The Great Journey in Photography

Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Reserve

Hawk t Bolsa chica

420mm f4 200iso 1/4,000sec

I don’t know how many of you heard about it but last week there was a wayward dolphin that made its way to one of my favorite shooting locations. It was quite remarkable because even though the fishing hole is only a couple of hundred yards from the open ocean the only way to navigate to it is about a two mile journey  through a large marina and wetlands that are often dry during extreme low tides. Under many circumstances I would be very interested in going there and maybe making some pictures, but this is Southern California. Here, any news worthy event brings a circus of media and throngs of  those with questionable character. I stayed away. One of the things I find interesting is that many of the extremely bright people who spend much of their time telling us how intelligent and evolved dolphins are were the same ones who think this “think different” dolphin is too stupid to figure out how to get to and from the location and survive there. There were lies too. One report said there was nothing for the dolphin to eat, yet I know there are plenty of fish in those waters, I have seen them time after time, and big ones too! I go there because the birds go there, the birds go there because it is easy fishing. The birds weren’t going there that week and a half. I wonder where they got their food.

One ABC report even said that the poor dolphin was a victim of bullying. Really! From such an evolved species? I am not an expert on dolphins, I don’t even play one on TV but here is an idea. How about maybe that mammal was attracted to those fertile fishing grounds and was not really too excited about having to navigate hundreds of water craft, any of which may have a spinning propeller to leave. All efforts to force the dolphin out failed. It turned out the wayward creature made its way out in the dead of night when everyone was gone and things were quiet. It was safe for me to return to my personal sacred ground in a couple of days.

When I arrived the scars of the circus were apparent. There was plenty of trash, ribbons of caution tape crisscrossing paths and seemingly every inch of soil that would be a good spot to take a picture. There was one of those gasoline powered portable flashing caution signs whirling away adding even more noise to the atmosphere. I can’t remember the exact message it displayed but for sure it was some bureaucratic language demanding people stay away but in reality it was just a beacon flashing  “enter here”  for the circus. It reminded me of the old Leslie Nielsen line in Naked Gun when the fire works factory was on fire. “Move along-Nothing to see here!”

The birds were sparse and the people thick. I figured it would be a good day to just take in the surroundings and for the most part that was true with a few remarkable exceptions. Normally this time of year I would be looking for a Tern feeding frenzy at the very place our dolphin took up temporary residence, but there were only one or two of them. I did however have a chance to watch a Great Egret fish for quite a while. I seldom spend the time to just sit down and watch birds for extended periods of time. I learned a lot about how they fish. I also spied my old friend the Hawk. This is the same guy that made it into my portfolio. A remarkable bird that is very friendly towards me, has a tendency to perch around eye level, and always allows me several minutes of close up photography. Every time I have encountered this bird I was using a tele-converter and each time I wished it was off the lens, I was that close. I was also able able to get some great shots of the elusive Night Heron. Usually hiding in trees this guy came out in really good light to fish for a while and I was able to capture it.

Crowned Night Heron

420mm f9 200iso 1/640sec

Not too bad I suppose. This week the circus move a bit north to harass another poor dolphin so things just might return to normal. And to all the folks who are suddenly experts in marine biology go home and stay there please we have had enough of you polluting the environment!! Seriously you do more damage than good.

Nuff Said. Ciao!

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