The Life in My Years

An anthology of life

This week’s Lens Artists Challenge is hosted by Anne Sandler and she has chosen the topic, Wildlife Close To Home.

I’m choosing home as what’s known as the entire Greater Bay Area, so I’m reaching out to the Pacific Coast.

Half Moon Bay is about 45 minutes away. That’s close to home. Right?

The Pacific shoreline teems with birds. Below is a flock of fluttering plovers (say that fast three times).     

Below, a posing black oystercatcher.

During COVID, Cora and I went for a walk along the shoreline near the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a sunny brisk and breezy January day. As we walked near a fence line a raven followed us, alighting on fence posts along the way. It should be noted he made plenty of noise but he never once quoted, “Nevermore.”

Getting closer to home, I usually take Lexi for walks past ponds and along the shore of San Pablo Bay.  One day on a trail walk past one of the ponds, we spotted a number of egrets and two racoons, surprising one of the masked creatures.

As Daffy Duck would say, “Suffering Succotash,” there’s always ducks floating in the wetlands near the bay. This one seems to be checking his or her – well, who knows.

We live in a valley near a large watershed which is home to a number of wild animals. On any given day I can step out into the backyard and watch hawks and vultures swooping through the eddies above. I’ve never been fortunate to photograph a hawk but on one October morning I did manage to catch a vulture perched in a tree.

Much closer to home, like on a potted plant just outside the door, I caught a glimpse of one of the twigs moving. On closer inspection, it was a walking stick. According to the National Wildlife Federation, “walking sticks, or stick insects, are a group of highly camouflaged insects. They escape predation by blending into plant material. As their name suggests, they look just like sticks, and may even sway back and forth to more closely resemble a twig moving in the wind.”

To view Anne’s site, Slow Shutter Speed, please click on the link and don’t forget to check out the comments for other takes on Wildlife Close to Home.

43 thoughts on “Lens Artists Challenge: Wildlife Close to Home

  1. JohnRH says:

    Great selections. Love the raccoon, and the bird shots with no backgrounds. Well done.

    1. Paul says:

      Hello John, Sorry for the late reply. It was a challenging week – healthwise. All good now.
      That raccoon shot is a loser in color. Moral of the story? Mess around with the photo and something good mind turn up.
      Thank you so much for visiting and commenting.
      Paul

  2. Hettie D. says:

    Awesome 🙂

    1. Paul says:

      Thank you Hettie.
      Paul

  3. sosarahanne says:

    Love the raccoons!

    1. Paul says:

      Hello, Thank you for visiting. Sorry for the late reply. It was a challenging week – healthwise. All good now.
      Truth be told, that raccoon shot was a disappointment in color. In black and white, a keeper.
      Paul

      1. sosarahanne says:

        No worries glad you’re on the mend!!

  4. Anne Sandler says:

    Great response Paul! That Walking Stick was wild. Great shot of the turkey vulture. And, of course, the racoons are so cute. I enjoyed it.

    1. Paul says:

      Hello Anne,
      Sorry for the late reply. It was a challenging week – healthwise. All good now.
      Okay so I’m going to own up to the vulture shot. I actually took that photo at Morro Bay, BUT, I can go out on my back patio just about any time and see them floating around in the sky above (or feeding on local road kill). I’ve just not been able to get a decent local shot. It’s a secret between you and me.
      Thanks for the visit,
      Paul

  5. Jane Fritz says:

    Practically perfect in every way, à la Mary Poppins. You have a gift, Paul. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    1. Paul says:

      Hello Jane,
      Sorry for the late reply. It was a challenging week – healthwise. All good now.
      Thank you so much.
      Paul

      1. Jane Fritz says:

        Take care of yourself, Paul.

  6. mistermuse says:

    Like! (The last photo is especially interesting and unique)

    1. Paul says:

      Hello MM,
      Sorry for the late reply. It was a challenging week – healthwise. All good now.
      Nature can be interesting and unique. I hope that we humans take care of nature so that it can be more interesting and less unique.
      Paul

  7. PR says:

    Awesome pictures! I’ve seen the stick insects in a zoo and it was indeed impossible to detect until it moved!

    1. Paul says:

      Sorry for the late reply. It was a challenging week – healthwise. All good now. “…impossible to detect until it moved.” Exactly! I was looking at the plant on a still morning and the twig was moving!
      Thank you for visiting and commenting.
      Paul

  8. Toonsarah says:

    What a super variety of close-to-home wildlife you have! Excellent shots all of them, but I especially like the egret with the striking contrast and the racoons in black and white 🙂

    1. Paul says:

      Hi Sarah, Sorry for the late comment. The raccoon shot seemed to be a loser until I took a second look in black and white. Thank you so much for visiting and commenting.
      Paul

      1. Toonsarah says:

        Always a pleasure! You seem to have deleted your ‘blog closing’ post – I hope that means you’ve had a change of heart?

        1. Paul says:

          Hi Sarah,
          That was a poorly conceived post. I worked on a revision and couldn’t come up with anything appropriate or satisfying so I deleted the one and have just left things hanging for now. I probably will resume posting again but it may wait until the end of December/beginning of January. I was considering going right back to posting but I think a break is good to clear my head, get some things done that I’ve been neglecting and maybe give the site a new look. I also need to concentrate on a possible upcoming trip to Europe.
          Thank you very much for your comment.
          Paul

          1. Toonsarah says:

            It will be good to have you back whenever you feel the time is right 🙂

  9. Wonderful shots here. Specially loved the racoon and the mantis

    1. Paul says:

      Sorry for the late reply. It was a challenging week – healthwise. All good now.
      Thank you for visiting and commenting.
      Paul

  10. Alison says:

    Sounds like you live in a wonderful place. I love the last photo, so comical

    1. Paul says:

      Hi Alison,
      Sorry for the late reply. It was a challenging week – healthwise. All good now.
      Yeah, the stick insect is definitely different.
      Paul

      1. Alison says:

        🙂

    1. Paul says:

      Hi Martin.
      Sorry for the late reply. It was a challenging week – healthwise. All good now. Thanks for the visit.
      Paul

  11. Pepper says:

    Great images!

    1. Paul says:

      Hi Pepper,
      Sorry for the late reply. It was a challenging week – healthwise. All good now.
      Thank you so much for visiting and commenting.
      Paul

  12. Tina Schell says:

    These are truly exquisite Paul, all of them! Especially worth of note the raccoons, the oystercatcher and the flock. Beautiful work!

    1. Paul says:

      Sorry for the late reply. It was a challenging week – healthwise. All good now.
      Thank you Tina. The raccoon photo. In color it was meh. In mono, with a little cropping I found it to be a keeper.
      Paul

  13. Cee Neuner says:

    WOWZA. Tina was right Paul, such exquisite photos 😀

    1. Paul says:

      Hello Cee, Sorry for the late reply. It was a challenging week – healthwise. All good now. Thank you so much for the kind words.
      Paul

  14. Toonsarah says:

    Just saw your ‘Closed’ post and as comments are disabled there I had to come back to this one to tell you how much I’ll miss reading your posts. I hope this proves temporary and you’ll be back to blogging after the break you feel you need. All the best!

    1. Hettie D. says:

      Same here!

      1. Paul says:

        Hello Hettie, Sorry for the late reply. It was a challenging week – healthwise. All good now.
        I very much appreciate the kind thought. I’ll be back. I just need a break.
        Paul

    2. Paul says:

      Sorry for the late reply. It was a challenging week – healthwise. All good now. I need a break and I need to get some DIY projects done.
      I very, very much appreciate the kind sentiment.
      Paul

  15. stacey says:

    Beautiful images.
    I wonder what that raven wanted… lol 🙂

    1. Paul says:

      He Stacey, Sorry for the late reply. It was a challenging week – healthwise. All good now. The raven was probably looking for food. I’d never seen a raven before. They’re big birds.
      Paul

  16. Leya says:

    Beautiful portraits, Paul – so loved the oystercatcher!

    1. Paul says:

      Hello Ann-Christine, Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Glad you enjoyed the images.
      Paul

  17. eden baylee says:

    Hi Paul,
    Amazing photos, especially the birds and the closeups of them. The pic of the vulture doesn’t even look real. It’s like a drawing! My fave is the walking stick… nature fascinates like nothing else.

Would love to hear from you

%d bloggers like this: