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Vaux's Swifts


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.

rusty truck rusty truck

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.

sky of vauxs swifts vauxs swifts going into chimney

A merlin, predator bird, attacked the swarm and I heard a thud a couple feet from me.

dead vauxs swift vauxs swifts going into chimney

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.

ari at chimney ari at chimney ari and rick at chimney

arianna (29), bird (8), birds (31), building (7), dead (36), migration (1), night (40), rick (17), vauxs-swifts (1)

Arianna (20), Birds (29), Creatures (75), Dead Stuff (24), Degree (67), Night (12), Old Buildings (4)

Winter Pole Beans

dried pole bean

These photos are from a year ago (I did not plant pole beans this year during the summer of house remodel and moving!). I love the look of dried plants in the winter, after they have served their time, spent their last energy, grown their seeds, and retired to leave the next steps to the fate of their offspring. These "Cherokee Trail of Tears" purple pole beans were grown from seeds I saved the year before, from plants grown from seeds I saved the year before that, and I hope these plant's seeds will still be viable for this coming year.

dried pole bean

beans (2), degree (24), garden (29), macro (11), seeds (4), vines (6), winter (1)

Dead Stuff (24), Degree (67), Garden (5)


broken blue bottle

It can be sad when something beautiful or functional gets broken. In that moment of grief or acknowledgment that it's to be thrown away, I try to remember to capture the beauty of it in the moment, before it get's discarded, to immortalize it.

broken blue bottle broken blue bottle broken blue bottle broken blue bottle

blue (3), bottle (3), broken (2), dead (36), death (13), glass (3)

Dead Stuff (24)

Dead Baby Coyote

dead baby coyote in potter valley dead baby coyote in potter valley dead baby coyote in potter valley

coyote (1), dead (36), macro (11), potter-valley (65)

Dead Stuff (24)

Birds Fall From the Sky

another grey bird

Birds fly into the windows at my parent's house.

birds (31), dead (36), potter-valley (65), rain (9)

Dead Stuff (24)

Rain Bird

grey bird

birds (31), dead (36), potter-valley (65), rain (9)

Dead Stuff (24)

Yellow Bird Sleeping

yellow bird

birds (31), colors (8), dead (36), potter-valley (65)

Dead Stuff (24)

Cicada Skin

cicada skin This is from July, Dow Gardens in Midland.

Creatures (75), Dead Stuff (24)

Dead Bee

dead bee

Dead Stuff (24)


ribcage For Vimanaboy.

Dead Stuff (24)


centipede and ant I found this dead centipede on the floor, put it on the counter and went to get my camera. When I got back this large black ant had completely disassembled it's body. The ant took a hold of the centipede's head and ran under the microwave.

Dead Stuff (24)

Fly Trap

dead flies

Dead Stuff (24)

Dried Frog

dried frog

California Summer 2004 (45), Dead Stuff (24)

Dead Starling

dead bird

Dead Stuff (24)

Partly Eaten by Ants

dead bug

Dead Stuff (24)

Mackinac Bridge from Burger King

mackinac bridge I didn't do this, but felt sad for a second seagull who flew around this one, like he was wondering why his buddy wasn't getting back up :(

ThemeThursday April 22, 2004 theme: Oops

Bridges (7), Dead Stuff (24)


Found another large beetle while raking leaves. This one looks like a scarab.

beetle (1), fall (2), insect (32), leaves (8), michigan (41), rake (2), upper-penninsula (17)

Creatures (75), Dead Stuff (24), Winter Approaches (5)


Theme Thursday challenge: grey

barracks (1), creatures (53), dead (36), death (13), grey (1), rat (1)

Dead Stuff (24), The Barracks (1), Theme Thursday (9)


butterfly (4), car (21), dead (36), death (13), insect (32), nebraska (3), road-trip (27), travel (12)

Dead Stuff (24), Eastward (4)


dead (36), death (13), farm (19), meat (2), organs (2), sheep (3)

Dead Stuff (24)


Photofriday challenge: aged

bird (8), creatures (53), dead (36), death (13), photofriday (20)

Dead Stuff (24), Photofriday (26)


creatures (53), dead (36), death (13), frog (1)

Dead Stuff (24)

Broken Beetle

creatures (53), dead (36), death (13), insect (32), leaves (8)

Creatures (75), Dead Stuff (24)


Top is a single testicle from a lamb. The lamb was neutered several months ago, but this one testicle must have slipped inside and survived, but stayed small. It was found when the lamb was slaughtered. Bottom image is the lamb's heart.

creatures (53), death (13), lamb (1), meat (2), organs (2), sheep (3), testicle (1)

Dead Stuff (24)

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