Perseids 8/12/16

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

Perseid Shooting Star

Debris Cloud following shooting star

Debris Cloud following shooting star

The slight greenish glare at the bottom of the pic was from a streetlight.

Pressed with Andromeda Galaxy in background

Perseid with Andromeda Galaxy in background

And some recent

birds too…

Blue Grosbeak

Blue Grosbeak

Juvenile Verdin

Juvenile Verdin

Green Heron

Green Heron

Summertime….

Great-tailed Grackle

Great-tailed Grackle

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

Lawrence’s Goldfinch – HY Bird

 

Lawrence's Goldfinches

Lawrence’s Goldfinches

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.

Western Kingbird

Western Kingbird

Ash-throated Flycatcher

Ash-throated Flycatcher

Red-winged Blackbird - at the swamp

Red-winged Blackbird – at the swamp

The Harry Anslinger Memorial High School Senior Class Agricultural Project – Orange California.

 

DSC_2529 poppy 6-21-16

DSC_2613 Science Project 2016

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

Sunflowers – has nothing to do with Anslinger High

Yard Art

Yard Art

Summer – 6-19-16

Where is my AK47 when I need it?

Where is my AK47 when I really need it?  Damn!

Indigo Beetle- I have no Idea what the name of this bug is.

Indigo Beetle- I have no Idea what the name of this bug is.

Violet-Green Swallow

Violet-green Swallow at Agua Dulce

Western Bluie

Western Bluie Laguna Meadow

Flicker. Unusual gray back

Flicker. Unusual gray back

I have no idea

I have no idea

Giant Laguna Meadow Foam

No Idea 2. Laguna Meadowfoam?

Saturn - 500mm lens with 1.7TC f8 1/400 second

Saturn – 500mm lens with 1.7TC f8 1/400 second

Saturn in Opposition 6-5-16

Saturn in Opposition

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

Jupiter and its moons. June 5, 2016

Costa's Hummer 6-4-16

Costa’s Hummer 6-4-16

Costa's Hummer 6-4-16

Costa’s Hummer 6-4-16

Swainson’s Hawk 5-17-16

Swainson's Hawk 5-17-16

Swainson’s Hawk 5-17-16

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

Hermit Warbler

Hermit Warbler, female

Hermit Warbler, female

Willow Fly

Western-wood Pewee

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

Lazuli Bunting

Lazuli Bunting

Technical Stuff 5-15-16

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.

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

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

Anna’s Hummer 500mm ISO10,000

European Starling 500mm ISO1250

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

Western Tanager 500mm ISO800

Scott's Oriole 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

Black-and-White Warbler 5-10-16 at the Swamp

Black-and-White Warbler 5-10-16 at the Swamp

Black-and-White Warbler 5-10-16

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.

Townsend's warbler

Townsend’s warbler

This is a common western migrant.

 

 

 

May Birds through 5-7-16

Western Tanager in the Local Mulberry

Western Tanager in the Local Mulberry Tree

Western Tanager

Western Tanager

Western Tanager

Western Tanager

Wilson's Warbler

Wilson’s Warbler

Wilson's Warbler

Wilson’s Warbler

Wilson's Warbler

Wilson’s Warbler

Yellow Warbler

Yellow Warbler

Yellow-headed Blackbird and Tricolored Blackbirds

Yellow-headed Blackbird and Tricolored Blackbirds

Yellow-headed Blackbird

Yellow-headed Blackbird

Lazuli Bunting, male

Lazuli Bunting, male

Lazuli Bunting, female

Lazuli Bunting, female

MacGilivray's Warbler, male

MacGillivray’s Warbler, male

Swainson's Thrush

Swainson’s Thrush

Swainson's Thrush

Swainson’s Thrush

Western-wood Pewee

Western-wood Pewee

 

Black-throated Gray Warbler fresh from its bath

Black-throated Gray Warbler fresh from its bath

Lawrence's Goldfinch

Lawrence’s Goldfinch

Blue Grosbeak

Blue Grosbeak