The anual Perseid sky show was advertised as a first-class display of meteors. It was just OK. The first two pics are of a bright fireball followed by the red debris cloud it left behind. The clouds persisted for about one minute. Pics taken with Nikon D500 24mm f2.8 lens at 15 seconds ISO 4000.
Perseid Shooting Star
Debris Cloud following shooting star
The slight greenish glare at the bottom of the pic was from a streetlight.
Perseid with Andromeda Galaxy in background
And some recent
I don’t usually see grackles in my yard, but with the very warm days recently, a pair of female-type great-trailed grackles have been visiting my modest water features. Other birds visiting my yard due to the high temperatures are California Thrasher, Norther Mockingbird, Ash-throated Fly (2), and Lawrence’s Goldfinch(2).
Lawrence’s Goldfinch – HY Bird
These two goldfinches appear to be hatch-year birds. I suspect that the parents were around, but I did not see them. Hatch-year birds have the light streaking on the chest. Adults chests have no streaking.
Red-winged Blackbird – at the swamp
The Harry Anslinger Memorial High School Senior Class Agricultural Project – Orange California.
These flowers are of a ubiquitous species of Karelian mugwort, Artemisa fennica. Bees seem to like them. The seeds and oils from this plant are used in pickled herring, traditional Sami sausage, and Finnish vodka. So as you can see, this plant has an important place in Finnish culture. Congratulations to the students who grew these interesting plants.
Sunflowers – has nothing to do with Anslinger High
Saturn in Opposition
The planet Saturn is presently at its closest approach to Earth. In order to see the rings you’ll need a small telescope. A bird spotting scope works well for this. If you can find Jupiter, the brightest “star” in the sky and the bright red planet Mars, you can find Saturn by continuing east in the line between the two obvious planets. Or you can get “Sky Map,” an app that does all the work for you.
Jupiter and its moons. June 5, 2016
Costa’s Hummer 6-4-16
Costa’s Hummer 6-4-16
Swainson’s Hawk 5-17-16
Swainson’s Hawk 5-17-16
I was scanning the local turkey vultures this afternoon when this pale hawk caught my attention. I wasn’t looking for this bird. I got a few decent, not great, shots.
How many great fly-bys like this bird have I missed because I wasn’t watching all day every day? Damn.
This is late date for this bird to be migrating through San Diego County. The latest spring date for this bird is May 15, per the Bird Atlas. There may be later, recent records. This bird is common to abundant in the Borrego Valley in the late winter and early spring. It has a migration that takes it from Argentina to Alberta, maybe all the way to Saskatoon.
Hermit Warbler, female
I may be wrong on this bird. The genus, empidonax, that this bird belongs is difficult. The primary extension looks like a pewee, while, in my experience, the white under the chin looks like a willow fly
I recently got a new camera body, the D500, and I’ve been working with it for several days. Beginning with the pics of the Black-and-White warbler, all since have been using the new camera.
Yellow-breasted Chat ISO400, 420mm.
Fresh from the bath. This singing Yellow-breasted Chat showed up this morning (5-15-16). I’ve seen several chat this year, but never a singer.
Yellow-breasted Chat ISO 400 420mm 5-15-16
Morning light is usually the best. Unfortunately, it does not last long enough. I’m moving the water feature (where the chat is perched) several feet toward the photo vantage. This will help obscure the background a lot. I’ve also got Japanese Honeysuckle planted, and about this time next year the fence will be a solid wall of variegated greenery.
Anna’s Hummer 500mm ISO10,000
European Starling 500mm ISO1250
Birders hate this introduced, invasive species. Its related to the mynah and would be a popular cage bird if it wasn’t messy. It is a very good mimic.
Western Tanager 500mm ISO800
Scott’s Oriole 500mm ISO1250
The lens used was a Nikkor 300mm VR with 1.4 or 1.7 Nikkor TCs.
Black-and-White Warbler 5-10-16 at the Swamp
Black-and-White Warbler 5-10-16
This is an eastern warbler, not a bird that I was expecting. I did see one previously at the swamp in the Fall of 2014, but this is quite an unusual bird. They are very uncommon but not exceptionally rare along the coast in fall and winter.
This species superficially resembles the common western migrant, the Black-throated Gray Warbler.
This is a common western migrant.