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Mum and Pup Sea Otters (Enhydra lutris)

It is always great to photograph these, the smallest of marine mammals, as they just look so cute and cuddly. We had seen them on our visit to Alaska where they were “rafted up” in their hundreds.  But this Mum and Pup we spotted while on a cruise with Archipelago Cruises out of Ucluelet on Vancouver Island.

As would be common along the western seaboard they are floating in a kelp bed.  The sequence of shots shows that Mum was holding on to the Pups foot probably for safety.

Sea Otters (Enhydra lutris)

Mum holding on to Pup’s rear foot.

Sea Otters (Enhydra lutris)

Mum holding on to Pup’s rear foot.

Then, although the Pup isn’t small anymore (not short of fully grown by the looks of it) she hauls junior up onto her belly by pulling him up there by his foot / rear leg.

Sea Otters (Enhydra lutris)

Mum pulls Pup onto her belly by rear foot.

Sea Otters (Enhydra lutris)

Mum holds Pup securely while getting into position.

Once the position is achieved, both look happy and relaxed.

Sea Otters (Enhydra lutris)

Pup safely on Mum.

 Sea Otters (Enhydra lutris)

Pup snuggles down on Mum safe and sound.

I look forward to more encounters with these charming little marine mammals.

We have to thank Al and Toddy of Archipelago Cruises for such an excellent day – couldn’t have done it without them.  This cruise alone was worth the visit to The Island.

To acquire one of the images for wallpaper, or as a print, or for licensed use, simply click on the image and you will be directed to the sales page.

Gear: Nikon D4s, Nikkor 80.0-400.0mm f/4.5-5.6 VRIII, Nikkor TC-14 EII, Lexar Digital Film, Archipelego Cruise’s 53′ Canoe Cove Motor Yacht

Eared Grebes (Podiceps nigricollis) and their Young

Earlier this year was my first encounter with Eared Grebes (Podiceps nigricollis) at Mono Lake in the Californian Eastern Sierras.  They were just arriving and the guide books said that there would be so many that you could walk on them to the other side of the lake!

Adult Eared Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis) Mono Lake, CA

However, when visiting Saskatoon Lake Provincial Park in Alberta it was great to see many adults with their young.  The young were of mixed ages: some were still riding on the parents backs; some were being shown how to feed themselves and the occasional few were diving for themselves.  However, the primary activity on the lake was feeding the young.

Eared Grebe (Pociceps nigricollis) feeding its young

Eared Grebe (Pociceps nigricollis) feeding its young

Having fed the young the adult usually brings the beak into the body and arches the neck.  Here both the adult and young are doing the ritual.

Eared Grebe (Pociceps nigricollis) feeding its young

Here is an image of a parent “washing” the catch before passing it directly to the beak of the young.

Eared Grebe (Pociceps nigricollis) showing their young how to clean their catch

This little Grebe was learning how to dive, but bringing up its own camouflage.

Young Eared Grebe (Pociceps nigricollis) learning to dive

This little diver had the misfortune to surface by the wrong adult and was consequently chased off!

Eared Grebe (Pociceps nigricollis) chasing off the interloper

Eared Grebe (Pociceps nigricollis) chasing off the interloper

Eared Grebe (Pociceps nigricollis) chasing off the interloper

Adult Eared Grebe (Pociceps nigricollis)

It is always wonderful and fulfilling to see Mother Nature at Work.

To acquire one of the images for wallpaper, or as a print, or for licensed use, simply click on the image and you will be directed to the sales page.

Gear: Nikon D4s, Nikkor 600.0mm F/4 VRII, Nikkor TC-17 EII, RRS TVC-34L Tripod and Full Gimbal Head, Lexar Digital Film

The Result of the Windshield Shade

Click the link to go to the post on our travels blog

Tigger’s Shade.

The Magnashade is incredibly effective, greatly reducing heat from the sun directly through the windscreen and giving full visibility from inside while giving full privacy from the outside.  we would recommend this (with or without and image) to all Class “A” and Class “B” Motorcoach owners.

This Guy Deserves an Award !

While in Yellowstone National Park, I had stopped to work a pair of Trumpeter Swans (Cygnus buccinator) and noticed a group of cars pulled off the road just up the hill – probably bear!

Having finished with the swans, I decided to walk up to the other cars to see what was going on.  As I lifted my camera and tripod a mass of very excited people were heading down to where I was standing.

So I reset my gear and almost immediately spotted a big Grizzly Bear Boar (Ursus arctos) walking in and out of the tree line across the valley.

To visit my Grizzly Bear Gallery Click HERE

To Add one of these images to your collection click on the image.

Grizzly Bear Boar (Ursu arctos) first sighting, Yellowstone National Park

He was on a mission that only he knew, but his leisurely steps belied his real speed.  So having my initial shots I upped and hurried further down the road.  Most of the onlookers thought he was going to appear over the hill which came up to the road.  This would have been much to close for safety, but I was convinced that he was on a mission and would follow the tree line, so I moved further down the road until I could see where the valley re-emerged from behind the close hill.

I did not have to wait long to catch him again.

Grizzly Bear Boar (Ursu arctos) on a mission, Yellowstone National Park

He then came across a big patch of snow blocking his route, but he did not slow at all.

Grizzly Bear Boar (Ursu arctos) crossing snow, Yellowstone National Park

He thought that he caught a smell.  He zig-zagged through the snow, sniffing, but found nothing.  Obviously averse to this cold white stuff he retraced his paw prints and carried on.

Grizzly Bear Boar (Ursu arctos) crossing snow, Yellowstone National Park

Then he came to some shallow water and waded through the marsh.

Grizzly Bear Boar (Ursu arctos) on a mission, Yellowstone National Park

Until it was deep enough to swim and have a little fun.

Grizzly Bear Boar (Ursu arctos) Having Fun, Yellowstone National Park

Grizzly Bear Boar (Ursu arctos) Shaking, Yellowstone National Park

Grizzly Bear Boar (Ursu arctos) Cooling Off, Yellowstone National Park

Then he continued in the water, swimming and strolling, in much less of a hurry.

Grizzly Bear Boar (Ursu arctos) Sniffing, Yellowstone National Park

Grizzly Bear Boar (Ursu arctos) Cooling Off, Yellowstone National Park

Grizzly Bear Boar (Ursu arctos) “Aren’t I Cute?”, Yellowstone National Park

Grizzly Bear Boar (Ursu arctos) Really Cool, Yellowstone National Park

Sitting and raising his rear feet.  Someone behind me said “Oh look he is doing Happy Baby” a yoga pose.

Grizzly Bear Boar (Ursu arctos) Entertaining the crowd, Yellowstone National Park

Grizzly Bear Boar (Ursu arctos) Doing Yoga “Happy Baby”, Yellowstone National Park

Looking at the time of my first and last shots of this guy he kept me entertained for 90 minutes !  That’s why he deserves an award.  The crowd thought it was great and it was a big anticlimax when he moved out of sight.

Gear:  Nikon D4s; Nikkor 600.0mm f/4, Nikkor TC-17 EII, RRS TVC-34L Tripod and Full Gimbal Head; Lexar Digital Film

This Makes a Great Day of Wildlife Photography!

…..for me.

What makes “Great” day in your wildlife photography?  Do tell me.

I really enjoy photographing wildlife.  Moving to Nikon cameras from my old Hasselblad “V” System camera enabled me to get some long glass.  I started with the Nikkor 200.0-400.0mm f/4 lens primarily for birds and warbirds (i.e. anything that flies!), largely inspired by Moose Peterson.

It is nearly 5 years since I acquired the 600.0mm f/4 lens and since then it has been my most used lens of any.  Very much shooting wildlife and predominantly birds.

A good day is being able to do good work with the available species.  A Great day is capturing a new species.  Unlike “birders” who must see the bird through their bins or scope (and I believe a bird can be added to the list by recognizing its call) I need to get a good photograph that is tack sharp in order to add the species to my list.

So far this year I have photographed 24 new species for my list.  Here are images of some of those birds and a full list at the end.  Admittedly I have been in new areas of this continent – South Texas, South Arizona and mid Arizona, but I hope I keep having these great days.

Vemillion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus)

Gray Flycatcher (Empidomax wrightii)

Great Kiskadee (Pitangus sulphuratus)

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus)

Green Jay (Cyanocorax yncas)

Common Pauraque (Nyctidromus albicollis)

Long-billed Thrasher (Toxostome longirostre)

Curved-billed Thrasher (Toxostoma curvirostre)

Forster’s Tern (Sterna forsteri)

Wilson’s Snipe (Gallinago delicate)

Pyrrhuloxia (Cardinalis sinuatus) a.k.a. Desert Cardinal

Eared Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis)

The images of the full list of “New Birds” together with the other non-new birds can be found on www.mothernatureimages.com on March’s New Images and April’s New Images

To acquire any of these images, click on the image, Add to Cart …..

Full List of New Birds

Altimera Oriole (Icterus gularis)

Annas Hummingbird (calypte anna)

Bendire’s Thrasher (Toxostoma bendirei)

Bewick’s Wren (Thryomanes bewickii)

Black-chinned Sparrow (Spizella atrogularis)

Bridled Titmouse (Baeolophus wollweberi)

Canyon Towhee (Melozone fusca)

Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)

Clark’s Nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana)

Common Pauraque (Nyctidromus albicollis)

Curve-billed Thrasher (Toxostoma curvirostre)

Eared Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis)

Forsters Tern (Sterna forsteri)

Gambles Quail (Callipepla gambelii)

Gila Woodpecker (Melanerpes uropygialis)

Golden-fronted Woodpecker (Melanerpes aurifrons)

Gray Flycatcher (Empidonax wrightii)

Great Kiskadee (Pitangus sulphuratus)

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus)

Green Jay (Cyanocorax yncas)

Green-tailed Towhee (Pipilo chlorurus)

Horned Lark (Eromophilia alpestris)

Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris)

Least Grebe (Tachybaptus dominicus)

Long-billed Thrasher (Toxostome longirostre)

Mexican Jay (Aphelocoma wollweberi)

Orange-crowned Warbler (Oreothlypis calata)

Phainopepla (Phainopepla nitens)

Plain Chachalaca (Ortalis vetula)

Pyrrhuloxia (Cardinalis sinuatus)

Rufus-winged Sparrow (Peucaea carpalis)

Sage Thrasher (Oreoscoptes montanus)

Say’s Phoebe (Sayornis saya)

Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana)

Verdin (Auriparus flaviceps)

Wilson’s Snipe (Gallinago delicata)


Chiricahua National Monument, AZ

Laguna Atascosa Wildlife Reserve, TX

Lake Patagonia State Park, AZ

Little Black Mountain Petroglyph Site, AZ

Mono Lake, CA

Montezuma Castle National Monument, AZ

Santa Ana NWR, TX

South Padre Island, TX

Tombstone Area, AZ

Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area, AZ


Nikon D4S, GP-1, Nikkor 600.0mm f/4 VRII, Nikkor TC-17 EII, Nikkor 80.0-400.0mm f/4.5-5.6 VR III, Nikkor TC-14 EII, RRS TVC-34L Tripod, RRS Full Gimbal Head, Lexar Digital Film

The Votes are IN !

The Mountain is Out    4

Mesa Arch                   12

Aspens                          3


Thanks to all that voted.  I must admit that I was hoping to have many more sign up for the blog, but that’s OK.

When we have the shield delivered I will post an image so that you can see how it looks.

There were a lot of “shares” and a few RTs – thank you all.

As promised the names were put into my cowboy hat for each entry….

and Louise picked one out…….


And the winner is …….

Congratulations Colleen – you get to choose which image you would like, from any of the three websites, and in what format – Fine Art Print (colour or B&W images), Canvas (colour only) or High Gloss Aluminum (colour only).

Please just email your selection and it will be done!  Maybe a picture with you next to your finished print once installed? To share?

Warmest Regards to all and special thanks to my assistant.

Help Us Decide and get a Chance to Win One of My Prints

We have ordered a protective shield to go on the windshield of our Motorhome when we are encamped.  We are going to have one of my images printed on the shield – but we are having difficulty choosing.  Thus you can help us.  After agonizing over this problem we have narrowed the choice down to three images…

So how do you get a chance to win one of my prints?

  1. Subscribe to my photography blog www.richardkingphoto.com/blog
  2. Leave a comment on this blog post either: The Mountain is Out, Sunrise Mesa Arch or Aspen Trees in Fall Colour  (1 entry)
  3. Share this blog post on Facebook. (1 entry)
  4. RT this post on Twitter. (1 entry)

The winner will be randomly drawn from a hat (my new Cowboy hat) by Louise on 1st April.  The winner can choose ANY image from my three websites. It does not need to be one of the three selected for our Shield!

I will announce the winner and their choice of print and format once they have decided.


  1. Fine Art print unmounted (Black & White or Colour images) gloss or matte finish 16″ x 20″ or 20″ x 20″ for square images.
  2. Canvas print unmounted, (Colour images only) gloss or lustre finish 16″ x 20″ or 20″ x 20″ for square images.
  3. High Gloss Aluminum, (Colour images only) 16″ x 20″ or 20″ x 20″ for square images.

The Images (in no particular sequence)

The Mountain is Out

Sunrise Mesa Arch

Aspen Trees in Fall Colour

Good Luck.

A Shore Birder’s paradise

I just love watching and shooting shorebirds.  As regular readers know I even travel to Churchill, Manitoba to shoot the shorebirds in their striking breeding plumage.

I have had great fun at Fort DeSoto County Park in Florida – working a Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa) when my spotter (Louise) points out a Long-billed Curlew (Numinous americanus).

Well, you can imagine the thrill of moving out onto the beach at Moro Strand State Beach in California.  Dozens of Long-billed Curlews (Numenicus americanus), dozens of Marbled Godwits (Limosa fedoa), flocks of Royal Terns (Thalasseus maximus), a few Common Terns (Sterna hirundo) among the Royal Terns, many Willets (Tringa semipalmata), the occasional Black-bellied Plover (Pluvialis squatarola), lots of Whimbrels (Numinous Phaeopus) and an Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) flying over!

The beach has a gradual slope, so the tidal difference was magnificent and the tide was very slow to come in.  Providing a lot of opportunities to capture the birds and the water slow draining down the beach – reflections – I cannot resist reflections!!

So Moro Strand State Beach is definitely a birding location that I will return to many times.

These are some of the photographs I made, to see more click on THIS LINK to go to the new image gallery.

Click on an image to go to the gallery for that bird on my Wildlife Portfolio Website.

Black-bellied Plover (Pluvalis squatarola)

Long-billed Curlew (Numenicus americanus) finding lunch.

Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa)

Royal Tern (Thalasseus maximus) fishing

Whimbrel (Numinous phaeopus)

Willet (Tringa semipalmata)

Passing Osprey (Pandion heliaetus)

Gear: Nikon D4s, Nikkor 600.0mm f/4.0 VRII, Nikkor TC-17 EII, Really Right Stuff Tripod and Gimbal Head, Lexar Digital Film.

A Taste of the Old West – A Feast of Black and White

Photographs of Genuine old log cabins and businesses from the Wild West

Click on image to see complete blog post

A recent post on our travel blog about The Old Trail Town in Cody, WY.  For me a feast in black and white photography – going back in time to get the feel of these old, original, cabins, stores, schoolhouse, stables, etc. from the Wild West.  Including Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid’s cabin.

The non-Shorebirds that go to Churchill

My previous blog was about the shorebirds in their gorgeous breeding plumage that make their way to Churchill, Manitoba.  But there are plenty of other types of birds and species that travel all the way to Churchill in order to breed.

Many of these birds also “dress up” in order to attract a mate!  Here are some images of these other categories and species of birds I photographed in Churchill.

It was FANTASTIC to see a King Eider because it should not have been there!  When we informed the birding experts at Parks Canada – they sped down to Cape Merry to add it to their Life List.

King Eider (Somateria spectabilis) – Who Should Be Somewhere Else!

The Common Eider looked quite splendid, but not as impressive as the King Eider!

Common Eider (Somateria mollissima) on an Ice floe

There were three species of Loons.  The Common Loon (which is quite rare in Churchill), the Pacific Loon and the Red-throated Loon.

Pacific Loon (Gavia pacifica) pair showing

Common Loon (Gavia immer) which isn’t common in Churchill

Of course the Arctic Tern, which has the longest migration of any bird – from Antarctica to the Arctic to breed then back again!

Arctic Tern (Sterna paradise) all the way from Antarctica

The American Bittern also comes up to breed.

American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus)

The Horned Grebes looked most impressive in their breeding plumage.

Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus) puffed up a little

There was an abundance of Yellow Warblers, but they just keep jumping around in the grasses, reeds and bushes, making it difficult to shoot one!

Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia) jumping non-stop in the grasses

The Ptarmigan, an upland game bird, is pure white in the winter (perfect Arctic camouflage) but the male is in his breeding plumage and the female expertly camouflaged for the Tundra.

Willow Ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus) male in breeding plumage, nice red combs!

Willow Ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus) female in breeding plumage – perfect camouflage

I managed to photograph the non-shorebirds on the following list:

  1. Gruiformes
    • Sandhill Crane  (Grus canadensis)
  2. Gulls, Terns and Skimmers
    • Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea)
    • Bonaparte’s Gull (Chroicocephia)
    • Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)
    • Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)
    • Sabine’s Gull (Xema sabini)
  3. Icterids
    • Rusty Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus)
  4. Jaegers & Skuas
    • Parasitic Jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus)
  5. Loons
    • Common Loon (Gavia immer)
    • Pacific Loon (Gavia pacifica)
    • Red-throated Loon (Gavia stellata)
  6. Raptors
    • Red-tailed Hawk (Bueto jamaicensis)
  7. Sparrows
    • Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)
    • White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leugophrys)
  8. Swallows
    • Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)
  9. Swans, Ducks and Geese
    • Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator)
    • Tundra Swan (Cygnus columbianus)
    • Canada Goose (Branta canadersis)
    • Snow Goose (Chen caerulescens)
    • Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus)
    • Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata)
    • Black Scoter (Melanitta americana)
    • White-winged Scoter (Melanitta fusca)
    • Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)
    • Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
    • American Wigeon (Anas americana)
    • Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis)
    • Common Eider (Somateria mollissima)
    • King Eider (Somateria spectabilis)
    • Common Goldeneye (Somateria mollissima)
    • Greater Scaup (Aythya marila)
    • Common Merganser (Mergus merganser)
    • Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrated)
    • Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
  10. Upland Game Birds
    • Willow Ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus)
  11. Wading Birds
    • American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus)
  12. Wood-Warblers
    • Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia)

Gear: Nikon D4s; Nikkor 600.0mm f/4 VR II, Nikkor TC-17 EII, RRS Tripod & Gimbal Head, Lexar Digital Film