adventures in nature


20161025 juv owls and venus


juvenile great horned owls and venus in background at sunset / contra costa county CA


20161025 juv owl flying

a74a4991-v1-2juvenile great horned owl / contra costa county CA

20161021 great horned owl juveniles I


right on queue, these two juvenile great horned owls have been haunting the woods nearby with their haunting cries of dispair (aka annoying hunger begging cries to their parents) … almost Halloween / Samhain / Dia de Muertos!


2016 Oct black vulture in Sonoma Co!!

a74a4895-v1black vulture (top right), turkey vulture (bottom right, slightly in the distance), and kestrel / Bodega Bay * Sonoma County CA

Black vultures are a rare visitor here on the West Coast, more typically found in the American Southeast and South, and in Mexico. We are in the middle of the migration right now, so you never know what might show up. Though this bird must have taken a wrong turn around Tennessee. We spotted it in a small kettle that had a couple turkey vultures and an American kestrel (small falcon).

Research at this time indicates that this type of vulture finds its food by site (similar to many African vultures), as opposed to the turkey vulture, more common here in CA, which uses its sense of smell to find food. Though they are both considered vultures with dark bodies and bald heads, but you can see that the black vulture has a distinctive wing shape and short tail, combined with a dark head and dark flight feathers that make it easy to differentiate from a turkey vulture. Turkey vultures also have a silvery hue to the underside of their flight feathers, the adults have red heads, and they have slightly different flight styles as well. Very different builds on these birds, and it’s reflected in the way they soar and fly (turkey vulture has a slight “v” when it flies as viewed from head-on, and it tends to rock back and forth more – a less steady looking soar). Often it’s easiest to ID a bird at a distance based on a sillhouette and how it flies.

a74a4900-v1black vulture and kestrel

a74a4893-v1black vulture and kestrel


20161013 calm before the storm

a74a4931-v1-2juvenile Great-Horned Owl / Wildcat Canyon Regional Park * Richmond, CA

a74a4957-v1-2almost-full-Moon and Red-Tailed Hawk hunting late / Wildcat Canyon Regional Park * Richmond, CA

Probably the last of this waxing moon we’ll see this month, due to the coming storm. Beautiful night.

20160926 coyote

a74a4738-v1coyote / Pt Reyes National Seashore CA

20160926 elk

It’s that time of year again – the elk rut is in full effect. The bulls are gathering their harems and bugling, it’s always an impress sight and amazing to hear!

a74a4754-v1bull elk / Pt Reyes National Seashore CA

20160922 backyard boyds

a74a4498-v1-2crow bros

a74a4510-v1bushtit (yes, that’s it’s name) – one of my favorites, and not just because of their name; when these tiny little birds come through in their flocks, it always brings a smile to my face

a74a4519-v1red-breasted nuthatch

a74a4524-v1-3anna’s hummingbird

a74a4526-v1western scrub jay

a74a4537-v1bewick’s wren singing!



some of these birds are molting, so they are looking a little ragged – but still beautiful

20160916 sunset and full moon rise

Epic evening of no winds and clear skies (rare this summer here!)

The sun set almost directly behind Mt Tamalpais from this vantage, and the full moon rose exactly in between the two peaks of Mt Diablo to the East.



2016 Sept 20 – butters n blues

a74a4702-v1California Sister * Adelpha californica

Briones Regional Park * Contra Costa County CA



juvenile Western Bluebirds * Sialia mexicana

These four flew into the tree above me and huddled together in the shade, taking refuge from the hot afternoon sun together. It was pretty adorable.

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