Shasta Valley Wildlife Refuge

2013dsc_4163The Shasta Valley Wildlife Refuge is located in between Montague, CA and the Shasta Valley.   I usually go out to this refuge for the fly fishing on Trout Lake and Bass Lake.    I’ve seen pheasants here before but didn’t see any this day.

I was using my D7000 with my Nikon 300mm F/4 lens.  I had the iso set between 250 and 400.  I shot in aperture exposure mode with the aperture set to f/4 to get as much light into the lens as possible and to help the camera focus as quick as possible.  This allowed the shutter speed to vary between 1/1000th and 1/4000th.

After taking pictures I came home and with a bird guild put out by the Department of Fish and Game on the birds likely to see at this refuge I was able to identify most of the birds I was able to capture on “film”.

There were 3 different types of raptors the largest being the red-tailed hawk, then the Northern Harrier, and what I at first thought was a Peregrine falcon is actually an american kestril.   A small colorful raptor I at first mistook for a song bird of some type.

Red-tailed Hawk…


The American Kestril….


The Northern Harrier…


The Western Meadowlark…


The Red Winged Blackbird…


There were other birds like the black-billed magpie and some sparrows and finches.  The lakes had the usual water fowl for this are the american coot and mallard ducks.

I found an excellent spot to take a reflection photograph of Mt. Shasta in the future.  This day it was slightly windy so the water had a mild chop to it degrading the reflected image.

Overall this wildlife refuge has some beautiful scenery.  I wasn’t familiar with where the birds would be so I spent a lot of time walking around looking for them.  As always I found it was more about being in the right place at the right time.  I was taking photographs of the red-tailed hawk in the top of the tree when I just happened to turn around at the right time to get an awesome series of photographs as a raptor flew in front of Mt. Shasta.


Here are the rest of the photographs from the other day.  Please enjoy and as always feel free to comment and critique.

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  1. Nice shots of the northern harrier and the male kestrel. The male kestrel may the most beautiful of the falcons – love the colors. The raptor in front of Shasta is a harrier – it is hunting with its head down. I like the light in #46. Looks like you are enjoying the lens and had a great outing. Thanks for posting.

    • Thanks Tom I am loving the new lens, it has opened up a whole new area of photography. We were at the coast this past weekend and had some opportunity to use the lens on the beach. Still loving the quick focusing and its sharpness. I am anxious to get back out to the reserve to see if I can get more pictures of the kestrel. I need to spend more time out there to learn the area better where he flies and hunts.

    • Yes Mt Shasta with the lenticular clouds on it was looking great. When you see a scene every day you lose the appreciation of how awesome this mountain can be.

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