There are many species of hawks you may see around Orange County but this is one that you will likely not see in this country unless you’re in Arizona or Texas... Or if you’re in Orange County and happen to look up and see this one that seems to make appearances across South Orange County every December (likely the same one). The zone-tailed hawk inhabits arid climates of central and South America. Their diet consists mainly of birds and they will soar amongst turkey vultures to disguise themselves as a non-threat before diving down and snatching a bird. The way to identify this bird is by confirming the white band on the tail and the turkey vulture appearance but much smaller
Not many trees remain at @peltzerpines in Silverado Canyon, a Christmas tree farm where you can pick your tree and have it cut fresh in front of you. Peltzer Pines is a family owned business operated by The Peltzer Family
Who says you have to go to Alaska to get a photo like this? Taken with a telephoto lens aboard @newportcoastaladventure which gets you nice and low to the water. This is one of several humpbacks that have been seen lately off our coast. Mt Baldy in the background
This should be a great inspiration for us humans to do better. In this photo taken Saturday, you can see a humpback whale calf nursing from its mother which was just 3 miles off Newport Beach. You can also notice a quart of oil and a ziploc sandwich bag. After we get storms, run off from land all gets swept out to the ocean and there is trash like this everywhere out there. Next time you see a piece of trash laying on the ground, don’t hesitate to pick it up and put it in a trash or recycle bin and know that you likely have just saved an animals life
Burrowing owls are very cute and get their name due to the way they live, unlike other owls which spend their time in trees, these nest underground and share burrows with squirrels. There are very few remaining here in Orange County and this one has come back every winter but for its safety, it’s exact location will be kept private but it is another example of the unique species we are fortunate to share Orange County with
The 44th annual Dana Point Christmas Boat Parade began tonight and runs this weekend and next weekend. Hope on @danawharf to be a part of the parade!
What a beautiful day in Orange County! Enjoy this quick time-lapse from today over Saddleback
The rain is a very welcome sight but it also brought a mud flow from the burn area which washed out guardrails on the Trabuco Canyon Bridge
Although Orange County may not consistently see whales every single day, we are very fortunate to have many different species that pass by here, these 2 humpbacks that were traveling South together this weekend are well documented in other countries. The white fluke is known as Blizzard (CRC-11100) and has been documented off as far South as Costa Rica and as far North as Monterey Bay dating back to 2005. The black fluke is known as CRC-16097 and has been documented up to Hermosa Beach and down to Puerto Vallarta since 2015. This is a great example of how unique humpbacks flukes are and how “The OC” is right along a major migration path for these whales and we get to play an important part of documenting their travels. Photos taken from @newportcoastaladventure this weekend. Thanks to @happyhumpback for documented these beauties.
Bobcats can be found throughout Orange County’s wilderness areas and areas populated by humans that are near wilderness areas. Their diet typically consists of rabbits, squirrels, birds, and they can even take down a deer. They are very often confused with mountain lions but the main identifiers with a bobcat are stubbed tail, small size, spots (although mountain lion cubs are spotted). Contrary to many people’s belief, there are no collared or tracked bobcats or mountain lions in Orange County.
Tonights “almost” full moonrise behind Santiago Peak - the highest point in Orange County. The actual full moon is on November 22nd. This was shot with a 600mm lens
As we await the 20,000 gray whales to make their way past Orange County, we are still searching for humpbacks but yesterday @mattlarmand was able to confirm a Bryde’s whale thanks to his drone while aboard @danawharf. These whales are found in tropical waters and we only see them a few times a year when the water gets above 70 degrees during summer. Seeing one in November is pretty unusual but the variety is nice. Brydes’s whales never show their tail/fluke and look like a cross between a minke and fin whale which also never show the flukes making a Bryde’s whale hard to confirm without a drone which can easily see the 3 rostrum ridges which no other whales have. Bryde’s whales typically travel just beneath the surface as well which makes them easy to track with a drone, they usually only surface for 1 breath at a time unlike other whales who take multiple breaths at the surface before diving. The ocean conditions have been extraordinary lately!
An interesting sight off Orange County; A striped marlin feeding on needlefish with a broken off bill which it would normally use to smack and stun its prey before eating it