Road Trip - Take a Ride to the Seaside

September 09, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Indeed, the wonderful Emmylou Harris version of One Big Love was part of the soundtrack for a jaunt to the Santa Cruz coastline for a day trip with a good friend.
 

I asked that we pull over specifically because I loved the look of these two trees easily visible from Hwy 1 while passing through Ano Nuevo State Park.
 

Trees - Ano Nuevo State Park, Santa Cruz CoastTrees - Ano Nuevo State Park, Santa Cruz Coast
 

I thought I'd try my hand at an action shot - it's safe to say the waves were not monsters that morning.

Surfer - Santa Cruz CoastSurfer - Santa Cruz Coast

This seagull was doing cute gull things.
 

Gull on Santa Cruz BeachGull on Santa Cruz Beach
 


Backroads Are Great

April 23, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

A couple of weeks ago, I had to go to Fresno for one of those annual checkups that aren't much fun - not awful just, you'd rather not have to. Anyway, I decided I would take a back road home and I tossed my camera bag in the truck in hopes there might be something interesting to see.
 

California Farmland - Storm on the WayCalifornia Farmland - Storm on the Way
 

I really am fascinated by some of the agricultural buildings - I never know what they are for and there is never anyone there to ask.
 

Farm BuildingFarm Building
 

I also ran into two curious bovines for the cattle series.
 

Curious Cows IVCurious Cows IVThe story behind these cows (and isn't it nice they have their horns) is that I had stopped on a back road to take a picture of some neat farmland that was ready to be planted. In the field was the cutest little baby burro and his Mom and I took some minutes to say hi and give scratches. After a bit, I looked up to see that our interaction was an interesting one, according to these bovines.
 


 


UC Merced Vernal Pools Preserve

February 25, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

A couple of weeks ago we went with our local Audubon group which sponsored a really interesting field trip today to a fascinating area of Central California - the vernal pools and open grassland area around the UC campus. This is an area where seasonal wetlands/pools form on a clay pan terrain and is home to a number of unusual and endangered critters including fairy shrimp. (We indeed saw some!)
 

Since it was Audubon, of course we saw lots of great birds also, including bald eagles, a prairie falcon, and some of the group saw a Peregrine Falcon, which we weren't lucky enough to spot.

The preserve maintains a herd (herds perhaps) of dairy cattle who are "prettier" than the beef cattle around our place, but are spooky and silly things that hopped around in consternation when our group drove by.

Dairy Cow on UC Merced Vernal Pools PreserveDairy Cow on UC Merced Vernal Pools Preserve

This is a vista view of the landscape with one of the several windmills still in operation.

Windmill UC Merced Vernal Pools PreserveWindmill UC Merced Vernal Pools Preserve
 


 


 


 


 


 


Great Egret

February 11, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Last weekend after a visit to my parents, we decided to take a side trip to the Las Gallinas sanitation district in San Rafael - well, actually it's the sewage treatment plant.  Once the water is treated it's pumped into storage "ponds", which are heavily utilized by water birds of many varieties.  We had a lovely morning looking at all the ducks, geese and various waders.  This Great Egret in particular was more than cooperative with my photography plan.
 

Great EgretGreat Egret
 


Road Trip: Bonita Springs, Florida

February 10, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

This trip was to attend a conference.  The only other time I'd set foot in Florida was just that:  my family was visiting Alabama, we got to the state line and stood one foot in Florida, the other in Alabama.  I dunno, that probably doesn't count.  Anyway, I spent most of my time actually cooped up inside doing my best to get the most out of the training and info sessions, but I did have the opportunity to take walks during one lunchtime and also in the post-session/banquet interlude.  Surprisingly, once I'd gotten not too far from the hotel grounds, I found some interesting "nature" areas that hadn't been overly groomed.  I watched a pair of Ospreys sitting in a nest tree and also a Northern Harrier hunting.
 

The area around a boat launch into Estero Bay:
 

Boat Launch Area Estero BayBoat Launch Area Estero Bay
 

An interesting tree, that a friend characterized as a Dr. Seuss tree:
 

Tree in Bonita SpringsTree in Bonita SpringsWhen a friend saw this picture, she thought it looked like a Dr. Seuss tree.
 

And, a fun shot after I got back to the hotel.  I flopped down to ground level to take this pic of a big fountain:
 

Fountain At Hyatt Regency Bonita Springs FloridaFountain At Hyatt Regency Bonita Springs FloridaWhile visiting for a conference, I could not resist getting down on my tummy to take a near-water level shot