Category Archives: Birds

Our birds deserve better

I livew in my own little world

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When I was but a juvenile delinquent of the age of 8 living in Brigham City, Utah, I skipped second grade one day and went with a friend to see Alfred Hitchcock’s movie “The Birds.” I already had developed a fascination with birds and couldn’t understand why my mom and (step)dad wouldn’t let me go see the movie. This, of course, was prior to films being rated, so it was up to parents to decide what their children could watch. Even though I still was young, impressionable, and brainwashable, the movie did not dampen my love of birds.

I am fortunate to live in San Diego because of the San Diego Zoo and the Zoo’s Safari Park. I have seen birds that I never would have had the opportunity to see if I relied on seeing them in the wild, birds like flamingos, shoebills, and various species of eagles, owls, condors, and vultures.

Necking flamingos at the San Diego ZooNecking flamingos at San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Shoebill at the San Diego Zoo's Safari ParkShoebill at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Milky Eagle Owl

Milky eagle owl at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I also am fortunate to live in a coastal area like San Diego because there are over 500 species of birds that can be seen here on a regular basis, some of those stopping by while migrating on the Pacific Flyway.

Possibly my five favorite birds that can be seen on a daily basis roaming around the outdoors are pelicans, great egrets, snowy egrets, great blue herons, and black-crowned night herons.

Snowy egretsSnowy egrets at play at Santee Lakes

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pelicans at La Jolla Cove in La Jolla, California, north of San Diego.Brown pelicans enjoying the view in La Jolla

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Great Blue Heron with mealGreat blue heron with morning meal at Mission Bay Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

black-crowned-night-heron-4-one-leg

One-legged black-crowned night heron hanging out at SeaWorld where food is plentiful.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When I first saw that black-crowned night heron I thought it was just standing on one leg, but herons don’t typically do that; they are not flamingos. That’s when I noticed that it really did only have one leg. Sadly, birds with just one foot or one leg are common here in San Diego because of all the fishing. They get a foot or leg tangled up in the fishing line which cuts off the circulation and eventually the bird loses that foot or leg. Here is a brown pelican with a missing foot probably due to fishing line entanglement:

Pelican with one foot

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

If you’re a fisherperson, please dispose of your fishing line properly. All docks have disposal bins with lids on them so that our precious wildlife can’t get tangled up.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Fly your own bird of prey!

Out & About

There’s no doubt that having nice weather for about 335 days a year provides opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and all that Mother and Father Nature have to offer. In fact, even for those other  30 days each year, the weather can be so interesting that one is encouraged to go out then!

With so many days of nice weather, entrepreneurs have created companies with many interesting things to do that don’t involve sitting at a desk behind a computer or staring at a smart phone screen. One interesting thing to do that I discovered recently is flying your own bird of prey.

Sky Falconry

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I discovered a group of people preparing to fly their own birds of prey recently, near the Torrey Pines Glider Port, all listening intently to the instructions on how to do this properly so that the raptors don’t bite your nose off or grab hold of your arm and take you for a sky ride….

Sky FalconryPictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bucket List.

If you’re looking for something unique to do, contact Sky Falconry and book a Basic Falconry Lesson, a Hawk Walk, or a Photo Hawk Walk. These events are not inexpensive but I bet they provide once-in-a-lifetime memories.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Got its picture anyways!

Picture of the Moment

I don’t know what species of bird this is but it sure is purty.

It was zipping here and there all the while that I was doing a home inspection.

If I went outside to take its picture, it would fly into the bushes.

I got this picture from inside through a screen window with a 300mm lens.

Pretty yellow bird

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My, but you’re big

San Diego Zoo logo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I usually go to the San Diego Zoo first thing in the morning; it opens at 9:00. I have three reasons for that preference: First, there are not as many morning people as there are afternoon people, so it’s less crowded. Second, It’s a time that overlaps between the day and night animals; the day animals are waking up and the night animals are finding a place to sleep. Third, it’s feeding time for many of the day animals and it’s always fun to watch them eat.

During the summer the Zoo stays open until 9:00 p.m., and that allows one to get pictures of fauna that normally are hiding during the height of daylight.

Such as this Steller’s Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus pelagicus):

Steller's Eea Eagle

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

There are eight living species of sea eagles, of which the Bald Eagle is one. Steller’s is the largest of the sea eagles, weighing up to almost 21 pounds.

Steller's Sea Eagle

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Steller’s Sea Eagles are native to the northeastern coast of Asia and feed mostly on fish and water birds. They have a wingspan of as much as 8’2″. For comparison, that maximum wingspan is two feet wider than I am tall. Mama mia!

Steller's Sea Eagle

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The IUCN classifies the Steller’s Sea Eagle as vulnerable due to loss of habitat, industrial pollution, and overfishing by man. They are classified as a National Treasure in Japan. The current population is estimated at 5,000 and decreasing.

Steller's Sea Eagle

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Recent flooding of the Russian rivers resulted in almost complete nesting failure for Steller’s Sea Eagles because the parents’ ability to capture fish for their nestlings was compromised.

Steller's Sea Eagle

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Baby pelicans are so cute!

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

snip-pet: a small piece of something

Snippets: mini blog posts

SNIPPET 1

I like reading the comment threads of online articles because they reveal the hatred, stupidity, and ignorance that seem to be so prevalent in society. I was reading a sports article yesterday on the web site for an arch-conservative newspaper serving an arch-conservative community and an arch-conservative university. After reading the article I scrolled down to the comments only to find this:

Rules of conduct

Should I admit that I found the comments essentially dull, boring, and uninteresting.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #2

Sunset and a tall ship in San Diego, California

That’s the sunset from the Maritime Museum of San Diego on Friday, September 4. I had just come from the Parade of Sail which opened the Festival of Sail taking place this weekend. Many of us consider the Parade of Sail to be the unofficial start to San Diego’s “Fleet Week” in recognition of the military stationed and living in San Diego, mostly Navy and Marine. “Fleet Week” is a misnomer since it officially starts September 8 and ends October 4.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #3

I liked this statement from author Anne Rice about Kim Davis:

“Whatever gave this woman the idea that any individual has the right to publicly and stubbornly disregard the rights of an entire group of Americans, based on her personal belief? And to think all of this is over secular marriage licenses! Not life and death. Not war and peace. But secular marriage licenses! What a colossal waste all this has been of the tax payer’s money and the court’s time.”

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #4

Climate change seems to be bringing a lot more rain to San Diego. Along with the rain—July was the wettest July in recorded history here—has come some strange weather, like hail on March 1.

Rain and hail, though, mean clouds, something that usually is an all or none situation. However, we’re getting some really nice clouds which means really nice pictures, like this one:

img_1975 abandoned railroad tracks stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #5

The place where I go each year to watch the Parade of Sail has a lot of friendly pelicans, like these two:

img_5122 pelicans stamp

The little baby pelican in the middle is soooooooooo cute!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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It doesn’t look like Earth

Out & About

One of the most beautiful areas of San Diego County is La Jolla at low tide.

There’s nothing quite like it with its natural beauty looking like something from Mars; its pelicans, cormorants, sea lions, and seals; and its opportunities for great sunsets.

Here’s a slide show to illustrate:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Never again

Picture of the Moment

It’s rare that people are in my pictures but sometimes it just can’t be helped.

img_0575 pelican crystal pier la jolla stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That giant pelican is located near the Crystal Pier Hotel in Ocean Beach:

Crystal Pier Hotel in Ocean Beach, San Diego, California

Crystal Pier Hotel in Ocean Beach, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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