Sunday Beach Ride


Still love my Cannondale bike 🙂

For about three years now I have been cycling. At least that’s when I started doing this activity as a form of exercise. During the pandemic it’s become a larger part of my routine. I try to get out pretty much every day of the week.

This morning I rode along the bike path from Marina del Rey to Hermosa Beach Pier. It’s a really nice paved path with great views. I’ve been trying to find bike routes that are off the busy LA roads. During the pandemic I have committed to riding with a mask on. It’s difficult but not unbearable. Not to belabor the point, but wearing a face covering or mask is truly the least anyone can do.

There were lots of people out there. I would say about 50-70% of the people I encountered wore a face covering. This includes…

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Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Preserve


Early morning birding today at a new brand new area for me. I saw on Ebird “explore” that this area has been reporting a plethora of action the past few weeks so I decided to check it out. Best thing about it is easy parking and the fact that it’s only about twenty minutes away!

I have been trying to improve my bird photography skills and that is certainly a work in progress. I’m not trying to be a professional or make any money or anything, mainly just as something to do for fun. I was a bit let down by just how many poor shots I took this morning, but I guess it’s all part of the process.

Today was essentially a brief walk around the pond area. There were plenty of different kinds of birds. Many that I felt confident in identifying and certainly some that I couldn’t…

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Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve


American White Pelican

The Bolsa Chica Ecological Preserve is obviously a must stop for all birders in Southern California. This morning was my first visit to the reserve and it will certainly not be my last. I identified 21 species and there were plenty more around as well.

The low-tide in the early morning made for lots of activity from all kinds of shorebirds. There is so much food for these birds and they clearly are not weary of close human contact. The layout of the reserve is wonderful. Most of the walkways are just above the waterline. Being close enough to see clearly but not in the birds way at all.

The American White Pelican at the top of this post was taken at a lucky moment. I was actually observing a Marbled Godwit (below) on the other side of the Marsh but I heard someone exclaim that the…

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Panama 2019 – Photos That Didn’t Make the Cut

Wickersham's Conscience

This post is inspired by WC’s good friend Ron Dudley, a bird photographer who is a couple of light years better than WC. Ron observed recently that we learn from our mistakes. Here’s a gallery of photos that WC rejected because, in one way or another, WC erred in executing the photo. Trust WC when he says that these eight images are only the tip of the digital iceberg of flawed photos.

Keel-billed Toucan, Metropolitan Park, Panama City, Panama Keel-billed Toucan, Metropolitan Park, Panama City, Panama

The Toucan was feeding in a Crecopia tree, with tangles of branches and understory between WC and the bird. There were no clear sight lines that WC could find. Disappointing, because it is a very good bird.

Cocoa Woodcreeper. Darién Province, Panama Cocoa Woodcreeper. Darién Province, Panama

The bright background made this a very difficult shot. The sight lines were quire limited. The result is soft focus, little detail in the bird and a very…

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Return of Bird of the Week: White-eared Puffbird

Wickersham's Conscience

Remember WC cautioned readers that some of the Puffbird photos were pretty sketchy. Here’s another.

White-eared Puffbird, Pantanal, Brazil White-eared Puffbird, Pantanal, Brazil

The White-eared Puffbird is found from eastern Peru and central Brazil south to Paraguay and northeastern Argentina. It prefers the middle levels of jungle forest and the gallery forests of the lowlands. Like other Puffbirds, it still-hunts from mid-level perches in trees and shrubs, and will take a wide range of prey, from insects to reptiles to crabs.

White-eared Puffbirds have one of the most southerly distributions of any species of puffbird; there is some evidence that the southernmost populations of White-eared Puffbird are migratory, moving north in the austral winter. White-eared Puffbirds have also been observed to lower their body temperatures and enter into torpor during cool weather.

White-eared Puffbird, Pantanal. Brazil White-eared Puffbird, Pantanal. Brazil

It’s one of the easiest Puffbirds to identify in the field, with that bright orange bill and the distinctive white patch behind…

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Photography of Birds – Set # 126

H.J. Ruiz - Avian101

Set # 126

Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher

Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher

They forage actively in trees or shrubs, mainly eating insects, insect eggs and spiders. They may hover over foliage while snatching prey (gleaning), or fly to catch insects in flight (hawking).
The tail is often held upright while defending territory or searching for food.

Eastern Towhee (Juv.)

Eastern Towhee (Juv.) Eastern Towhee (Juv.)

Adults have rufous sides, a white belly, and a long dark tail with white edges. The eyes are red, white for birds in the southeast. Males have a black head, upper body, and tail; these parts are brown in the female. Juveniles are brown overall. Eastern towhees of all ages and both sexes generally are unmistakable and are not known to co-exist with the similar western spotted towhee.

© HJ Ruiz – Avian101

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