Sunday, August 5, 2018

Point Lobos Native Plant Patrol

Another morning at Point Lobos removing invasive plants and on this occasion, collecting seeds!  We walked along the coastal trail towards Weston Beach stopping at an area which has been successfully replanted with beautiful, flowering native plants!

Point Lobos Native Plant Patrol Volunteer Jeff
The success of this particular area is due to the addition of a mesh layer preventing the non-native plants from getting through and taking over. We removed the odd invasive, but nothing to be concerned about and boy, what a sight to behold!  Simply stunning!

We also collected seeds from native plants, which will then be used to restore other areas around the park. They are brought to a greenhouse, potted and grown to the size of a seedling before replanting.

Thriving native plants protected by mesh layer

If you are interested in learning more and participating, here is some more information from the Point Lobos Foundation website:

Pearly Everlasting
(Anaphalis margaritacea) Seeds

Point Lobos Native Plant Patrol crew welcome you to join our team the 1st and 3rd Friday of every month to help restore the beautiful Point Lobos State Natural Reserve.  Restoration work activities include: weeding, seed collection, and planting! No experience is necessary to join in, everyone is welcome! Please bring water and wear clothing that will protect against poison oak, weather and ticks (long pants and long sleeved shirt). Gloves, additional white protective outer layer and a snack will be provided. Native Plant Patrol crew will meet from 9am -1pm, however may end early if weather conditions are difficult.  Please contact to RSVP and for more information.

I have found this to date to be a fun, rewarding experience in an absolutely stunning location!

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Getting involved in local conservation

With my recent move down to Monterey, California, I wanted to involve myself pretty quickly in local conservation efforts. I find it is a great way to do my part in the community in addition to networking and potentially connecting with organizations or individuals who are in need of photography.

Volunteering is a great way meet new people and I signed up to participate in a bi-weekly native plant patrol at beautiful Point Lobos State National Reserve, just south of Carmel. This reserve is an absolute gem with incredible scenery bordering a turquoise ocean and an abundance of birds and wildlife. It is considered the "the crown jewel of California's 280 state parks and a photographer's dream!

Invasive plants have been introduced over the years and our job was to remove a variety of fast growing grasses and succulents and although beautiful, are detrimental to the native plants and wildlife. The area we would be working in was thick with poison oak and notorious for ticks, so we dressed in a protective,"unflattering" outer layer which I was very glad of.

We spent the morning digging, pulling and bagging in a area overlooking Whaler's Cove.  It is thought some of these plants were introduced from overseas during the days of whaling and other commercial activities including shipping, granite quarrying and abalone harvesting.

To learn more about Point Lobos and volunteer opportunities, you can visit the Point Lobos Foundation.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Farewell "Luckier"!

With my move out of the bay area this week, this morning I paid a final visit to the bald eagles in Milpitas, California. "Luckier" is extending it's flight range further afield and was perched on top of a residential rooftop when I arrived with mother close by.  Mother left and Luckier flew to the small pedestrian bridge near a neighboring pond where I managed to get this portrait.

It then took off and vanished from sight for a couple of hours only to return to another roof.  The hope was the mother would return to feed Luckier in the large field adjacent to the school, but it did not happen. She arrived with a fish which she ate atop a pylon. Nature does not always cooperate as we would like.  

Thursday, June 28, 2018

"Luckier" Fledges!

I returned early this morning to Curtner Elementary School in Milpitas after a nine day hiatus to find the second eaglet, now named "Luckier" had fledged. A small group of the regular photographers had gathered and were watching the bird as it sat on the roof of the school waiting for a parent to bring food.

The bird took flight and landed in the adjoining field where it walked around and flapped it wings.

It took flight again and my 500mm was just way too much lens as the bird flew in my direction and completely filled the frame.  This is when I wished I had my versatile 200 - 500mm zoom on hand.

We are not sure the sex of "Luckier", but we are guessing also possibly a female.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

"Lucky" Rescued!

The now named juvenile bald eagle "Lucky" which fell to the ground on Sunday morning, was finally rescued yesterday evening and brought to The Lindsay Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Walnut Creek, CA.

Here is a link to the story by the Mercury News, although I think the media are in part to blame for generating the large numbers of onlookers, only adding to the unnecessary stress inflicted on the bird.  I am glad it is no longer in that situation.

Monday, June 18, 2018


Early this morning I headed up to the bald eagles in Milpitas only to find the front area of Curtner Elementary School sealed off in order to protect one of the juvenile bald eagles which had fallen to the ground yesterday morning. The mayor of Milpitas was there and I spoke with him briefly. He was concerned about the welfare of the bird and was planning on checking back periodically. He told me animal services are also keeping an eye should it need rescuing.

However, because this latest event was "broadcast"on Channel 7 news this morning, it is now drawing large numbers of people and I honestly don't see how the bird will be able to receive food from the parents with so many onlookers. This morning the bird was in the shade of one of the trees and I left for an hour or so to go photograph elsewhere.

I dropped by again on my way back, but this time it was behind a low bush up against the wall.

This bothered me, so when I got home, I contacted the Mayor of the City of Milpitas expressing my concern. I also contacted my friends at the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory.  As I was writing this however, I learned that the Department of Fish and Game are in the process of sealing off the entire area, so the parents can feel safe and comfortable enough to continue with their feeding until it is ready to finally take to the skies!

Photography is not always about getting the shot and the safety and welfare of the wildlife we are so eager to capture must always take precedence.

This is a prime example of learning to conduct ourselves in an ethical and responsible manner.

Let's just hope people respect this decision and put their self interests aside for the sake of this beautiful bald eagle family!!! 

Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Bald Eagle Family of Milpitas, California!

A pair of bald eagles have been nesting the past couple of years in a redwood tree located on the ground of an elementary school in Milpitas, California.  The news has been drawing both birders and photographers en masse!

Last year was the first time I visited and the parents successfully raised one chick. This year, they have managed to produce and raise two which are now close to fledging.  It is the first time I have visited this year and I am excited to potentially see these amazing birds take their first flight!

Here is a short clip I took of the siblings in the nest. Watch their behavior as a gull passes by!

Juvenile Bald Eagles - Milpitas, California 2018 from Jacqueline Deely on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

UnCruise Adventures "Alaska's Whales & Glaciers" Highlights!

Just back from an amazing week in Alaska as Photography Theme Host with UnCruise Adventures. Based out of Seattle, WA, this company holds ties to my past as the owners, Captain Dan Blanchard and Tim Jacox were former executives with Cruise West where I too worked in the late nineties. Cruise West eventually closed it's doors, but in 1996 Dan and Tim had embarked on their own small ship enterprise creating what eventually became UnCruise Adventures.

Our journey began in Juneau's bustling port, jam packed with cruise ships both large and small and an endless stream of float planes transporting eager tourists to destinations unknown.  Since Dan spends most of his time living in Juneau, guests embarking on our trip were treated to one of his enthusiastic talks about Alaska and the journey we were about to undertake. He also personally greeted each and every guest as we boarded the ship, something I have not experienced with any other company and a really nice touch.

Highlights of the trip for me were...

The fjords and waterfalls of Tracy Arm. Although we had a rainy day, it did not spoil the magic and beauty of this area.  In fact, I think I preferred it this way!  We enjoyed kayaking and skiff tours to the face of the glacier, harbor seals hauled out on the ice and jaw dropping scenery.

A large school of dall's porpoises following and playing alongside the ship late in the evening. The excitement of seeing humpback whales in Frederick Sound, including one that surfaced very close to the ship generating lots of oohs and aahs!

Visiting the Tlingit community and artisans in Kake. Learning about their history, culture and traditions including demonstrations in basket weaving and carving techniques used on totem poles.

The beautiful and at times comical children of Kake who performed for us and an invitation to participate in a Tlingit communal dance. A unique memory and experience to treasure!

Maneuvering around stunning blue icebergs adrift in the ice sculpture garden of Le Conte Glacier.  Witnessing their transformation before our very eyes, as they seemed to take on a life of their own, rotating and rolling, crackling and popping, releasing centuries old oxygen bubbles!

Waking up in pristine coves with incredible views right outside my cabin door!!! Sunrise at this time of year in Alaska is EARLY and it was already light at 4:00am!  For me, this was the absolute best time of day to completely immerse oneself in the absolute quiet, stillness and stunning beauty of the Alaskan wilderness. It was also the best time to see and photograph glass like reflections such as this.

At 6:30am each morning, there was also the opportunity to participate in a yoga session out on deck.  What an amazing setting in which to stretch, meditate and prepare for the exciting day ahead!

With the long days of summer, sunsets were late, around 10:00pm, but well worth waiting up for with scenes such as this in Thomas Bay.

Other highlights included kayaking in pristine, turquoise waters and bushwhacking our way through wild terrain! We also saw lots of bald eagles and bears!

Additional options for guests throughout the week included paddle boarding and hikes/walks on marked trails. And for those a little more daring, a polar plunge!

Our journey ended in the beautiful city of Sitka with Mount Edgecume as a backdrop and I only wish I had more time to spend here.  Next time I hope!

What makes these small ship cruises so special is the ability to get to know everyone on board and I truly enjoyed meeting both young and old from around the globe. Last but not least, the staff and crew of the Safari Endeavour was absolutely wonderful and I thank them all for their excellent service and support!

You can find more images from my adventure in my Alaska gallery.  Here is a short video I put together from some iPhone footage I took throughout the trip.

UnCruise Adventures "Alaska's Glaciers & Whales" - May 2018 from Jacqueline Deely on Vimeo.

To learn more about UnCruise Adventures, their wide range of Alaska itineraries and other amazing destinations, VISIT HERE! 

Saturday, March 24, 2018

The Brandt's Cormorants of Santa Cruz

Every year, Brandt's Cormorants nest along a rocky portion of the cliffs at Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz, California and I love to visit not only to photograph, but to simply watch them go about their lives, building nests and raising their young.  This area is maintained by local conservation groups who remove the invasive ice plant, allowing enough space for the birds to build their annual rookery.

Yesterday I dropped by and they are busy preparing for a new batch of babies, mating and gathering nesting material.  Males were displaying their beautiful, blue iridescent necks, an area called a "gular pouch", while females were arranging the nest and bickering with their neighbors.

Many people walk or jog on by this spot without noticing the activity below. I did have one young lady visiting from the east coast stop to ask me what kind of birds they were and I got into a really nice conversation with her.  I told her a little about the birds and their behavior and she was looking forward to telling her mother who is an avid birder.  This is one of the aspects I enjoy of wildlife photography.  Sharing our love and knowledge of the wildlife we photograph and hopefully inspiring others to get more involved in the natural world around them.

Here is a short clip I took yesterday.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Saving the Albatross

I came across this heart wrenching video clip while conducting an on-line search for information pertaining to saving the albatross. I have been blessed in my travels to have seen both the beautiful Black-browed Albatross with their amazing eyes and the Wandering Albatross, with the largest wingspan of any bird on the planet! Seeing them wild and free as they effortlessly soar over the oceans is a sight to behold and the idea of them suffering due to our complete disregard for the planet makes me both sad and angry.

Both of these spectacular birds along with the many other species of albatross are in dire danger due commercial long line fishing techniques whereby they get caught up in or ingest the hooks and ultimately drown. But even more sickening to me is and the amount of plastic and garbage dumped into our oceans which they consume and ultimately die a long, slow, painful death. This applies to both adult albatross and their young. It brought tears to my eyes and an absolute feeling of helplessness and shame as I too am a consumer of plastic goods. It is definitely something to think about as far as how we go about our daily lives, from the items we purchase to how we depose of our waste.

If you would like to learn more and help in a variety of ways, visit here: