Most of our National Parks have remained open during the government shutdown despite suffering from neglect and damage from unthinking visitors. The parks are national treasures that we must respect. Their beauty and magnificence were here long before we declared them National Parks and if we look after them, they will continue to be here for the enjoyment of all who visit them.
This is a view of Bridal Veil Falls in the mist taken last November.
For me, figuring out which gull species a juvenile gull might be is difficult. Many juvenile gulls have brown feathers and simlar feather patterns. Their beaks change as they mature so, for example, a young Ring-billed Gull doesn’t have a ring but rather the entire tip of its beak is black. Juvenile California Gulls and the Herring Gulls, other gull species common in the Sacramento area, have similar traits so identification can be complicated. The color of the legs can sometimes be an identifying factor and that is why I determined this is a juvenile Herring Gull. It’s legs are pink.
Another Ring-billed Gull at Lake Natoma.
A trio of Snow Geese gets ready to land at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.
On another visit to Lake Natoma I found about a dozen gulls, all California and Ring-billed Gulls, swarming around a family that brought some bread to feed the birds. They told me they came to see ducks and there were a few mallards there but the gulls dominated the area and overwhelmed the ducks. This California Gull has its eye on the prize as it floats down to retrieve a crust of bread.
My Christmas light challenge resulted in lots of images that reminded me of other things. This one in particular looks like a collection of women’s eyeglasses from the 1950’s. My first pair of glasses looked like the blue ones in this image.
We watched this pair of bull Moose in Chugach State Park in Anchorage, AK as they walked up the slope, keeping pace with each other. It was not just a friendly walk. As they lumbered up the hill side by side, they each eyed the other and swayed their massive rack of antlers in a sign of aggression.
The swoosh I posted a few days ago was just one of several photographs I took of colored lights. I mounted the lights in a row on black mat board and used my 500mm lens and Nikon D850 camersa with the ISO at 64, the aperture set to f/20, and exposure compensation at -3.7. In Aperture Priority, this setting gave me a slow shutter speed of 1 second. Then, I moved across the room to a distance that would accommodate the 500mm lens whose minimum focusing distance is 9.8 feet, braced myself, and moved the camera. Some of the results, like this one, really intrigued me.
I don’t considser myself a birder. I consider myself a photographer who photographs birds. But, I love watching bird behavior and learning to identify them and whenever I post a photograph of a bird, I try to accurately identify it. Sometimes I’m stumped. Today’s post is one of those times. I know this is a gull. I think it’s a 1st winter California Gull, based on my Sibley Guide to Birds. I’m basing this on the brown feathers on its head, breast, and wings and the white eye ring which are shown in the guide as features of first winter juvenile California Gulls. But, the tail feathers are confusing me. The dark band on the tail feathers with white at the tip is shown as a feature of juvenile Ring-billed Gulls. But the dark iris is a feature of a California Gull. So, I’ll just call this one a Juvenile Gull.
It’s a Ring-billed Gull but from this angle it looks rather imposing, very raptor-like.