New York, New York

It’s hard not to fall in love with the gorgeous blue-sky spring weather we’ve had for the last couple of days — but I’m also sorry to say goodbye to those cool, grey days, or the ones with ever-changing gray and white cloud formations keeping the sky interesting and unpredictable. It was on such a gray, overcast mornings that I […]

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Waiting for the bloom

Just when I started to think that winter was over and spring weather had arrived, we had a couple more storms move through our area and drop a fair amount of rain. That’s good news for the vernal pools and the creatures that call them home. It also means that the flowers that burst out from around the pools aren’t […]

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Return to the marsh

It’s been nearly two years since I was able to visit Anderson Marsh at Clear Lake and walk the trails, and my visit last week offered a stark example of how even a slight change in weather patterns affects the plant and animal life in vital habitats like creeks and marshes. It looks like we may be heading back into another drought year — although I’m still remaining hopeful that our latest round of storms will help. On my previous visit, in May 2019, everything was fresh and green. The inlets of Cache Creek were full; I photographed turtles sunning themselves on logs and crawdads scurrying around underwater. This time, I found evidence of a recent prescribed burn and the inlets were parched and bare. I did see a good number of birds as I hiked along — including a pair of Valley Quail foraging along the sides of the dry creek bed.

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Persistence pays off

Long before I bought my current outfit and began trying to photograph birds and other wildlife, I learned from watching nature documentaries that the best photos are usually the product of hours and hours of patient waiting and often hundreds of lousy shots. It’s all too easy to forget that important lesson when you see all the great images shared […]

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Birds and squirrels

I really enjoy hiking alone, but I’m also aware that I need to pay attention to my surroundings and not make assumptions about safety. The places I tend to explore are generally quite safe — but it is the outdoors, and sometimes the unexpected happens. So I’m always alert and cautious about meeting up with potentially aggressive wildlife or humans. […]

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Suburban back trails

I wanted to get out fairly early this morning, so I decided to stick close to home and chose the bluffs near the Nimbus Dam in Fair Oaks for my hike. It’s been quite awhile since I used these trails — at least two years. Today I was pleased with my choice because I saw very few other hikers. The […]

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Tree takeaway

The sweetgum trees in my front yard provide lovely shade in the summertime and many layers of dead leaves in the fall; they also cover the yard and walkways with pointy, round seed balls — a perpetual hazard underfoot. But I now have a bit more respect for those ubiquitous pods, now that I’ve seen birds, like these Lesser Goldfinches, […]

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Little gray

When I first sighted this cute little bird last week, I tried and failed to identify it. I had been standing near the bluffs above Lake Natoma and didn’t get a very good photo as it darted about in the branches, but I did note the small size, overall gray coloring, forked tail, and what looked like a pointed crest […]

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