Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Snowy Egret at Del Rey Lagoon Park

Egretta thula
Playa Del Rey, California
August 10th, 2009

This photo was taken on one of my first photography excursions after I returned from Costa Rica this summer. Playa Del Rey is one of my favorite places to photograph local birds. Wandering around the lagoon one can observe a variety of ducks, geese and shore birds. A short walk to the jetty is a must, from here one can view pelicans, cormorants, and other sea birds. This August, I spent several mornings and evenings photographing birds in the lagoon and along the jetty.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Green Honeycreeper After Lunch

Chlorophanes spiza
La Selva Biological Field Station, Costa Rica
July 15th, 2009

I photographed this female Green Honeycreeper just after lunch at the OTS La Selva field station in Costa Rica. She was sitting in my favorite birding tree, just off the patio. I was impressed by the diversity of birds I saw in this one spot. This particular species of honeycreeper is different from others in the tanager family, in that they are less dependent on nectar and more dependent on fruit. This species is monotypic, or the only member of the genus Chlorophanes. Like many avians, this species displays sexual dimorphism with the male sporting bright teal-blue feathers with a black head, while the female is clad in green.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Anole After the Rain

Norops sp.
La Selva Biological Field Station, Costa Rica
July 13th, 2009

This little Anole (Norops sp.) was generous enough to sit still for an extensive photo shoot. I found it sitting on top of a large leaf after a brief rain shower in Costa Rica. With more than 25 species of Anoles (or Norops) found it Costa Rica it is hard to say exactly which species it is. What is interesting about the Anoles of Costa Rica, and elsewhere in Central America, is that they differ from other Anoles in their skeletal characteristics, specifically caudal vertebrae.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hummingbird at La Selva

Hummingbird and Heliconia
La Selva, Costa Rica
July 13, 2009

I took this picture of a hummingbird feeding at a heliconia during my recent trip to Costa Rica during an OTS teachers course. This shot was a lucky snap taken while photographing the beautiful red-orange bracts of the heliconia plant. I was framing a shot of a nearby bract when this cute little hummingbird landed. I quickly and quietly panned over and fired off two shots. I was absolutely amazed at the diversity of the hummingbirds and their adaptations for feeding on different flowering plants.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Red Ti on Kauai

Ti plants (Cordyline sp.) are known to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits. For this reason, they are often planted outside of homes. Though not native to Hawaii they were brought by early Polynesian settlers to the Islands. Leaves from the Ti plant are traditionally used to wrap food, thatch roofs, and woven into hula skirts and leis. I took this photograph at the Kauai Coffee Company on a vacation in January 2008.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Great Egret Taking Flight

Great Egret Taking Flight
February 15th, 2009

I caught this Egret taking flight early one Sunday morning during the Great Backyard Bird Count. I met up with a few students and one of their families to count birds near Marine Del Rey. I spent several hours, well okay about half the day, counting watching birds at the marina and later at the Ballona Wetlands. The weather was absolutely amazing and made for a great day, for the birds.

Monday, January 12, 2009

I never thought I would see a...

Blue Whale, Dana Point, CA
Affectionately named Delta

This summer I had the opportunity to observe a Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus) off of Dana Point in southern california. It was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen or may ever see. Our boat observed it taking several breaths before it dove and stayed under for ten to fifteen minutes at a time, at which point it would come up for several minutes before diving again.

I am currently reading a book by E.O. Wilson in which he describes these brief interactions with spectacular and rare animals- like the Blue Whale- as the Grizzly Bear Effect of environmental ethics.

"We may never personally glimpse certain rare animals but we need them as symbols. They proclaim the mystery of the world. They are the jewels in the crown of the Creation. Just to know they are out there alive and well is important to the spirit, to the wholeness of our lives. If they live, then Nature lives. Surely our world will be secure, and we will be better for it." (The Creation p. 58)
Just knowing that the Blue Whale, the largest living animal, is out there swimming in our oceans alive and well keeps my spirits high. But having that ever so brief encounter rekindled my spirit and my desire to do what I can to help converse the beauty of Nature

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Blue skies, dark clouds, and the man in the moon

Lately, when I’m in need of a little inspiration I look toward the sky. I grab my camera and step out to take pictures of skies, clouds and the moon. The moon has always intrigued me, no matter how many times I've observed the waxing and waning phases of the moon, I am still in awe every time I gaze at the night sky.