Saturday, July 28, 2012

A trip to the Sierra Nevada

 Where's the Lake?
 Down the rock

We recently took a trip to one of my favorite spots deep in the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. After surviving the harrowing drive in over Kaiser Pass (that's another whole story) we arrived at our destination. Lake Edison is normally a lovely, blue lake surrounded by pine forests and nestled among glorious peaks. What a shock it was to see it this year. What had been a beautiful lake was only a dry, dusty lakebed. A very low snow season and a high demand for water robbed the lake of its bounty. I was very, very sad and disappointed. The beautiful landscapes I had been hoping to photograph were just not there. Glumly we sat at the edge of what would have been the lake and looked at the exposed rocks and sand. A small movement caught my eye. What was that? There it was again. Chipmunks were scurrying over and around the rocks in the lakebed. I smiled. Maybe I wouldn't get to photograph any grand landscapes this year, but I was certainly entertained by these tiny striped creatures. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Northern Flicker

 Female at nesting hole
 Male emerging from nest
Male taking flight

About a week ago Don and I were exploring in Montana de Oro State Park when Don just happened to see some birds flying in and out of a hole in a tree. He identified them as Northern Flickers. It was getting late in the day and the light was fading, so we planned to return to the Park on another day just to photograph these beautiful woodpeckers also known as Red-shafted Flickers. When we returned we spent a happy afternoon watching and waiting for these elusive birds. Over the course of several hours we saw only 3 fly ins and outs. It all happens very fast. Usually the parent bird arrives and perches high on a nearby branch and then swoops in to enter the nesting cavity. After a few moments inside it peeks out - checking to see if the coast is clear - and then flies off in a flash. It is very challenging to get any clear flight shots. I'm very happy with what I did get. As always the best part is the 'being there' to enjoy and relish the experience.