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Borrego Springs, CA

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sunset at Skillern

One of the departing gifts that volunteers receive at Anahuac NWR is a $15 gift certificate that is good at the Friend’s of Anahuac Nature Store.  Since these certificates were burning holes in the pockets of Barbara, James, and myself, we headed off this afternoon to cash them in at the new Visitor’s Center.  I also had to pick up the salinity test equipment that had accidentally been off loaded out of the Suburban when we moved all of the environmental education equipment the other day. 

After that extravagant shopping spree, we all headed out to do the salinity testing for the week.  We only got two sites done when we had to return to the rigs.  The back roads had turned to gumbo with the rain from the other day, and we had a phone call that required us to return.  After taking care of some business and grabbing a bite to eat, we headed over to the Skillern Tract about an hour before sunset.

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What we found as we entered the tract was the mother lode of snow geese settling in for the night in the moist soil units.  They were so intent on honking away and chatting with their neighbors that we didn’t spook them at all as we drove the half mile road to the parking area. 

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After admiring all the geese, ibis, and Northern shovelers, we parked to take the trail along the bayou.  The wind had calmed so the bayou was very calm.  This pic reminds me of something that would be used for a jigsaw puzzle.  There were such great reflections on the bayou.

As the sun slipped down to the horizon, we were in for a couple of real treats as we made our way down the trail.

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An anhinga, perched on a tree branch, was about to give us a real show worth watching.  I’m pleased to be able to show you its antics.

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Do you suppose it knew it had a rapt audience?  After that great display, it flew off into the sunset.  We continued down the path to the overlook with a Wilson’s warbler, a ruby-crowned kinglet, and numerous sparrows flitting around in front of us.

On our way back from the overlook, there was one more treat in store for us.

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A peregrine falcon swooped into one of the trees.  I was so excited that I forgot to adjust my shutter speed as I crept closer and closer to this magnificent bird so all of my shots were woefully underexposed for the low light available.  Picasa can help, but it can’t do miracles.  Crying face

All in all, it was a great outing with my new friends who will be leaving on Monday.  I can’t wait to see James’ photos.  I’m betting he’ll have better photos of the falcon.

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                                                                             Good night, all!

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

30 comments:

  1. I love all the photos, and some of these birds I've never heard of. I'm hoping to see a lot of different birds as I travel around the Texas Coast this winter.

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  2. Luck you, a gift certificate, and photos of birds that I have never heard of. Beautiful shots.

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  3. fantastic that you got to see a peregrine... nice to see the bird making a comeback after the DDT scare...

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  4. I have a special place in my heart for peregrines. We have a nest box on our city hall and Clara has had three husband birds and raised families there over several years. I watch them every spring via the internet.

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  5. I love the anhinga. We had a guide in Florida that showed us one and we got to sit and watch him for awhile. Just wonderful. Beautiful sunset picture.

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  6. INCREDIBLE pictures, Judy. I hope you're copyrighting them. They are like postcards. I'd love to get a new camera for my next trip, but I don't think my pocketbook can handle it. Plus, I generally use the auto setting so I don't have the talent you do. What kind is yours? I know the last two pictures are dark, but there's something very artistic about the last one. Thanks for sharing.

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  7. Fabulous photos today - the antics of the anhinga, do you think it was acting that way because another one was nearby - some sort of mating ritual? It sure stretched every which way. Fun to see! :)

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  8. What wonderful shots. I love that camera you have. I was playing with mine tonight in the dark. It didn't work but I bet I used the wrong setting. I need to check it out again tomorrow. I am so inspired by your photo's Thank you so much.

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  9. Well, everyone's already said it but these pics are truly fantastic!

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  10. The anhinga looks very much like a cormorant...very cool birds!! I especially like the sunset photo!

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  11. Most of my best pictures don't look even half as good as your under exposed ones. :c)

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  12. You did it again--great photos, Judy!

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  13. I sometimes think your pictures are so good that I take them for granted. This evening's are so beyond wonderful and brings me back to the reality that all your photos are spectacular. There is something about this set however.

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  14. I really like that last one ... but I'm also partial to the one of the boardwalk ... after all, there's a reflection in that one to double my pleasure.

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  15. Beautiful shots. Hey a gift certificate is always great. Like an early Christmas present.

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  16. Outstanding pictures...like looking at National Geographic

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  17. Beautiful photos. Love the close up of the Peregrine.

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  18. All your photos are fabulous...Low lighting always dooms me to dark photos..I don't know how to adjust our new camera quite yet..The Anhinga is really something. Quite a display..and we can see the wonderful wing color...Thanks for sharing photos that I could NEVER get!

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  19. Anhinga! We had totally forgotten that name (from learning it during our one trip into that area). Great pix of a great show!

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  20. What a treat you had with the anhinga, the peregrine and all the other birds! And, as always, your photos are spectacular. Very best wishes for the New Year!

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  21. I'd help you work that jigsaw puzzle. :)

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  22. Just love that last picture. But then, you always share such great nature photos.

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  23. So good to have a chance to finally catch up with you, Judy. As usual, amazing photos. I do so love the snow geese

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  24. Outstanding photos! You really know how to capture the subject. And that's a good shot of the bayou too -- you are making me miss the bay!

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