Return to the marsh

It’s been nearly two years since I was able to visit Anderson Marsh at Clear Lake and walk the trails, and my visit last week offered a stark example of how even a slight change in weather patterns affects the plant and animal life in vital habitats like creeks and marshes. It looks like we may be heading back into another drought year — although I’m still remaining hopeful that our latest round of storms will help. On my previous visit, in May 2019, everything was fresh and green. The inlets of Cache Creek were full; I photographed turtles sunning themselves on logs and crawdads scurrying around underwater. This time, I found evidence of a recent prescribed burn and the inlets were parched and bare. I did see a good number of birds as I hiked along — including a pair of Valley Quail foraging along the sides of the dry creek bed.

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Bird is the word

Lately I’m really enjoying using my Sigma 150-600mm zoom lens to zero in on the local birds. It’s become a bit of a personal challenge to shoot as many different types as possible, especially those I never realized were all around me. But even when that fails, it can still be fun to capture familiar birds like Acorn woodpeckers or […]

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Little gray

When I first sighted this cute little bird last week, I tried and failed to identify it. I had been standing near the bluffs above Lake Natoma and didn’t get a very good photo as it darted about in the branches, but I did note the small size, overall gray coloring, forked tail, and what looked like a pointed crest […]

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Plenty of tweets

It’s getting to be that time of year again — the time when the weather starts warming up (at least on certain days) and I start getting outside more often and hearing more birds in the trees. Spotting them can be a different story, though, and capturing them with my camera is yet another challenge. The final difficulty can be […]

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Looking closer

This area of Folsom Lake is still new to me although I’ve been out there a few times in the past month. There’s always plenty to explore, but when I start to feel like there’s nothing new to shoot, it helps me to slow down and focus on the details that I missed before. And I often get a surprise […]

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Frog hunting

I only have to walk a few blocks away from my house to find vernal pools; in the early springtime when they fill with rainwater, I can hear the Pacific chorus frogs singing their breeding calls, even with all the doors and windows of my house shut. This tiny pool is another matter. We happened upon it as we hiked […]

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Backyard birdwatching

I always have a tough time staying in one spot long enough for wildlife to come to me; I feel better when I keep moving and appreciate it all the more when I’m lucky enough to stumble upon some wonderful surprise. But recently I’m learning that if I can manage to sit still in my backyard for more than a […]

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