Being at the Right Place at the Right Time Pays Off

A good friend of mine, Pete Bengeyfield, an accomplished nature photographer and writer, is publishing a book entitled You Can’t Be Everywhere at Sunrise.  His point was that sunrise was the prime time for great photos.  Well, last week I was parked in a photo blind at the Delevan National Wildlife Refuge at sunrise (6:45 a.m.).   By 9:00 I had grown tired of looking at the few coots that wandered close and watching other waterfowl landing a long distance away, so I closed up shop and left without having taken any interesting photos (I have lots of coot pictures…little black feathered guys with less personality than an amoeba).  As I was already in the area, I decided to take a swing around the auto tour route at the Sacramento NWR, a nice place to look at birds but never really great for photography since the birds are usually distant from the tour road, you’re not allowed out of your car, and there’s often a bunch of birders blocking the road, oblivious to anything except what they see through their binoculars.  Well, there are days when it’s just the “luck of the Irish” for we photographers and this was my day for being everywhere at sunrise.  Here are some of the images I got:

Peregrine Falcon-For the past few winters I’ve seen one in about the same place but never could get close enough for a photo.  This one just sat and let m from the sunroof on my truck.


Red-tailed Hawk-Lots of these in the refuge but often obscured by tree branches.  These two were out in the open.



American Kestrel-Next in line was this guy having lunch.  He wouldn’t wipe his chin and finally got nervous and flew off.


Bald Eagle-There’s always a few bald eagles here in the winter but usually far from the road.  This one was cooperative.


Golden Eagle-The big surprise of the day was this golden eagle.  There were two of them perched on the power lines along the road.


A great day for raptors but there were opportunities for lots of waterfowl.

Pied-billed Grebe






Green-wing Teal




Ring-necked Duck


White-faced Ibis


All in all, a pretty good day!


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