Images of California

The coastal mountains from San Jose south to Santa Barbara are filled with beauty.

Acorn Woodpecker

Several Acorn Woodpeckers on a dead limb in Big Basin State Park.

Parkfield, September, 2002

Parkfield Watertower

Parkfield is a location where geologists are studying earthquakes, with the hope of learning to predict when they happen. Parkfield was chosen because, until they started the study in the late 1960's, there was a regular moderate earthquake every 22 years. There hasn't been an earthquake there since they started the study.

Update: They had an earthquake in 2004.

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

This was a big snake by the side of the road.
Still Going Away

He moved fairly quickly. I am glad he was going away from me and not towards me!

Panoche Road Trip, January, 2003


A roadrunner near Panoche Road.
Turtle Dove

A turtle dove, seen in an orchard.
Ferruginous Hawk

A ferruginous hawk, on a telephone pole.
Long-eared Owl

A long-eared owl, hidden in some dense growth.

California Condor Release, December, 2003

California Condors

Three condors in the enclosure prior to release.

Inland, March, 2004

White-headed Woodpecker

A White-headed Woodpecker at Pinnacles
Wild Turkey

This wild turkey was displaying near CA-25.

Carrizo Plain National Monument, December, 2008

Carrizo Plains

The Carrizo Plain was named a National Monument by President Clinton in January, 2001, to preserbe the unique ecosystem. Carrizo is located near the southern end of the coastal mountains, between the Temblor Range and the Caliente Range. The highlights are the Soda Lake, a dried lakebed, Painted Rock, and Wallace Creek. The San Andreas Fault runs along the northeastern edge at the bast of the Temblor Range, and provides some interesting results.

These two pictures show the expanse of grassland in the Carrizo Plain, looking north and east from the parking lot for the Painted Rock trail, across the plains towards the Soda Lake and Temblor Range.

The Painted Rock

The Painted Rock is reputed to have mystical signifigance for the native Americans who inhabited the Carrizo Plain before the arrival of Europeans.
Open Space

These next three pictures show the view across the plain to the Temblor Range. In the second, we have another rock in the foreground. This rock, and Painted Rock, are at the base of the Caliente Range.
The Painted Rock

The Painted Rock stands out in a plain of grass. It gets fairly weather-beaten.

If you look closely, you can see some whitewash. This suggests that this hole in the rock may have been used as a perch for a raptor looking to feed, or maybe even a nest. Identifying these whitewashes is a good trick for finding perched raptors, whether on cliffs, or on the Golden Gate Bridge.
View from the Rock

Another look across the plain. There aren't any looks across the plain to the Caliente Range because of the lighting.
The Rock

Another image of the rock.
View from Inside the Rock

There was a hollow inside the rock, from which we can look out towards the Soda Lake.

The native Americans painted petroglyphs in the rocks.
A Crow's Nest

A crow nested here.
Wallace Creek

On the far side of the plain is Wallace Creek. This creek crosses the San Andreas Fault, resulting in a break. The first picture, taken from the Pacific Plate, looks up towards the source of the creek (currently dry.) It looks unremarkable. The second picture is taken from a point on the San Andreas Fault, looking northwest. When the creek reaches the fault, it is immediately turned to the northwest and follows the fault for approximately 150 feet, and then it makes a second 90 degree break to the southwest. About 6000 years ago, Wallace Creek was straight across the fault, but successive earthquakes and other slippage has resulted in these right angles. The third picture, taken from the North American Plate, shows the angles more clearly.

Panoche Road, February 8, 2009

Prairie Falcon

This prairie falcon, perched on a power pole, came as a mild surprise... And stuck around for a few piictures.

Long-eared Owl

There were several long-eared owls at Mercey Hot Springs. Well into the trees, photography was difficult, but not impossible.

April 24, 2010

Canyon Near Parkfield

These are the sides of a canyon carved by a small creek just north of Parkfield. The San Andreas Fault is underneath.
Diamondback Rattlesnake

A young western diamondback rattlesnake, coiled on the pavement. It looked like a stick from the distance, but most sticks don't move and aren't venomous.
James Dean Memorial

The James Dean Memorial near Cholame.

Pinnacles, April 28, 2012

California Condor

One of the most amazing stories of man and nature is the recovery of the California Condor.


A goldfinch came by.
Western Fence Lizard

A very small fence lizard.

Camera Experiment, June 7, 2014

San Andreas Fault

Three images of the San Andreas Fault using my new camera, a D800E, just for tewting.

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All images are © Copyright 1993-2014 James C. Armstrong, Jr.