My Best Wildlife Photos of 2019

It’s been a great year for wildlife for us.  We have seen a wide and varied collection of birds, waterfowl and big beasts – including our first ever mountain lion.

Below are those I consider my best of the year….

1.  Sandhill cranes, Whitewater Drawsandhill hills_IR.jpg

2.  Deer in falling snow_40A7919_IR.jpg

3.  Bobcat, Lake MaryBob Lake_IR.jpg

4. Hawk stare _40A3440_IR.jpg

5.  Pygmy Owl PygmyEyes_IR.jpg

6. Sea OttersSea Paws_IR.jpg

7. Blue Heron Wide Eyed Blue_IR.jpg

8.  Monarch Butterflies B Comming In_IR.jpg

9.  Big Horn Sheep Ram Portrait_IR.jpg

10. Baby antelope runIMG_0440_IR.jpg

AND the number 1 top photo of the year, despite the fact that is isn’t the most technically perfect shot (would have better if he was coming toward me) is, solely for the thrill of it:

11.  Our first mountain lion

MountainLion Leap_pano_IR.jpg

We saw fox and javelina, elk and deer, eagles and turkey, but these were the ones that excited me for one reason or another – and sometimes not just for their expression or technical merits.  Sometimes a shot can just emote an emotion or a feeling that brings us back to it.  Maybe it was the place or the experience, but anything that keeps us coming back is worthy of a nod.

Check out my best landscapes here… https://kritterspix.com/2020/01/09/my-best-landscape-photos-of-2019/

Monarchs

MorroRockFog_IR.jpgLife is short – see and do those things that are important to you.

MonarchApproach_IR.jpg

I have always wanted to see the Monarch butterfly migration, ever since my friend Gary told us about it when he was down in Mexico years ago.  I don’t want to go to Mexico to see it, so we did the next best thing and headed to the coast of California.

B Comming In_IR.jpg

Of course, we headed to Paso Robles first to pick up some wine for the trip.  Just 2-1/2 hours south of San Jose, and a half hour from Morro Bay, we spent a couple days tasting great wines and buying some to enjoy on our trip down the coast.

Butterfly Bridge_IR.jpg

While we were amazed to see the eucalyptus trees dripping with butterflies, we were disgusted to realize that they are indeed a dying breed.  What used to be millions of butterflies, has dwindled to only 4,000 to visit Pismo Beach alone, and it lessens each year.

SoleB_IR.jpg

The milkweed the butterflies like to eat and lay eggs in are dying off, as are the eucalyptus trees they shelter in.  Trees have blown down, washed away, or burned up and the monarchs don’t come anymore.  Areas from Morro Bay to Santa Barbara are now devoid of the annual migrations.

aloesunset_IR.jpg

Such a pity, as the monarch is such an amazing story of triumph and resilience.  The monarch butterfly only lives 2 months… a month of which it becomes a caterpillar, then morphs to a butterfly when it is focused on eating and laying eggs for a new generation.

Pismo StatePark_IR.jpg

It takes 5 generations for the butterflies to fly from southern CA to British Columbia… and then 1 generation to coast back, and start all over again.

sunsetsand_IR.jpg

I’m glad we were able to see the monarch migration.  It enriched our life for witnessing natures beauty.  Take time out to do those things that are important to you.

Cold Bleu_IR.jpg