Winsome wildflowers

We are now in the midst of summer, and while the sizzling temperatures have eased — for the moment — every day seems to bring warnings of new wildland fires somewhere in California. Per my weather app, the nearest active fire to me this afternoon is 44 miles away. Yesterday though, the Sac Metro Fire Department responded to two separate […]

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Vernal pool prairie

The vernal pools appear dry, but the wildflowers are popping up everywhere. On my visit the other day, I saw mostly purple Vetch, yellow Hawkbit, and White Hyacinth. But as I continued to look, I also spotted Vernal Pool Goldfields, Little Quaking Grass, Checkerbloom, Valley Tassels, and even Downingia. The signs of life are definitely there to see, if you […]

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At home in the outdoors

I’m never surprised anymore when hiking around Folsom Lake to find driftwood shelters; some of these are constructed near the waterline (or where the waterline used to be), but others are far from the water, in among the trees. Most appear to have been hastily built, but occasionally I’ll find a shelter that was created with great care and skill, […]

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Watch the birdie

It normally takes quite a lot of patience, concentration, and good timing to produce the best photos of small birds in the wild. I’m sure I’m not the only photographer who has shot many, many not-so-great pictures in search of one decent one. Of course, if just anybody could easily do it, those truly great nature photos we all admire […]

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Morning perch

I had the strange feeling that someone was watching me as I made my way along the path at Phoenix Park this morning. I had been on the lookout for small birds in the trees — but I nearly missed this bright-eyed Fox Squirrel gazing alertly down at me from on high. Well, maybe not completely alert. That morning sun […]

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Killdeer

One of these mornings I’m going to get myself back over to the vernal pools at Phoenix Park to visit the birds — and hopefully spend more than 45 minutes, which was all I had on my last trip. Even in that small amount of time, I saw Crows, Ravens, Canada Geese, Goldfinches, Black Phoebes, and a handful of Killdeer. […]

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Crowing about crows

While I was mostly hoping to photograph some smaller birds yesterday morning while exploring the vernal pools at Phoenix Park, it was impossible to ignore the local crows. There weren’t very many of them, but they were very vocal — and determined to defend the area from the single Red-shouldered Hawk that made the mistake of passing just a little […]

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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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