The Bay Area is teeming with wildlife, not just in the rugged wilderness of Mount Diablo and Big Basin, but in the parks and open spaces that dot our urban and suburban landscapes. You’re guaranteed to see wild creatures at places like Año Nuevo, where gargantuan elephant seals famously loll about on the sand, and the Sunol Regional Wilderness, where raptors of every feather fly overhead.
Unexpected treasures, however, await if you have a good eye and the patience to wait, as our Bay Area News Group photographers show in this stunning array of images.
“Often it also takes a bit of luck and good timing,” staff photographer Jane Tyska said about spending a day at the Foothills Nature Preserve in the Palo Alto hills in hopes of capturing a photo of one of the preserve’s elusive mountain lions. Her wait was rewarded with a coyote sighting instead, and she also “lucked” into seeing another coyote — near San Francisco’s Coit Tower, where the animal’s presence was unexpected.
Karl Mondon agreed on the time one has to devote when photographing the artistry in nature. He grew up near Golden Gate Park’s Lloyd Lake, so he swings by when he can to check out the birding scene. “Sometimes you go for days without a glimpse,” he said. “Other times they just won’t stop smiling for the camera.”
Jose Carlos Fajardo has had luck staking out spots like Indian Creek in the Shell Ridge Open Space during the rainy season — toads abound — and even the manmade lake at the suburban Heather Farm Park in Walnut Creek.
Wherever there’s water, there’s wildlife.
The image by Ray Chavez of flocks of pelicans feasting at Lake Merritt in Oakland — an unusual sight — occurred on a day when he stopped by to get photos of runners, bikers and hikers. “Took too many photos until I saw this white pelican surrounded by the brown pelicans, plus the nice sunlight dropping in it. Made a beautiful picture.
“After I took those photos, the pelicans left.”
A moment in time.