NOTE: This post was originally published on my previous blog, Recovering Shopaholic.
It’s been a while since I have posted a “photography interlude,” but I haven’t stopped taking photos. I just got busy on the blog with closing out 2015 and getting 2016 under way with a lot of posts for each of these topics. But now that we’re into March, I thought it was high time to share some more of my photographs with you.
Some Background on These Posts…
For those who are new to the blog, let me give a bit of background on these “photography interlude” posts. For years, shopping was my default hobby. Whenever I had any free time, I couldn’t wait to hit the mall or local shops. That not only led to a depleted bank account and an overly stuffed closet, but I also became somewhat one-dimensional as a person. I didn’t have a whole lot going on in my life beyond clothes, shoes, and accessories. Since the tagline for this blog is “trade your full closet for a full life,” I knew that had to change. I fell into photography fairly effortlessly, as I endeavored to share Southern California with a sick friend who had always wanted to visit but may never be able to do so.
Last April, I solicited feedback from readers on things to do besides shopping and shortly thereafter shared about my first alternate hobby, photography. Since I received such great feedback on my photos, I decided to periodically share them, both in my “useful links” round-ups and in dedicated posts devoted to particular themes. If you’d like to see my earlier “photography interludes,” click here. You can also follow me on Instagram, where I publish some of my photos from time to time.
Most of my photos are taken along the water in the beach community in which I live. I live close to San Diego Bay and enjoy taking walks by the water there, as well as over by the ocean. If I’m lucky, I usually spy a few beach birds while I’m walking. I still haven’t mastered the knack of capturing these beautiful creatures with my camera, but I have snapped some shots that I like over the past year since I started taking photos. In today’s post, I’m going to share some of my favorites with you.
Great Blue Heron
My favorite bird to see and photograph is the Great Blue Heron, which I call “Mr. Blue” for short. Mr. Blue is a very elusive bird and he’s (I know there are female herons, too, but since I can’t tell the difference, they’re all “hims” to me) also quite skittish. One of my Facebook friends who lives in the Vancouver area posts the most amazing photos of herons in her locale, but they seem to always fly away when I get even slightly close to them here. I call her the “bird whisperer,” but she hasn’t told me her secrets just yet. Maybe all I need is a long lens so I can zoom in on these lovely loners from afar.
Here are a few of the best blue heron photos that I’ve taken thus far:
Black-Crowned Night Heron
Until recently, I wasn’t aware that there was more than one type of heron. I thought the Great Blue Heron was the only type of heron in existence. Well, I learned I was wrong and that the bird I had jokingly referred to as “old man bird” (because of its stooped over appearance) is actually another member of the heron family, the Black-Crowned Night Heron. This bird got its name because it’s most active at night.
Night herons are much tamer than blue herons and I have been able to get close enough to them so I could take some pretty decent photos. I often see these birds at a boat launching ramp not far from where I live, as well as at a local harbor. Occasionally, I also see both night herons and blue herons in a tree along one of the bayside paths where I like to walk. I was able to snap a photo of a night heron in a tree, as shown below.
Another bird that is prevalent in my community is the Brown Pelican. I often see them perched on boats in the local harbors or on top of roofs on wharves and piers. I haven’t taken too many photos of pelicans as of yet, but here are a couple that I like:
Of course, a beach area is not complete without the ever-present California Gulls. I see these birds both by the bay and at the ocean. There are a couple of them that hang out by the boat launching ramp that have injured wings and cannot fly. One has an injured left wing and one has an injured right wing and they tend to stick together. I call them “Lefty” and “Righty” and I always look for them on my walks. They appear to be quite healthy and well-fed and seem to be happy even though they are bound to the earth much like you and I are. I think that many of the fisherman thrown them their leftover bait and fish remnants when they come in to shore at the end of their fishing trips.
I don’t have any photos of “Lefty” and “Righty” (it’s usually after dark when I see them), but here are two photos of other seagulls by the bay and ocean:
Egrets and Ducks
Until recently, I was mostly ignorant about bird species such that I didn’t know that egrets are also a type of heron. The egrets which I see around here are called Snowy Egrets and they are much smaller than the Great Egret, which basically looks like a white version of the Great Blue Heron. Snowy Egrets are significantly smaller but equally as beautiful. A Snowy Egret is pictured in the introductory photograph above (along with a heron), as well as below. One difference between the Great Egret and the Snowy Egret other than the size differential is that the latter has bright yellow feet.
I see a lot of ducks around here, too. I think that most of them are Mallards, but I see other varieties on occasion as well. As with many bird species, the male Mallards are more colorful and are marked by their bright green heads. By contrast, the females look plainer and are mostly brown other than a single dark blue wing feather. I liked this photo of two female Mallards set off by green foliage:
I hope you liked this look at some of the beach birds of San Diego County. I hope to continue to hone my bird photography skills and look forward to sharing some more close-up bird photos with you soon. Who knows? I may even cultivate bird-watching as a new hobby! I don’t know if I have the patience for that, but I do really like birds, so you never know…