Tuesday, April 17, 2012
After the release of the rehabilitated Golden Eagle, I decided to spend the afternoon exploring this East Bay Regional Park that I had not visited before. The biologists on hand told me it was a great place for raptors. And it certainly was. I saw a White-Tailed Kite, a Cooper's Hawk, a Prairie Falcon, and many Red Tail Hawks. The Red Tails were actively courting, and I enjoyed watching their acrobatic flight for quite a while.
There was a large field of grass near the top of the ridge where the hawks were courting. I decided this would be a great place to explore. Walking slowly along, I spotted movement in the distance. A quick look through my binoculars confirmed my hope: a bobcat. The cat was far away and well camouflaged, as you can tell in this picture. You can just barely make out the cat walking on an animal trail.
Since the bobcat was walking in my direction, I decided to sit down over a small rise and wait and
hope that the cat would continue coming my way. This seems like a good idea, but it did not pan out. I suspect the cat had seen me and decided to veer off at some point on its way. I looked through my binoculars for a long time and could not spot anything. So I decided to head to the ridge above where the cat had been and look some more. A Red Tail flew by me while I was standing on the ridge looking over the large green field.
The hawk kept a close eye on me as it flew by.
I was determined to find the bobcat again. So I continued to wander around the area and scour the grassy areas all around. After close to an hour, I caught another glimpse of the cat, this time a little closer to me.
And then my patience paid off. I was making my way slowly on one of the animal trails when the bobcat popped its head up over the grass and looked right at me, briefly, before disappearing into the grassland. (That is the photo at the top of the post.) It was a special moment, to get a close-up look and shot of this beautiful cat with the fresh green grass surrounding her or him.
Sunday, April 15, 2012
I had my first photo published in a newspaper today. The San Francisco Chronicle featured an interesting story on the return of river otters to Bay Area waterways and included one of my river otter photos in the story.
The photo is not the one shown above, but you can see my photo from the paper through this link: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/04/15/BAEO1O1KPR.DTL
It was fun for me to see my photo in print. Hope others got to see it, too.
Some of my river otter photos were also featured in an article in Berkeleyside on April 5th, which you can read here: http://www.berkeleyside.com/2012/04/05/last-seen-in-tilden-in-the-1940s-hunt-for-a-rare-river-otter/
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Last week, I had the good fortune to watch the release of a Golden Eagle in an East Bay Regional Park. This beautiful Eagle was brought to Lindsay Wildlife Museum's hospital in October of last year with a fractured wing (staff suspect the Eagle was hit by a car). Museum staff surgically pinned the fractured wing bones, and the Eagle was cared for at Lindsay and later at a Sonoma wildlife center.
There was a small crowd on hand to watch the release. Staff from the Lindsay Wildlife Museum were particularly excited about the occasion, as too often they are not able to successfully rehabilitate and release large raptors (many of which fall prey to the Altamont windmills). Prior to release, the Golden Eagle was banded and examined to determine likely age and sex. It was an amazing experience to see such a mighty creature up close.
The Eagle had a falconry hood on and thus was relatively calm during the examination period. The East Bay Regional Park District and Lindsay Wildlife Museum staff did a wonderful job of getting the Eagle ready for release and educating the onlookers to the wonders of Golden Eagles. The Eagle is believed to be male and three or four years old.
When the time came for release, Trish Orlowski of Lindsay Wildlife Museum headed up a hillside with the Golden Eagle to a good vantage point for the Eagle to take off. Trish launched the Eagle who flew up and over to a bunch of trees, where he landed.
After a few minutes, the Eagle demonstrated his true flying potential, as he set off from the trees and flew powerfully to a nearby ridge.
While he glided above the ridge, a Red Tailed Hawk introduced him to the neighborhood by repeatedly flying right at him. While the Eagle was too far for photos, it was amazing to watch him soar through the sky. And to marvel at his large wing span, as the Eagle made the Hawk look crow-size in comparison.