2015-03-11 Julian to Mt. Laguna

Dark-Eyed Junco - Junco hyemalis

I set off on a quest to photograph Pine Siskins. Two locations that held promise were the Birdwatcher store in Julian and the Visitor’s Center at Mount Laguna. Indeed I found them at both locations, though lighting was less than ideal in both places. I saw the sunrise while climbing the mountain road into Julian and when I arrived at the Birdwatcher the light hadn’t progressed well enough for decent shots. I found the siskins, but at 1/25th of a second the shots were less than satisfactory. It appeared to me that someone at the store is putting out food for the feral cat population as well as the birds, essentially creating a cat feeding station from the bird feeder. Between the poor light and the cats camped out under the bird feeders, I decided to push on.

My next stop was at Cuyamaca Lake where geese were the object of my attention. While scanning the lake and shoreline for possible subjects I spotted a dozen or so grazing honkers influenced by too much testosterone and chasing each other hither and yon. I’m not sure if all were readying themselves for a long migration north, or if they would be staying to raise families locally, which would not be unprecedented. Then I noticed a single Greater White-Fronted Goose among the Canadas and I decided to work on some image captures. The subjects were cooperative.

Following this stop, I headed in the direction of Mount Laguna. I stopped by a picnic area near Kuaaymii Point, which I’ve known to be productive in the past, though it wasn’t very ‘birdy’ on this morning. From this location my next stop was at the Paso Picacho Campground. I found no exotic species there, but I enjoyed the industry of the rather large community of Acorn Woodpeckers. Those that weren’t excavating nest holes were busy excavating larder trees to store what seems to be a good crop of acorns this year.

My last stop was at the Mount Laguna Visitor’s Center which usually has a good showing of finches, juncos, jays, towhees, and nuthatches. The juncos included one gray-headed specimen that I’d heard about through the grapevine. All the female carpodacus finches I saw were Cassin’s and all the males were Purple.

Even though this day was a bit cloudy and overcast, it still qualified as ‘another day in paradise’. Images in this set include Pine Siskin, Greater White-Fronted Goose, Acorn Woodpecker, Canada Goose, Cassin’s Finch, Dark-Eyed Junco, Grey-Headed Junco, Merriam’s Chipmunk, Purple Finch and White-Breasted Nuthatch.

Images Below

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