Friday, May 5, 2017

Post #103 - Goodbye LA, hello San Francisco! Peregrine Falcon showcase!

Wow, it seems like an eternity since I wrote on this blog! All of the Belize/Guatemala entries were written in the days following that trip, so I've had a bit of down time since then.

First I want to say 'thanks' for sticking with me as we crossed the 100-post mark a few weeks ago! I didn't want to interrupt the flow of the Central American narrative at that time, so I figured I would make some form of little announcement now. I started this blog in February of 2015, and the writing has been fairly steady (a bit less than once/week) since then. I am always worried that I am going to run out of content at some point. Thankfully that day hasn't come yet. As long as I keep taking photos, I imagine I'll be able to scrape out something for you!

Sanderling - Calidris alba
Canon 400mm f/4 DO II + 1.4x III on EOS 7D2
1/3200 at f/5.6, ISO 640

Thinking about the where the blog has been and where it is going, I am going to change the tagline from "Using birds to explore the natural world" to something a bit more descriptive of my actual content. Right now I'm leaning towards something more fun, something like, "Bird watching, bird photography, bike-birding, and all general nonsense in between". I am open to any suggestions you might have on this front, so let's hear 'em!

Also I have created a new and improved Facebook page to disseminate content, updates, photos, videos, and everything else. It's called Dorian Anderson Birding and Bird Photography. Please check it out and "Like" it to keep abreast of what's happening!

Mostly though I wanted to make a quick mention of my move as the movers are coming in a few hours. I have not hidden the fact that the move to LA was tough, mainly because of the number of people, the lack of personal space, and the fact that its nearly 20 miles of concrete in every direction from where I've lived for the past 2 years. All that being said, there are a lot of things I am going to miss, the weather, the great birding, and the SoCal birding community among them. Most of my frustrations were on the photographic front since I was so used to having my own space to shoot in New England. I will say that the last 4 months here have been very photographically productive, so I think LA just required A LOT of time to get used to. It's actually a bit frustrating as just when I think I finally have the light, crowd patterns, traffic flow, shooting locations, rules, and so on figured out here, it is time to move again. I am certainly ready to go, but I've kind of made my peace with the SoCal monster in the last few weeks. I mean, I have had regular access two Peregrine Falcon nests in that time!

Male Peregrine Falcon - Falco peregrinus
Los Angeles, California
Canon 500mm f/4 IS + 1.4x III on EOS 1D Mark IV
1/1600 at f/7.1, ISO 400

Same male
Canon 500mm f/4 IS on EOS 7D2
1/1600 at f/7.1, ISO 400

Same male
Canon 500mm f/4 IS + 1.4x III on EOS 7D2
1/1600 at f/7.1, ISO 400

His female mate
Canon 500mm f/4 IS on EOS 7D2
1/2500 at f/4, ISO 1600

Male again
Canon 500mm f/4 IS + 1.4x III on EOS 7D2
1/2500 at f/7.1, ISO 400

Female from the other pair
Canon 500mm f/4 IS + 1.4x III on EOS 1D Mark IV
1/1000 at f/5.6, ISO 1600

As for San Francisco, we'll actually be living just south of the city in San Mateo. I am so stoked that well be right on SF Bay which means a return to bike-birding! My bike is all tuned up and ready to go. I'll do most of my bike-birding on the bay, but I hope to venture over the coastal mountains to Half Moon Bay (20 Miles) as well. While I need a car to haul my photography gear around, I plan to do quite a bit of bike-birding on the cloudy days when I generally forgo photography. With the bay so close, it'll be easy to sneak out for an hour here or there, something that it was impossible to do here in LA since we lived in the middle of so much sprawl.

San Mateo outlined in red

So, that's what's going on here. I am super stoked to be moving to another great birding area. The access to Half Moon Bay will be awesome, particularly the pelagic birding from that port. I am also going to look into getting an inflatable kayak to paddle about the Pillar Point Harbor. That will give me an entirely new shooting opportunity. I expect there will be some amount of adjustment period to my new surrounds, but, as I went to college at Stanford in Palo Alto, I have a decent base of Bay Area knowledge already. So, with that I'll sign off, pack up the computer, and hit the road!

Oh yeah, I almost forgot! I got a ABA bird two weeks ago in San Diego. White Wagtail for ABA seen #716! This is a VERY distant record shot!


  1. Good luck with the move! I just did that myself, and the new yard list is a bigger point of excitement than I would have thought.
    You have also been a perpetual motivation for my own bike-birding endeavors, which have been pretty much all of my birding since 2015. I am planning a Big Biking Day from my corner of the rural Midwest on May 17. Are you up for a friendly challenge?

    1. Hi Greg! Glad to hear Bike-birding is a thing for you! In full disclosure, I just three weeks ago rode my bike for the first time since the end of my 2014 Big Year. When we suddenly moved to LA in early 2015, I left the bike in Philly since there wasn't anywhere worth/safe to ride it where I lived in LA. I just this week moved to SF and am right on SF Bay in my new place, so I'll be biking again shortly. I have to wait another month though because of a leg injury I sustained bouncing on a trampoline two weeks ago. So, sadly, I can't take you up on your challenge! Come mid-June I'll start riding again and hopefully be fall I'll be in some kind of shape to start really kicking asson the bike!

  2. Dorian: Congrats on your new move. My brother in law live in Graton near Sebastopol, so can appreciate the anticipation you feel moving into that birding environment. Also, the chance to use your bike again must feel great.
    Where we live, part time in the South Okanagan in B.C. we have bicycle routes all over the place, and in our vacation home where I am now in Green Valley there are bike lanes all over town. Of course the current 100 degree F temps kind of put a damper on going for long rides.
    In my humble opinion you do a great job in your reports on the birds you see, the envrionments you find yourself in, and, of course the superb photography. The only thing I could suggest from reading a number of other birding blogs is that it sometimes could be interesting, where space permits, to include the human anecdotes about birding that inevitably occur when you are out there. I seem to remember more of these when you were doing your Big Year. I could be wrong about that; just a general impression I have from your most recent posts. Sometimes, generically, I feel stories about the birders,and others you meet in the field are just as interesting as the ones about the birds themselves. And as you are such a good writer, why not??
    In any event, continue to have fun, and I look forward to your reports from the Bay area.

  3. Hi Thor! BC and AZ sounds about like my dream! So tired of traffic and huge numbers of people!

    As for your suggestion, I'll say that you are really going to like the book on which I am (still) working as it's as much about people as it is birds. I could certainly work a bit more human interest stuff into the blog, so I'll see what I can do on that front. Truth be told I do so much of my birding alone that I don't think as much about the people side of the equation now as I did during my Big Year! Also, thanks for the nice words regarding my writing. I just hope I can sustain it for the 80,000 or so words of the book!