Springtime visitors

I didn’t see a great variety of vernal pool flowers when I visited Phoenix Park last Tuesday, but the aptly named Goldfields are blanketing the depressions, accentuated by a few pale pink Checkermallow. I also noticed (but didn’t photograph) quite a lot of yellow Fiddleneck and Butter ‘n eggs, and the small invasive pink-purple Filaree are literally everywhere. My personal […]

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Rock and rollercoaster

Hiking the Pioneer Express Trail from the parking lot at Sterling Pointe Equestrian Staging Area is a seriously up-and-down experience. There are some great views of Folsom Lake — but this time of the year, you’ll be too busy avoiding poison oak, watching swallowtail butterflies, and navigating up and down the horse-sized changes in altitude to notice the view. No […]

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A Swallowtail story

I got the chance to learn something about the all-too-brief lives of California Pipevine Swallowtails last Friday while hiking along the south fork of the American River at Folsom Lake. It was amazing how these beautiful butterflies were literally everywhere around me, on just about every wildflower. The California Pipevine is a rare subspecies of the Pipevine Swallowtail, found only […]

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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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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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Bird is the word

Lately I’m really enjoying using my Sigma 150-600mm zoom lens to zero in on the local birds. It’s become a bit of a personal challenge to shoot as many different types as possible, especially those I never realized were all around me. But even when that fails, it can still be fun to capture familiar birds like Acorn woodpeckers or […]

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A vintage game bird

Recently one of my occasional pastimes has been browsing eBay to see if I can spot any toys or games from my childhood. This game was a Christmas present one year, maybe around the early 1970s; I’m certain my parents had a great time laughing at me as I shook the gift-wrapped box and puzzled over the crazy rattling sounds […]

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