Saturday, February 14, 2009

The El Dorado Bird Safari

Here it is the middle of February and I am finally getting around to this lengthy post. Life, as you may have guessed, has been VERY busy. I love it, but having a child does take much restructuring. My wife has been awesome at home. She's taking care of Riley during the day and much of the night. I help out, but I certainly don't feel like I do nearly as much as my wife. Happy Valentine's Day, babe!

Near the end of January, my dad flew out here to California to see his first grandchild and spend some time with us. It was great to have him get to meet Riley and see Kymberli and I. While we spent much time with the two ladies, my dad and I took some time to head down the street to El Dorado Park East. My dad has been really studying up and practicing with his camera and we wanted to get some bird shots. We both love birds and are fascinated with the shape, color and their natural beauty.

On and off for three days we ventured to the park and encountered some wonderful birds. Red-tailed hawks, red-shouldered hawks, great blue herons fighting for dominance, great egrets, snowy egrets, and many others. We focused on the big birds because we love birds-of-prey.

We had our own little safari. We would spot and stalk the birds. We drove around the park multiple times to find a bird we wanted to shoot. My dad even spotted two nesting red-shouldered hawks and they were fascinating! They were so territorial that one of the times we were observing them, a red-tailed hawk swooped in and they attacked. They defended their territory and they are fast! That red-tail took off as fast as it could.

The birds were very skittish at times. We'd walk right up on some and others would see us coming and get just out of range. We pulled up on an Sharp-Shinned Hawk and Dad had to get it's photo from inside the car. It was such a cool looking bird.

Needless to say, we had a wonderful time. I got to spend some time with my dad just enjoying nature. I was brought up on adventures in the woods and this was a nice treat for me. The park and nature center are my 'home away from home' as I like to call it. Being a country boy, the city life can make me crazy sometimes. This is where I can unwind and see the beauty of nature and photograph it.

Dad, thank you for making the trip out here. I had a great time shooting with you. I cannot wait to do it again after we've both had time to try new camera settings and scope out our back yards.

Oh, on a side note. I think this is cool and funny at the same time. My dad bought the National Wildlife Federation book "The Field Guide to Birds of North America" by Edward S. Brinkley when he got back to NY. What's the funny part? I ordered mine and it came yesterday!! Now we can compare our photos from across the country and can flip to a specific page at any time. That gets me even more excited!

Here are some of my favorite bird shots (and a squirrel) from the time my dad was here. Enjoy.


Wendy G said...

wow these shots are FANTASTIC! I sat here for a few minutes and kept scrolling back up and down, amazed at the variety of birds, and the angles/shots that you got. Great job Al (and dad!)

Jim, "Homer" said...

I'm sure things have been very busy with Riley and it had to be great to spend some quality time with your dad. These look great Al, I love birds of prey and need to get out more to capture them.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful shots. Bet your dad was surprised to see how much wildlife right here in our backyard.

Glad you had a great time.


Roody said...

Hey buddy, just thought you should know the last pic isn't a bird ;-p

Just messin' with ya. The pics are impressive. Those birds are beautiful and scary at the same time.