As with everything, and especially with a hobby like photography, having goals is good. Having achievable goals is even better. But sometimes, you can have a good goal, and achievable as well, but the one thing you have zero control over just does not want to help you out. With the majority of the bird populations having vacated the Sanctuary, the goal was to focus on good sunrise (and in the case of the December Aliso Beach gallery – sunsets) pictures to fill the gap until Jan/Feb when the higher bird species start to repopulate the Wildlife Sanctuary.
December 1 & 2 12/1 geo-track / 12/2 geo-track
The start of December carried on with the fog which was prevalent in November. It wasn’t as overbearing as the previous month, but the impact on light at the start of the day was very noticeable. The sun just didn’t have a clear path to show off at the moment it cleared the horizon. The fog did eventually burn off, but it was a couple of hours after the sun had risen and the light was then a bit harsh for nice atmospheric landscapes.
Throughout the year, when the large flocks of migrating birds have come and gone, there are still a few that hang on around or are close enough in their standard hunting ground to make the area a quick visit through out the day. Terns, Gulls and the local Great Blue Heron are always around to give an appearance. On some days, you may be lucky enough to see some of the other four legged creatures that are supposed to be thriving in the area.
Searching for a December Sunrise-1
Visits to San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary 12/1 and 12/2
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-1/thumbs/thumbs_mg_0400_1_2_3_4_5-32bit.jpg]00The start of the search for a good sunrise this month hasn't given off good feelings for a fruitful search
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-1/thumbs/thumbs_mg_0427_28_29_30_31_32-2-32bit.jpg]00a wider view showing the paths and seating areas around the marsh trials and ponds which you see so frequently on this stie
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-1/thumbs/thumbs_mg_0443.jpg]00Royal Tern
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-1/thumbs/thumbs_mg_0456.jpg]00Great Blue Heron
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-1/thumbs/thumbs_mg_0480.jpg]00Forster's Tern
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-1/thumbs/thumbs_mg_0496.jpg]00Forster's Tern
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-1/thumbs/thumbs_mg_0508.jpg]00Forster's Tern
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-1/thumbs/thumbs_mg_0522.jpg]00American Coot
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-1/thumbs/thumbs_mg_0533.jpg]00Great Blue Heron. So still for a length of time, you almost start asking if it is real.
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-1/thumbs/thumbs_mg_0541.jpg]00Same Great Blue Heron as in previous shot, just slightly closer.
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-1/thumbs/thumbs_mg_0573.jpg]00California Bobcat
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-1/thumbs/thumbs_mg_0587.jpg]00Diving American Avocet
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-1/thumbs/thumbs_mg_0653.jpg]00Green Heron in flight. When this species flies, their crest seens to act as a rudder
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-1/thumbs/thumbs_mg_0666.jpg]00Same Green Heron, you can see the crest, but not as nearly pronounced as when in flight
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-1/thumbs/thumbs_mg_0686_7_8-32bit-2.jpg]00Some fall colors other than what crayola would calssify as "dead brown"
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-1/thumbs/thumbs_mg_0693.jpg]00Some remaining dew on the smaller leaves due to the humidity of the fog.
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-1/thumbs/thumbs_mg_0694.jpg]00Early, Early Morning. Great Blue Heron just coming out of its tree perch
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-1/thumbs/thumbs_mg_0708_09_10_11_12_13-32bit.jpg]00Even 'blaher' sunrise (if that isn't a word, I know claim it)
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-1/thumbs/thumbs_mg_0744_5_6_7_8_9-32bit.jpg]00Some reflections seemed to help out the overall scene, but still 'blah'
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-1/thumbs/thumbs_mg_0759_60_61_62_63_64-32bit.jpg]00Making the best of what there was this morning
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-1/thumbs/thumbs_mg_0784.jpg]00American White Pelican just cruising
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-1/thumbs/thumbs_mg_0792.jpg]00Now a dry bed, this was just a few weeks ago flowing with water from the rains. You can see the past water level by the dicoloration on the trees.
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-1/thumbs/thumbs_mg_0795.jpg]00Some dew drops on the smaller leaves again. Once of the better side effects of being socked in with Fog all day.
December 8 & 9 12/8 geo-track / 12/9 geo-track
The next weekend, the skies produced even less than the previous weekend, which out a hard stop to the goal of getting that good sunrise shot for the month. The sun burned the fog off early, but the sky still contained a layer of scuzzy clouds that diffused light around everything. This diffusion did help bring out what small areas of fall color existed, which to be honest isn’t much this year as things went from “green” to “dead” very quickly. Some visiting waterbirds and a couple of smaller species helped with the hunt of what to include in the gallery, with a first sighting of a Vermilion Flycatcher.
Searching for a December Sunrise-2
Visits to the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary on 12/8 and 12/9
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-2/thumbs/thumbs_mg_0955_6-32bit.jpg]00Some of the vaired colors that are difficult to see in the trees due to the closeness of the marsh tress, can be seen in the streams when it starts to clog up the stepped water flows.
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-2/thumbs/thumbs_mg_0961_2_3-32bit.jpg]00Moss growing on the less mulched back trails 4 -
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-2/thumbs/thumbs_mg_0993.jpg]00Great Blue Heron trying to sneak up on fish along the bank
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-2/thumbs/thumbs_mg_1005.jpg]00Black-necked Stilt
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-2/thumbs/thumbs_mg_1035.jpg]00Preening Great Blue Heron
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-2/thumbs/thumbs_mg_1039.jpg]00Sleeping Western Grebe
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-2/thumbs/thumbs_mg_1047.jpg]00American White Pelican floating along
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-2/thumbs/thumbs_mg_1086.jpg]00Great Blue Heron trying to blend in along the banks
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-2/thumbs/thumbs_mg_1098.jpg]00Perched Anna's Hummingbird
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-2/thumbs/thumbs_mg_1105.jpg]00Perched Anna's Hummingbird
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-2/thumbs/thumbs_mg_1115.jpg]00Vermilion Flycatcher
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-2/thumbs/thumbs_mg_1123.jpg]00Vermilion Flycatcher
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-2/thumbs/thumbs_mg_1144.jpg]00American White Pelican flyby
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-2/thumbs/thumbs_mg_1146.jpg]00Autumn colors (what there is around SoCal) with a resting Great Blue Heron
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-2/thumbs/thumbs_mg_1166.jpg]00Brown pelican along the banks
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-2/thumbs/thumbs_mg_1169.jpg]00Pair of Western Grebes
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-2/thumbs/thumbs_mg_1203.jpg]00Double-Crested Cormorant working to take off
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-2/thumbs/thumbs_mg_1205.jpg]00Double-Crested Cormorant
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-2/thumbs/thumbs_mg_1221.jpg]00Red Shouldered Hawk
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-2/thumbs/thumbs_mg_1236.jpg]00Forster's Tern
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-2/thumbs/thumbs_mg_1245.jpg]00Great Blue Heron stalking breakfast
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/searching-for-a-december-sunrise-2/thumbs/thumbs_mg_1251.jpg]00Green Heron
December 15 geo-track
The hint of a good morning was there, but the follow through unfortunately wasn’t. The clouds blew through early, but the humidity in the air had all the ponds and waterways steaming; coupling that with the canopy above some of the streams produced some other worldly scenic views.
Searching for a December Sunrise-3
Visits to San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary on 12/15
December 22 geo-track
Finally! The light, sky and weather finally got the memo and offered up some great color for the morning. Having picked a new location to capture the sunrise, the view was a little limited as compared to some clicks which may have presented closer to the front ponds; but if you don’t try, you don’t know! The clouds held their form for the first 30 minutes at sunrise, giving off both detail and color. As the morning continued, the clouds turned into their scuzzy form, holding just enough mass to continue a gold glow for a while longer until a light breeze kicked up dissipating the clouds for good. This opened up opportunities for the back areas to have some nice streaming light over the water coming in from the marsh canopy.
Having missed a large grouping of 50+ Double-Crested Cormorants coming in the gather at the front ponds prior to a mass exodus for the day, the California Gulls seemed to stay localized around some of the better feeding ponds well into the late morning. Terns also joined back in full force, and while none of them ended up in the clicks, the Egrets seem to be making a return. This may be signalling the upcoming months returning to a more active state with the inhabitants of the Wildlife Sanctuary.
Searching for a December Sunrise-4
Visits to San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary on 12/22
We hope you enjoy the above gallery!
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