Birding Paved Pasadena

Compared to the lush green gorges and woods full of singing warblers I had out in Ithaca, NY while I was at Cornell University, Pasadena is, well, a suburban paved metropolis of shopping and fine dining. But it’s still possible to find little nooks of nature, with plenty of birds flitting about between the shrub oaks. Yesterday I went out to Eaton Canyon, which is about a 10 min drive from my apartment. It certainly doesn’t embody the wilderness I’ve become accustomed to over the summer, but it’s better than nothing! Among the common residents were Acorn Woodpeckers, chattering like a cross between a rooster and a parrot. At home in the California Bay Area I could never get close to these guys, so I was happy this one decided to relax on his favorite tree stump.


“Acorn Woodpecker” ~ Eaton Canyon, LA area, CA
The Tech: Canon 20D, 500mm L f/4 IS + 1.4x teleconverter, monopod
Exposure: iso 1600, f/5.6, 1/250th

As the sun started to set, sending its rays through the layers of LA smog, a lovely orange glow lit up the San Gabriel Mountains. And hovering about some small shrubs was a female Anna’s Hummingbird. In fact, there were a lot around, which makes me happy – since hummingbirds happen to be my favorite birds! Anyhow, she decided to land on a sensually graceful naked twig, right in front of those tangerine hillsides.


“Anna’s Hummingbird” ~ Eaton Canyon, LA area, CA
The Tech: Canon 20D, 500mm L f/4 IS + 1.4x teleconverter, monopod
Exposure: iso 1600, f/5.6, 1/200th

In addition to having a few golden wildlife sanctuaries around, Pasadena is relatively close to a number of exciting locations including the Sierras, Southern California Deserts, Utah and Arizona. So hopefully I’ll still have some time to head out on occasional weekends despite my graduate courses and research at Caltech.

Also, I’ve made some pretty big changes to the layout of my website in hopes of making it easier to navigate, including a keyword search. I’m still working on some parts, but everything is functional – let me know what you think! I’ve also started to upload images from this summer. While scouring through the 150 Gigabytes of data I collected this summer, I’m occasionally running into some I never shared before – so be sure to check out my galleries! Here’s two from early on this summer that I skipped over.


“Dogwoods among Sequoias” ~ Sequoia National Park
The Tech: Canon 5D, 24-105mm @ 80mm, polarizer, tripod
Exposure: iso 100, f/16, 0.8 sec


“Rhodies among Redwoods” ~ Redwood National Park
The Tech: Canon 5D, 24-105mm @ 32mm, polarizer, tripod
Exposure: iso 200, f/14, 13 sec

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3 Responses to Birding Paved Pasadena

  1. Ariel Bravy says:

    Hey Floris, your photography is consistently magical. Have you considered putting together a book of your work?

  2. florisvb says:

    Thanks Ariel! Some day… some day… actually, there is an idea floating around between me and a biology professor at Cornell šŸ™‚

  3. Ed Wilson says:

    When I was a youth and spent many days in Eaton Canyon. It was posted and gated closed to the public in those days. You mentioned “some day going beyond the 40 foot waterfall” I have climbed it on its right side, but there use to be an easier way into the upper part of the canyon. On the Henninger Flat side of the canyon, about 200 yds. below the waterfall, there use to be a short trail that popped over a spur ridge and gain access to the upper Eaton Canyon. Oh! The 40 foot waterfall is the only real waterfall in the canyon, but there are many short scrables. Warning: If one gets hurt in the upper canyon, it will be hard for SAR teams to get you out.

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