Friday, February 11, 2011

This and That

A morning walk is a good time to look at nature as well as muse about everything and nothing in particular. Every morning there’s something different to look at, even if I take the same path through the park. This morning I heard a sound I had not heard before. It was a rhythmic slap on the water...I looked toward the sounds and saw the UCSB rowing team plying the lake. I had not seen them before! I feel righteous with my morning walk, but rowing definitely trumps walking!

I also look at the trees. Do you ever wonder what makes a tree limb grow the way it does? This is a white oak, and they have the weirdest shaped limbs of any tree in the park. Makes me wonder why the limbs wander around as they do? Does anyone know?

Then there’s the tree bark. A sycamore has a very distinctive bark. Mother Nature had a bit of fun when she designed the sycamore tree.
Sometimes, tree bark gets modified by woodpeckers. I never see the woodpeckers going back to the tree to retrieve their bounty, but as you look at the tree, there are no acorns stuffed in the holes, so I guess the woodpeckers are fast (and as you know from a previous post, I’m not good at capturing “fast.”)

Harvey’s Kids

This is Harvey, and if you have read my blog, you’ve met him before. He’s an injured goose that stays at the lake year round.
This year however, he raised a clutch of ducklings!
Momma duck left the nest when she thought the ducklings were old enough to fend for themselves, but Harvey had other ideas. He tended to them and now they are his. Since Harvey does not fly, neither do these ducks. I guess they will get the model for flying from some of the wild ducks that come thru the park, but in the meantime, they walk or swim where they need to go.
 Like all ducks, they have learned how to panhandle! 

Of Fast and Slow

I’ve decided that I can take pictures with the new camera. They are not as good as the pictures I took with my other camera, but each day they are getting better. Practice is the key. I had lots of practice with the old camera and only 2 months with this new one. I need to give myself a break!

In the meantime, I’ve also decided that subject matter for pictures falls into 2 categories: Fast and Slow. The fast things get away and the slow things I can capture.  Landscapes are slow. Birds are fast! Every so often, I get a “fast” something, but generally, I’m better at capturing the slow.

The other morning there were 4 vultures sleeping in the tree. They were slow and I was able to get a few shots of that big bird.

Then there was this scrub jay. 

Jays generally bob up and down pretty quickly, but this guy was slow and then he jumped on a satellite dish and posed for me.

Then there is the hummingbird. This guy falls into the Fast Category.  I’ve tried...but this is the best I’ve gotten so far.

Unless you count the acorn woodpecker at the feeder??? An acorn woodpecker all bent up on a hummingbird feeder is clumsy and slower than a hummer...but still fast enough to fly away as soon as he sees that he’s the object of my attention.

There are also flowers...they usually fall into the “slow” category, as they do not move very much. But, have you noticed, every time you start to focus on a flower the wind starts to blow! So...there are some “fast flowers” too.

In the meantime, I click away hoping to find something pretty to color my day.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ground Hog Day Musings

The eastern US is getting slammed with a snow storm... “the official weather genius” ground hog lives in the east... he did not see his shadow this morning...that means that spring will come early. (As you can tell from the above picture, we are not in the eastern US.)
Now, if the ground hog was a westerner, the forecast would be different. Which leads me to wonder if “the” ground hog really knows what he’s doing after all? We don’t have ground hogs in the park, just pesky little ground squirrels. They saw their shadow this morning.

Not related to ground hogs or spring, are the opportunistic woodpeckers. Who knew that Acorn Woodpeckers like sweet nectar from a hummingbird feeder?