They had the characteristic stripe which identifies Pacific chorus frogs. It runs from the nostril, across the eye. They also have toepads, and according to this reference, no other frogs in their range have these features. Despite how visible they are in these close up images, with the naked eye, they are so dwarfed by their habitat, they might as well be raindrops in a rainforest.
Snowy Egrets do sometimes change nesting locations, but they also show loyalty to the same sites year after year. This tree was actually an emergency roost for them after their previous habitat was razed for the same reasons: residents in a housing development complained. So, they were evicted from one home, found another, and now face the same conundrum of locating a safe place to raise their babies.
Buddhists have a term, samma sankappa, which loosely interpreted speaks to "RIGHT INTENT": the intent of goodwill and harmlessness. That's obviously an over-simplification. But in deciding what to share without completely withholding, intent and possible outcome inform my wildlife choices. Will sharing this information have the effect of harm or harmlessness? Or better yet, can sharing this achieve some possible benefit to the animals?
As this photo suggests in a literal and metaphorical sense, we humans are intertwined on the landscape with the lizards and lichens of the desert, so much so that the extinction of one, the absence of, say, a honey bee will mean the extinction of us, too. And this calls to mind the David Hume notion that “the life of man is of no greater importance to the universe than that of an oyster," except for the fact that we have the power and choice to exert a bigger influence in the outcome for ourselves and for the oyster.
Taking time to observe without my camera, I saw a pervasive nervousness. They were not going about their business in comfort. They were attuned to everything new in their environment, stopping their feeding or play for the slightest disruption. So although it disappointed me to put my camera away, I decided I would investigate their history before I tried photographing them again.
When I read this description, it infused new meaning into an image that was ubiquitous when I grew up -- a symbol many of us kids of the 60s and 70s sewed into our jackets and bell bottoms (along with the extra flare). What I wish for most in 2017 is that wherever and whenever despair does overtake, we can find the strength to turn it right-side up into Holtom's tree of hope and peace, and create something new, maybe even something better … an ongoing revolution of thought and purpose.
One of the ethical issues that comes up time and again in wildlife photography is people encroaching so close as to harass or spook wild animals. There are a lot of reasons people cross and blur those ethical lines, but the main one is to get close to a wild animal, to fill the frame. The best photographers I know get these images through patience and through allowing animals to become comfortable with their presence.
The shorebirds are back, the ones who took flight months ago and flew thousands of miles here to forage and rest; • Hungry Brown Pelicans are chasing the herring and sardines, taking cues from each other as they amass with the tides; • Little sea otters are growing up, learning to swim, dive and find mussels under the tutelage of mom (otter dads don’t help);
Wildlife "management" systems lag behind in addressing these most recent studies and revelations. I believe, along with a growing chorus of wildlife and animal advocates, that it's time to close the gap between some of those archaic ideas, and consider more fully the individual wild animal and his or her needs in our larger paradigm.