t love beautiful tail feathers?


Birding at Bodega Bay

Although we went to Doran Beach on Bodega Bay to walk the beach and get away from Santa Rosa’s high temperatures, not to bird, the first thing I noted on the wetlands opposite the beach was a beautiful Snowy Egret which had obviously become so accustomed to human visitors that it took no notice of them, even when they were holding a 400mm lens.

Beach or no beach, I couldn’t resist briefly photographing him as he stalked the wetlands.


I was a little surprised that instead of edging away from me that he kept moving closer


and closer.


As often happens while birding, while observing a particular bird other birds will suddenly appear, almost as if the mere act of standing still, becoming part of the environment, reveals everything that has always been there. Suddenly a small flight of terns swooped behind the Egret, which, in turn, startled a flock of Plovers into flight.


Several of the plovers, in turn, landed next to another flock of birds.


Of course, it was only after I zoomed in on the image that I realized that it was a flock of Marbled Godwits, birds I’d sought out on the Washington Coast but had no luck finding. Unfortunately, there didn’t seem to be any way to get close enough to them to get a decent shot.