Best Photos of 2011

I learned about Jim Goldstein’s blog project some time in 2011.  To learn more about it click here.  Basically, you do a blog about your best 10 or so photos of the year and Jim will link your blog to his list of blogs that participate.  I recently looked at some of the 2010 participants’ “Best 10” blogs.  It’s a great way to find good nature photographers you weren’t aware of.

I photographed a lot at Point Reyes National Seashore in 2011 so I decided to use Point Reyes wildlife photos that were in my blog in 2011.  I want to say at the outset that I never really photographed much at Point Reyes before 2011 and I was very surprised at how good wildlife photo opportunities are there.  I’m a big fan of Yellowstone, but Point Reyes is almost the equal of it and in some ways it’s better.  For example, I’ve never seen a single bobcat in Yellowstone and hardly ever fail to see one at Point Reyes.

So, without further ado, here are some of my favorite Point Reyes wildlife photos that were in my blog in 2011.

Photo of long-tailed weasel peering out of a burrow.

Long-tailed Weasel, Point Reyes National Seashore

Long-tailed weasels are one of my favorite animal subjects at Point Reyes.  Unfortunately, they are hard to find.  I saw four last year in Point Reyes, but this guy is the only one I was fortunate enough to get close photos of.

Photo of a bobcat daydreaming.

A Bobcat Daydreams, Point Reyes National Seashore

Bobcats are a lot easier to find, especially in the winter. This male lived on one of the ranches along Pierce Point Road.  I saw him a lot last winter, but he disappeared in the early spring.  I’m not sure what happened to him, but I think a pack of coyotes got him.  I saw them pass through the open area he used to hang out on.  I think he could have held his own with one coyote, but I doubt he could do so with two or more.  There were no trees or other means of escape anywhere near where I used to see him.   I photographed him a lot and miss him.

Photo of a coyote looking back at sunset.

Coyote at Sunset

Point Reyes has a healthy population of coyotes.  Like the bobcats, they are easiest to find in the winter when they spend more time out during daylight.

Photo of a badger after it awakens from a sunbath.

American Badger, Point Reyes National Seashore

Point Reyes has a good population of badgers, but they are somewhat hard to find because they are such nocturnal critters.  In 2011 I photographed two single adults plus two females in the spring with two cubs each.  This is one of the single adults.  I found this individual a couple of weeks ago.

Photo of a 7-point bull bugling during the rut.

Tule Elk Bugles During Rut; Point Reyes National Seashore

Of all the wildlife Point Reyes has I think the species people think of first is the tule elk.  They are fairly easy to find and photograph at Point Reyes.  Needless to say, this photo was taken during the rut.  With his angry-looking eyes and wide-open mouth he looks pretty fierce.  Every time I see how big his mouth is I picture four canine teeth in there and wonder what life would be like if elk had canines.

Photo of peregrine falcon eating its prey.

Peregrine Falcon Holding Its Prey

Point Reyes has some resident peregrine falcons.  They are often seen from Chimney Rock to the Point Reyes Lighthouse.   This one decided to dine in ranch country.

Photo of a male california quail.

Overseeing His Covey

California quail are quite common in the Seashore.  When things are slow they can save the day.  I think the peregrine above was feeding on a quail.

Photo of an osprey perched on a dock.

Osprey; Tomales Bay, California

There are several ospreys that live and nest in and around the Seashore.  This one decided to perch on a dock in Inverness which is just over the ridge from the Seashore.

 

Red-tailed Hawk, Point Reyes National Seashore
Photo of a red-tailed hawk.

Red-tailed Hawk, Point Reyes National Seashore

Red-tailed hawks are common at Point Reyes, especially in the winter.  They are probably the raptor seen most often in the Seashore.

Photo of a great horned owl sitting in a barn window.

Great Horned Owl in Barn Window

Great horned owls are also common, although you don’t see them as often as their numbers would suggest because of their nocturnal ways.  Find any good sized clump of trees, though, and odds are good that you will find one or more great horned owls in there.  Pound for pound they are about the most deadly bird in North America.  While they normally prey on mammals and birds smaller than them, they have been know to prey on such things as house cats, canada geese and even bald eagles.  Field Guide to Owls of California and the West, Hans Peeters, at 191.

There are a lot of other wildlife species at Point Reyes , many of which I blogged about, but it’s time to stop.  If you’d like to see some more images from Point Reyes or elsewhere you can continue viewing my blog or you can visit my website, www.jimcoda.com.

Happy New Year to All, and thank you Jim Goldstein.

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About Jim Coda

I am a nature photographer living in the San Francisco Bay Area. I specialize in photos of birds, mammals, and landscapes.
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20 Responses to Best Photos of 2011

  1. Alan says:

    Great series of photos Jim. The weasel shot is down right amazing.

  2. John Wall says:

    That’s a great set, Jim. I look forward to seeing more in the coming year!

  3. Greg H. says:

    These are all grand, Jim! Have really enjoyed following your adventures, and look forward to your posts. I’m partial to the badger for two reasons – didn’t know they existed around here, and I grew up a Bucky-Badger.

  4. Pat Ulrich says:

    Awesome selections, Jim! There’s nothing better than a page full of excellent photos from Point Reyes! The diversity of subjects in your images really speaks to how fantastic that park can be for photography — you never know what will turn up in front of your lens.

  5. The owl looks like irritated. Lol! Anyway great photo capturing Jim.

  6. lissa says:

    These are great! I love the weasel, the elk, and the owl best! Nice work!

  7. mellowcat says:

    We saw a bobcat run across Pierce Point Rd. yesterday – this was as the road passes through one of the dairy farms. Maybe he was the guy you were seeing last winter? It was a real thrill to see it. That’s a wonderful image of the great horned owl – thanks for the tip on where to spot them.

    • Jim Coda says:

      Sorry I overlooked your comment initially. It would be nice if it were the same bobcat. However, there are a good number of them on the lands Pierce Point Road bisects. Thanks for commenting.

  8. Mark says:

    You really had some great wildlife encounters in 2011 Jim! Congrats.

  9. In my opinion, you have captured magnificent images of these wild creatures.

  10. bertie says:

    Hi Jim, I enjoy your photos. I’ve been hoping to see a weasel up at point reyes… Have you seen them on the trails, or off on game trails or other hiking?

    • Jim Coda says:

      Hi Bertie and thanks. You never know where you’ll see one. I think it’s just luck. They spend lot of time in gopher tunnels.

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