Archive for the ‘Birds’ Category

A few pictures from an afternoon at Antonelli Pond on the West Side of Santa Cruz.


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Some images from the recent Frans Lanting Spring Workshop.  We had several locals participating and others from as far away as Germany.  Our shooting locations included the UCSC Arboretum, Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, Elkhorn Slough, Point Lobos State Reserve, Garrapata State Beach, and Asilomar State Beach.  We had an especially good morning on Captain Yohn Gideon’s pontoon boat in Moss Landing.  The weather and light were perfect and Yohn maneuvered us into great position for photographing the abundance of birds, otters, sea lions, harbor seals, etc. Plans are already in the works for a fall workshop in late October.  


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Look for a collection of my bird photographs in the upcoming Santa Cruz County Bank’s Birds of a Feather exhibit that kicks off later this month.  This exhibit runs in conjunction with the Monterey Bay Birding Festival and will focus on the varied habits and habitats of birds on the Central Coast. The exhibit will include my work along with 6 other local artists.

You’ll be able to see the work by visiting Santa Cruz County Banks in Aptos, Capitola, Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley and Watsonville.

There will be a Reception and Mixer August 3rd from 5-7 pm at Santa Cruz County Bank, 595 Auto Center Drive, Watsonville.

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Familiar face makes the cover of the latest Santa Cruz County 2009 Traveler’s Guide.

Cover of 2009 Santa Cruz County Traveler's Guide

Cover of 2009 Santa Cruz County Traveler's Guide

To see the original photo visit http://www.paulzaretsky.com/birds/503.htm

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Short-eared Owl

Short-eared Owl
I’ll start off our blog with a entry about one of my most popular images.
This photo was taken on Christmas Day, at the Grizzly Island Complex, in the East Bay Area. This was taken a few years back, before our daughter was born, when Christmas Day was about getting away for some birding and photography. We were parked on the side of the road where I was set up and shooting some Black-tailed Kites that were hovering over the marsh at sunset. Suddenly, two birds popped up from the nearby brush. At first we thought they were Northern harriers, but my wife Lisa got a good look and yelled “owls!”. One of the owls began to circle around the truck and suddenly flew straight toward me. I was able to get off one successful frame as the autofocus searched frantically between the bird and the shrubs. It was definitely a great surprise to get this film back and find one perfectly sharp frame – the one that mattered.

This shot was taken with a Canon EOS3, 400MM 2.8 with 1.4 extension out the window of our truck.

Short-eared owls hunt at sunset and sunrise, so they are one of the few owl species that are spotted durring the day. They are quite magnificent, and just like other owls, they are almost silent flyers. Since this first sighting, I’ve learned to distinguish their flight patterns as much more irratic than the graceful, low gliding harrier, but definitely seen in the same locations.

Our next encounter with the short-eared owl was on the beautiful island of Kauai, driving up the hill to Waimea Canyon for sunrise. Two Hawaiian owls, subspecies of the Short-eared, flew out in front of our car. We quickly parked and watched them fly off together. No time to get out the camera, so I wasn’t as lucky that day, or so I thought… we asked around and learned that just seeing a Hawaiian owl is considered good luck. The Hawaiian owl, or the Pueo, is known as a guardian bird, assuring travelers of reaching their destinations safely. My wife and I feel fortunate every time we get to see this bird, always at sunrise and sunset, always hunting, and usually not alone. One still, golden evening at Tule Lake in Northern California, we spotted at least 20 of these owls flying above a lake-side field. They fluttering about like moths then quickly dropping out of the sky attempting to catch a meal — a memorable evening for sure.

For a larger view, click here.

This is what this blog is to be about – discussions of nature, images, and photography that is important to us.
– Paul

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