Thursday, May 21, 2015

Paying Rapt(or) Attention

Although I see raptors all the time - it's always when I'm driving on the freeway.  They are either soaring overhead as I pass through Laguna Canyon or perched on a light pole or sign.  Pulling onto the freeway shoulder to take raptor photos seems like a bad idea - freeway driving in Southern California can be a blood sport.  So, I was thrilled to see that the Orange County Bird of Prey Center was going to host a raptor talk at one of the local parks.  Their goal is to rehab and release the birds (over 50 released in the last couple of months), but occasionally there are birds that are too injured or too imprinted on humans to safely release.  These either go to zoos or other rehab centers or OCBPC keeps them as education birds for these talks.

I'd been to a session before, but didn't have the new camera back then so I thought this would be a great opportunity for some up close photos without risking a 10 care pileup.  And I was right - the birds did not disappoint:

This is Spartacus.  He's a Burrowing Owl

This is Gus - he's a Western Screech Owl.
This is Dulce - she's a female Red-Tailed Hawk.

Isn't she beautiful? 
I just couldn't stop taking pictures of her.

And she was kind enough to show the undersides of her wings, too.

Such a gorgeous bird! 

Speaking of gorgeous...this is Tweak.  He's a Great Horned Owl.
Look at those amazing eyes!  I'm in love with the color tones in his feathers, too.  Definitely seeing a future jewelry design using the cream, brown, tan and butterscotch color scheme.
The raptor presentation wasn't the only educational thing about this event.  It was held in a park that is right close to my house, but for whatever reason, I've just never gone over there.  Look what I was missing:
Gorgeous scenery.

A full lake that is stocked with fish, the small creek shown in the photo above and this unusual sideways tree growing out over the creek.  This was my first attempt at taking a water reflection photo.

Tons of ground squirrels - this one is enjoying a nibble on a patch of...something.

I know they're considered to be pests, but I think they are cute, anyway.

And...just as we were getting the car to first Western Bluebird photo!
Oh, and I found time to make some bird-inspired jewelry over the weekend, too.  The earrings are done and the necklace design is laid out, but not strung yet.  And, of course, still have to take the photos before I can post about that.  Hint:  think crow feathers.


Phil Slade said...

What a great chance to see those owls and hawks close-up. They are all just beautiful and you didn't waste a single shot.

EG CameraGirl said...

Lucky you! I would have loved to see these raptors!

Kenneth Cole Schneider said...

Nice shots! That was quite an experience. Now you can keep your eyes on the road!