Grebes at Lake Hodges (8 photos)

The grebes at Lake Hodges are my favorite birds. There are both Western Grebes (Aechmophorus occidentalis) and Clark’s Grebes (Aechmophorus clarkii) at the lake. These two are relatively easy to keep apart – the feathers around the eyes of Western Grebes are black, but white on Clark’s Grebes. In addition to that, the Clark’s Grebe’s bill is brighter and slightly upturned. Continue reading

Santa Ynez Evening (5 photos)

We spent the first night of our little April road trip in Solvang, the somewhat quirky (and very touristy) Danish settlement between Santa Ynez and Buellton. On the way there I had noticed a most beautiful spot of landscape, when we came down from San Marcos Pass on Highway 154: wide open spaces, soft pastures dotted with oaks, cows and horses grazing here and there. Continue reading

More Hummingbirds (6 photos)

On March 15th, we found another hummingbird nest at our house, this time on the northern side. Shuwen noticed the mother in flight before she disappeared into one of two pines there, and through the twigs I then saw the fast feeding movement. After the mother left (the feeding was much faster and shorter) I was able to find the nest, and it had two chicks in it! How awesome is that? Continue reading

Hummingbird Update (3 photos, 1 video)

I want to give you an update on the hummingbird nest in our lemon tree. Now, I obviously haven’t gone into full hummingbird documentary photographer mode (if you’re interested in such a documentary, I highly recommend Mike Spinak’s book “Growing up humming”), but we’ve been paying close enough attention to see what’s going on. Continue reading

The Hummingbird Nest in our Lemon Tree (3 photos)

While pruning our two lemon trees a couple of days ago, a hummingbird circled me in a rather unusual and most fearless way. I could easily see the purple/magenta gorget as it hovered around, meaning it’s an Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna) – a native to the West Coast. Puzzled at its persistence, I soon found the reason: a fresh nest that the bird was obviously trying to protect. Continue reading