Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Beach Bird Tuesday

Besides watching for rocks everywhere, I also like to watch for anything else that might catch my eye.  People–watching is always fun, and I am forever on the lookout for interesting architecture.  In particular, though, I like to watch for birds. Sibley’s Guide to Birds is second only to Glossary of Geology for the most–referenced book on my shelf. 

IMG_5819Possible ImmatureRed ShoulderedHawk
Red–shouldered hawk?

I spotted this first one last winter at Shell Beach in Sonoma State Park north of Point Reyes National Seashore, California.  My best–guess for this beauty is that it is a juvenile red–shouldered hawk.  Why?   Although I could not see any red shoulder, no other hawks seem to have this distinctively barred chest pattern.  It is also often found near water including coastal California, and that’s exactly where we were. 

I saw this next bird on the same trip when I was actually at Point Reyes.  I was taking my time walking down the 300 steps to the lighthouse and paused at one of the small viewing platforms along the way.  It is definitely a peregrine falcon.  For around fifteen minutes  I snapped a couple dozen images while I watched it and it watched me. Falcons are known for speed and power in flight, hunting medium–sized birds in open areas of the coastal cliffs.

Peregrine falco

Surf scoters are common along the entire North American west coast from Alaska to Baja.  I watched this group of four bob about in the surf on my walk down to the Point Reyes lighthouse.  One of them probably would undoubtedly have made a good lunch for a peregrine falcon! 

IMG_5890 SurfScoters
Surf scoters

If you like taking photos of our feathered friends please leave a comment! I would love to hear about it.


  1. My Golden Guide has been around many decades helping me ID birds I see. I try to take photos with my best luck at the feeders outside my window. I want a camera with more better zoom. And it would be really nice if the birds would slow down a bit. These are good shots.

    1. Gaelyn - Wow - still using a Golden Guide! My camera has a 20x zoom - ok but not great. What helped is that I finally figured out the right camera setting to use on moving birds and other wildlife.