Monday, January 28, 2013

Winter Wildlife Photos - Part 3

The third day of my winter wildlife shoot was predicted to start clear and then later turn to rain, so I headed out before dawn hoping to get my shooting in during the morning.

It was bitterly cold, and already mostly cloudy by the time I got into the rice fields, so I opted to try to capture the sunrise and then see what happened after that.

I found a good rice field, set up my tripod, and was rewarded with a beautiful, still sunrise.

Sunrise west of Richvale
Unfortunately, that was it for the day. The clouds closed in, and I headed home.

The next day dawned sunny and clear, so I decided to head to the Colusa National Wildlife Refuge, where I've gotten wonderful images in previous years.

This time, the wildlife were much shier than before, and I was only able to get a couple of good images.

White-fronted Goose, Colusa National Wildlife Refuge
Pintail Duck, Colusa National Wildlife Refuge
But I still had plenty of daylight, so I headed back up the road to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, where I met with greater success.

There are a lot of pheasants at the Sacramento Wildlife Refuge, but they are typically very skittish and rarely let you get close enough to photograph them. Today, I was very lucky, as several pheasants pecked near the side of the road and let me creep close enough for some nice portraits.

Ring-necked Pheasant
Of course, there are plenty of Snow Geese here.
Snow Geese
One of the best parts of the shoot was watching a Great Egret hunt patiently for its dinner. I watched this bird for about 10 minutes before it suddenly skewered a small mouse or a vole on its beak and swallowed it whole for its dinner.
A Great Egret on the hunt
The egret catches a vole or mouse for it's dinner
The Great Egret after it swallowed its dinner
The setting sun is reflected on the water and silhouettes a Snow Goose
All in all, this year's winter wildlife shoot was a great success!

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