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5/14/2016 INTERNATIONAL MIGRATORY BIRD DAY AT SHASTA VALLEY WILDLIFE REFUGE!

Visit the INT. MIGRATORY BIRD DAY tab to see the photos.

Yesterday was a most special day! We celebrated International Migratory Bird Day with a birdwatching trip at the Shasta Valley Wildlife Refuge. It was sponsored by our local Audubon Society, the Klamath National Forest, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Klamath Bird Observatory. This was a 3/4 day driving/walking tour led by local biologists and birding experts. We visited many places in the refuge that are normally closed to the public. We met at the refuge headquarters, 1.5 miles east of Montague on Ball Mountain/Little Shasta Road at 7:30 AM. The head count was 48 I believe. People brought binoculars, field guides, smartphone birding apps, cameras, and lunch. Sam Cuencaa led the group, and Joey Russell, organizer of the Audubon Christmas Bird Count, and Bob Claypole, author of Klamath River Birdfinder, and others provided their amazing deep knowledge of birds and wildlife, and their ability to find and see many birds.

I have posted a selection of 49 images from the day under the SPRING MIGRATION ’16 tab, representing most of the birds I saw. This is about 5% of the photos I took. Not shown are the Belted Kingfisher, Canada Goose, Great Horned Owl, Clarke’s Grebe, Loggerhead Shrike, Willet and others that may have been seen. All of those I mentioned are shown on other tabs on this site.

I was shooting with Nikon’s D500, their newest (April 2016) Dx DSLR camera that can shoot at a frame rate of 10 per second. It is perfect for capturing birds in action. All of these photos were taken at 10 fps, and represent, therefore, 1/10 of a second in the bird’s lives. Lots can happen in 1/10 of a second in a bird’s life!! The camera was paired with Nikon’s new 300mm F4 PF (PF stands for fresnel) lens, paired with a 2x teleconverter that doubles the focal length to 600mm. The “crop sensor” of the Dx camera further multiplies the focal length by 1.5, leading to a focal length equivalent to 900mm. All shots were made handheld, without a tripod or other support. All were shot at f8, with ISOs of 800-1600, and fast shutter speeds (as high as 1/8000 second). All photos were taken in Nikon RAW image format, and processed through Lightroom CC, where sharpness, saturation, white and black balance, and noise were adjusted. I try and minimize adjustments to make the colors realistic, where possible.

The photos indicate the joy of capturing a photo record of birds we saw. I appreciate and can see with my aging eyes much more in a photograph than through a spotting scope or binoculars, but use all. The photos also illustrate the challenges of capturing birds, particularly when they are small, far away, flying, with vegetation between lens and bird, in sometimes cloudy, non-contrasty, relatively low light conditions. Many of the photos are shown for identification purposes, and to record the progress of the day, not because they are great shots.

I am not sure all of the bird identifications are correct. The duck species were far away and seen in low light conditions. I hope Joey Russell will comment and correct the identifications if necessary! I am pretty sure the loon seen on Trout Lake was a juvenile Common Loon. When we were walking along the berm at Bass Lake I shot a small, Kinglet-like bird that I can’t identify. I’ll bet Bob Claypole can, and hope he comments!!

I hope everyone on the tour will visit the site to remember what we saw. Please share the link with other people with similar interests. I am going to get a copy of Bob Claypole’s book and take every opportunity to birdwatch with him. I learn so much every time I do.

Please support our local and National Audubon Society, The Klamath Bird Observatory, and the Cornell Institute of Ornithology who are doing so much to conserve bird populations, giving us the opportunity to visit the many Wildlife Refuges to see these wonderful creatures.

If you haven’t yet done so, visit Kendra Bainbridge’s RavenTree Bird and wildlife store next to Scott Valley Bank at Ray’s shopping center in Mount Shasta. She offers a wonderful assortment of feeders, feed, gifts, and many other things to meet our wildlife needs. Go Kendra! Bob’s book is available at RavenTree.

5/6/16 Just added a new page SPRING 2016 with images of our spring tour this April. We visited Nevada, spending wonderful days at the VALLEY OF FIRE state park in Nevada near Las Vegas, where we saw several new species (for us) including the Sage Sparrow, Cactus Wren, Lucy’s Warbler, Say’s Phoebe, and the Black-headed Gnatcatcher. We then traveled to Mono Lake via Death Valley and photographed our first Sage Thrasher, saw a Loggerhead Shrike, and got close to a Common Loon on Silver Lake. South Lake Tahoe was our next stop and gave us the opportunity to see our first Lark Sparrow and get close-up shots of a nesting Bald Eagle chick and fledgling Great Horned Owl on their nests. We ended up at Shaw’s Shady Acres camp on Cache Creek, that drains Clear Lake, and saw our first Gray Catbird, and got great shots of Clarke’s and Western grebes courting.

4/3/16 Pages related to online ordering have been temporarily hidden while I set up the required services.

3/31/2016 SETTING UP AN ONLINE STORE. THIS IS NOT OPERATIONAL YET? STAY TUNED.

3/30/2016 Added a random revolving gallery to the right side of each page. It cycles through all galleries (194 images at present).

3/27/2016.  All images have now been put in groups of interest.  Put the cursor on images and select from the drop-down list.

3/23/16.  More new images posted!

3/21/16  Images from the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge Winter Wings Festival 2016 have been posted.  We spent two days before the festival with Jim and Kathy Stamates (Stamates.com) who led a workshop (called a Funshop) and guided us to areas to get many of the images.  Thanks Jim and Kathy!

March 19, 2016.  Check out the THEMATIC GROUPINGS menu item. Hover over THEMATIC GROUPINGS with the cursor to see the drop down list of categories. Click (left mouse button) or select one of the groups to see the images. Double click (left mouse button) or select one of the images to enlarge, then use the right and left navigation arrows to move through the images in the group.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SUGGEST A PARTICULAR GROUPING OF IMAGES LEAVE A MESSAGE ON THE CONTACT PAGE!