In May last year I joined the docents of Laguna de Santa Rosa for a walk around the Delta Pond nesting colony. The walks begin early on a spring Saturday morning with a hike out to Santa Rosa's Delta Pond on the edge of the Laguna. With the hike circling a path between the waste-water storage pond and the laguna, and with several scopes set up directed at nests in the trees, we witnessed many types of birds including a bald eagle, dozens of double-crested cormorants, great egrets, red-tailed hawk, and great blue heron.
Common merganser ducks
Nesting double-crested cormorants and great blue heron
Great blue heron
It's so fun to think that some of the willows I planted a few years ago may some day become nesting habitat.
In September, 2012, Rick surprised me on a date by taking me to Rio Lindo Adventist Academy in Healdsburg to witness a natural phenomenon. We arrived before dusk and found the building of focus. A dozen or two people were already gathering, some with folding chairs and snacks. Rick didn't tell me what was about to happen, just that an old brick building with a large chimney was to be the focal point. We explored the back of the building, the south-west corner, where there were no other spectators. I'm an avoider of crowds, but also am drawn to sunlight facing lighting when I have a camera in hand. We noticed that there was a large ravine behind the school, between the hills, and that the billions of flying insects that filled the air were very visible in the setting sunlight.
We also found an old rusty truck among the weeds while we waited for the sun to sink lower.
A few small swifts appeared, and suddenly hundreds. After a few minutes the air began to fill with thousands of the birds, swirling and vortexing through the sky.
A merlin, predator bird, attacked the swarm and I heard a thud a couple feet from me.
After the last bird was tucked away in the chimney, Rick and I explored closer to find out if we could hear them inside, though we couldn't. Everyone else had left and we were alone in the dark, knowing that the chimney behind us contained ten's of thousands of vaux's swifts.
Tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) nesting at my parents' house.
It's been a busy spring for me, beginning a house remodel project with a rushed timeline. I've taken many photos (of the remodel project, as well as other adventures) that I have not had time to sort, edit, and post, as nesting has been a priority.
Wild garlic (Allium triquetrum) flowers
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) flowers
Arugula (Eruca sativa) flower
Grape hyacinth (Muscari)
Within the past few days, hundreds or thousands of these Boxelder Bugs (Boisea trivittata) have suddenly gathered in my backyard. I tried to get the chickens to eat them, but they turned up their beaks to the crunchy critters. Today we noticed the bugs are covering the south facing walls of our house with eggs.
Reading up on them, I'm not too worried about them messing up my garden since they are pretty specialized in their diets, preferring boxelder trees, though they could do damage to my apples, pears, or plums later on.
Our casita was right on the beach and so we took advantage of that every moment we could (while not away sightseeing or cooking in the fully equipped bungalow kitchen), and snorkeled, swam, played with fish, read in hammocks, walked on the beach, and watched the pelicans fishing.
Kayaks and snorkels for our use.
About as graceful as a pelican's dive.
The pelicans liked to hang out with Rick while he swam.
Our slice of beautiful bay. That's Rick and a pelican out there. That green stuff under the water, sea grass, was full of fish and other bay life.
A male and female pair seemed to share the beach and fish with us.
They made a funny splash diving for fish.
Reading a good book. Kicking back in hammocks under our beach palapa.
Nuestra casita. Being on our own private beach was so incredible.
Giant hermit crab lived in a hole by the back door.
There were cute geckos inside the bungalow and out. I chased this one around the trunk of one of the many coconut trees around the patio.
I think this was an osprey flying over our beach.
Flock of egrets....
...and a flock of little sand piper birds.
The white sand was made of tiny shell and coral particles.
Chile, one of the two resident dotsons.
Sunrise on our last morning.
Wildlife along the rough dirt road out to our bungalow on Soliman Bay.
A few inches from my back door, built on top of a light, is this red-breasted Robin's nest. Too high for me to see inside, even when standing on a chair, I used the camera as a periscope trick: held my camera up above it and snapped photos, which I could then preview on my camera. I checked on them every few days or so.
Ever since I first moved from out from my parents I see egrets each time I move. I saw so many along the freeway on that first move to San Francisco that they are ingrained in my mind as a symbol of transition. I saw this one along the road in Potter Valley as I moved my stuff to my parent's house for my temporary home.
The Great Egret, the white form of the Great Blue Heron, is the symbol of the National Audubon Society.
Theme Thursday theme: animal
I don't know if these are some type of chicken or peacock, but they can often be seen crossing the road here.
10/07 While walking around downtown Cheyenne, Wyoming.
(The Westward series was taken while driving from Michigan to California in October. I'm going to post them three at a time, in no particular order and will try to mention if I remember what state it was taken in. The majority of these photos were snapped while driving 80 miles per hour on interstate 80 so will be blurry, have dirt specks or water droplets from the day it rained, or have a slightly-tinted-car-window look. Don't worry, I rarely shoot while at the wheel, so most likely, they were taken while Donovan was driving, after I had done my share for the day.)
I've been trying to get a clear photo of a crow for weeks. Recently they have been more active, and yesterday they were flying back and forth through the back yard. Each time they went by in one direction they had a huge piece of something in their beaks. I wondered what they were stealing from the neighbors. This is one of them stopping in the tree by my window, on his way to pick up another load.
Little Asian quail in the greenhouse at Dow Gardens, Midland, MI.
My collection of stollen 76 balls become duck toys.
Vulture, I think.
From hike in Bohemian Grove, Forestville 04/19/2003
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