More new photos - working backward...

January 10, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

I posted more new photos last night to Facebook. I'm beginning work to refresh the content on the web site and find a better way to highlight recent photos yet still be able to find older photos also. In doing this I am actually working backward from recent photos to those we took earlier last year but never posted.

On this latest post you'll find photos we took just before Christmas at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge just south of Willows in California's Sacramento Valley. This was the third time we have have found the (presumably) same American Bittern in pretty close to the same location. It is a very cooperative bird and pretty much ignores us as long as we keep movement in the car down. We also got some very nice shots of a Snowy Egret that let us get fairly close. The trip wasn't particularly outstanding as far as raptors go. This is a location we often see a wide variety of raptors including both Golden and Bald Eagles. This trip I spotted a Golden Eagle stirring up some ducks and geese but this was at extreme binocular range and nowhere near anywhere we could shoot photos from.

This brings up another subject I've wanted to talk about for a long time... etiquette on auto tour routes in wildlife preserves. Most auto tour routes prohibit you from getting out of your vehicle except at designated areas. This is for a reason. Your vehicle makes a good blind for observing wildlife. Waterfowl will often move away from a vehicle to what they feel is a safe distance but if you leave your vehicle or are flailing your arms around inside the vehicle the wildlife will certainly be scared off to a more remote area of the reserve where they feel safer. They may not return the the are for some time. Wildlife in these preserves get used to seeing vehicles drive by all day and, as long as there is nothing unusual happening, they will maintain a safe distance but stay in the area.

Also, it never fails to amaze me the number of people who come out to these auto routes and drive through at 30 MPH leaving a long tail of dust and blowing past cars pulled to the side to observe wildlife.They can't be really seeing anything at that speed and they are filling other cars full of dust and scaring away the wildlife. I can't count the number of times we've been pulled to the side with a big lens obviously sticking out the window, waiting for a subject to get into position or show some interesting behavior just to have someone blow past us, flush the subject and get dust all over our equipment. Are these people just out in these areas to high or something? 

First, if you are stopped to photograph or otherwise observe wildlife and there is anyone coming up behind you in the foreseeable future, please pull as far over as possible to one side of the road or the other. These roads are often narrow but we drive an SUV or pickup and have yet to not be able to get over far enough to let another car pas. Also, don't stay on a subject to the detriment of a bunch of people lined up behind you who want to also see it. Yes, get your shots, but if there is a line behind you finish up and let others see also.

On the other side of the coin, if you are driving the route and you see someone stopped with a lens, scope or binoculars sticking out the window please, please don't just blow by, especially between the vehicle and whatever they are observing. For one thing, these roads are usually either dusty or muddy and lenses and scopes are expensive and hard to clean. Second, you'll probably flush the subject so that no one can see it and lastly, you're probably giving up an opportunity to see something interesting if you just wait your turn and then pull up. I see this happen a lot at places that also allow hunting. The hunters are just wanting to get to the hunting area and just blow past vehicles stopped to observe wildlife. Not cool!

OK... enough of the rant. Check out the new photos!


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