Sunday, November 28, 2010

Wildlife Viewing at the Ponds--Part II

 On a recent visit to the ponds I spotted this red shouldered hawk.  I looked away briefly and when I looked back he was gone from his perch.
 I got him in my viewfinder again just as he took off from the puddle below his perch.
 He had something in his talons.
 Something he found tasty.
After he had finished I checked out the remains, a crayfish.

See more views of our world, natural or man created at That's My World Tuesday, hosted for us by Klaus, Sandy, Wren and Sylvia.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Reflection at the Panda Exhibit

Michael reflected at the panda exhibit
Find more reflections at Weekend Reflections, hosted by James at Newtown AreaPhoto

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Day Sky

 An annual Thanksgiving Day event in Sacramento is the Run to Feed the Hungry.
 It has become a tradition for our family to participate even though it means dinner will be a little late.
Twenty-eight thousand people showed up at this fund raiser for the food pantry and family services.

See more views of the sky at SkyWatch Friday, hosted for us by Klaus, Sandy, Wren and Sylvia.

To all of those celebrating today, Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Wildlife Viewing at the Ponds

Late afternoon is a good time to see wildlife but the low light makes it hard to get sharp pictures.
 We can almost always see a blue heron at the pond.
 Egrets too, are common.  When this one came the heron said "leave, this is my spot" and the egret flew off, looking like a graceful dancer on toe.
 Then I saw something in the shadows, moving in the water.  It's motion didn't seem quite right for a duck.
 Could it be another creature I have been looking for for years?
YES!  There was a pair or river otters!  You can bet I will be back as often as I can to see if I can get some more pictures of this elusive but interesting critter.
Hubby caught a brief video of them, they're a bit hard to pick out in the duckweed clogged water.

See other views of our world at That's My World, Tuesday, hosted for us each week by Klaus, Sandy, Wren and Sylvia.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Shadows at the Pond

We are fortunate that our community has so much open space, so many places where we can view natures creatures.  We've been going to the ponds lately, to enjoy the variety of wildlife.  It's a little far for our daily walk so we try to combine it with other errands.
Almost gone the sun
Heron waits, still on duty
Shadows stretch to night
There are more shadows to be found at Shadow Shot Sunday, hosted for us by Tracy at Hey Harriet.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Glorious Sunrise

Some mornings you just have to get up, get dressed and grab the camera.

You can find more views of the sky at SkyWatch Friday, hosted for us by Klaus, Sandy, Wren and Sylvia.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Gulls in Conversation and a Surprise

We enjoyed a meal on a deck overlooking Avalon Harbor.
 This pair of gulls seems deep in conversation.  I'm not sure what variety of gull they are but I thought them exceptionally handsome.
 Then I saw another bird in the water, one I was totally unfamiliar with.
With its legs far back on its body I thought at first it was a new species of grebe.  After checking out my guides I realized that there is another bird with its legs in that position, a loon.  I had gone all the way to Alaska hoping to see a loon with no luck.  I found one at Catalina.  In its winter plumage it is not as striking but it's still a loon.

More watery sights are to be found at Watery Wednesday, hosted for us by 2sweetnsaxy.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Santa Catalina Island

Hubby has long complained that we have never been to Catalina, an island off the coast of Southern California.  On the way back from San Diego we remedied that.
Our trip started from the Port of Long Beach.  As the song lyrics say, it's  26 miles across the sea.  There is service by various companies several times a day.  One could go just for the day, leaving early in the morning and returning at 7 pm.  We elected to stay overnight.
One of the first things we noticed is all of the tile.  At one time there had been a tile factory on the island and tile work is prevalent around town.
 No cars are permitted on the street that fronts the harbor.  The number of full size cars on the island is strictly limited.  Most people use gasoline powered golf carts.  Since the only town, Avalon, is less than three square miles there is not much need for a full sized car.
 The well mannered pigeon is obeying the rules, getting a drink from the drinking fountain.
 Outside of the town of Avalon, the island is owned by either the Wrigley family (of gum fame) or the Catalina Island Conservancy.  The conservancy was founded by the Wrigley's and given 88% of the island.  To see these remote parts of the island one needs a permit and a sturdy vehicle.  We took a tour in this Unimog.
 Among the sights we saw on our tour was the vineyard the Wrigleys have planted in preparation for starting a winery, bison that freely roam the countryside, the Wrigley ranch and the Airport in the sky.
 For those wanting more adventure there are zip lines, para sailing, kayaking and or course just sitting and enjoying the the sights.
 Some come on cruise ships to spend the day.
 Some come on their own small boats.
At the end of a busy day, we sat and enjoyed the view.

See more of our would at That's My World, Tuesday, hosted for us by Klaus, Sandy, Wren, Fishing Guy and Sylvia.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Green Milestone

I try to be environmentally sensitive, think about my use of resources but I am far from perfect.  I enjoy travel and I will occasionally go to the market for just one forgotten item that I must have.
In an effort to assuage my guilt for these lapses we have had solar cells installed.
 Today we hit a milestone.  Our cells have generated 10,000 kWh in a little over two years.  Much of that is peak summer power when we are away at our mountain home which is totally solar.  What we are not using is fed back into the grid.
According to the control center we have saved 17,000 lbs of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.
I try to be environmentally sensitive in other ways.  I usually bundle errands and if the weather is fine I often bike for small errands.  I usually dry my clothes on a rack and wash in cold water.  I have even been known to dip out the warm bath water and dump it in the washing machine.  OK, I'm a bit eccentric but I do what works for me when it comes to the environment.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Cat of Many Shadows

 Cat, watching, stalking
Watching people watching you
In cage of shadows
See more shadows at Shadow Shot Sunday hosted by Tracy at Hey Harriet.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Blue Sky at San Diego Zoo

We had gorgeous weather for our trip to San Diego.  There were few clouds to add interest to sky shots so I had to find something else to photograph against the blue.
 The California condor had come close to extinction when the few remaining were captured and placed in a breeding program at the Los Angeles and San Diego Zoos.
Immature condors have dark faces.  Once they mature they get their handsome multi-colored heads.
Well, maybe not exactly handsome.  Perhaps a face only a devoted mate could love.
I have had the opportunity to see them in the wild near one of the release sites.  With their wide wingspans (over 9 feet) they are a magnificent sight.

See more skies from around the world at SkyWatch Friday, hosted for us by Klaus, Sandy, Wren, Fishing Guy and Sylvia.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Watching the Surfers

I thought that surfing required concentration, paying attention to what you are doing.  This surfer is paying attention to something else.
 Is it the string bikini?
Or is it a matter of self preservation that makes him want to keep his eye on the girl.
Another question, why is she in the string bikini while all of the other surfers are wearing wetsuits? 

Find more watery sights at Watery Wednesday, hosted for us by 2sweetnsaxy.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Michael goes to San Diego

One of the many challenges of caring for a child like Michael is finding things that will interest him.  Like all of us, he eventually tires of games, toys and activities he has mastered while new things are difficult to learn and understand.  He can be overwhelmed by too much stimuli.
 We went down to San Diego for a weekend, a bit of vacation for his parents and a chance for Grandma and Grandpa to spend time with Michael and his parents.
We stopped to picnic at the beach along the way.  Michael seemed to think this was pretty good.
 We went to San Diego Zoo.  He enjoyed the food his mom had brought for him and he likes riding in his chair.
 Playing with mom was more fun than climbing on the many sculptures as other kids were doing.
The animals, not much interest there.  We weren't too surprised but if we don't keep trying new things or revisiting old ones we'll never know what might interest him.
Traveling with Michael is a lot of work.  His mom prepared food to take with us and brought a blender so she could puree food we got on the trip.  He slept on a blow up bed we had brought along with waterproof sheets.  We had his wheelchair so that we could walk and sight see but had him walk as much as he could.
Families of disabled children need all the help and support that they can get.  With the new congress I worry that funding will be cut to programs for the disabled.  Are we losing our compassion, our progressive spirit?  Are business interests and the accumulation of more and more wealth all the American people care about?  I am very dissapointed in the direction our world is headed.

See more world views at That's My World Tuesday, hosted for us by Klaus, Sandy, Wren, Fishing Guy and Sylvia.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Shadows and Reflections at Norton Simon Museum

These memes help us to see things we might otherwise miss.  The sculptures at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena were wonderful on their own.
 They could be appreciated yet again reflected in the pond.
 The light shining on the brass sculpture is wonderful and the sinuous shape can be appreciated a second time in the shadow on the wall.
 These angular shadows are harder to understand.
The sculptures that made them are interesting and leave the interpretation to the viewer.
I apologize that I did not write down the name of the artists.  I had hoped that the museum website would have photos to help in the identification but, no luck.

Find more reflections at Weekend Reflections, hosted by James at Newtown Area Photo
Find more shadows at Shadow Shot Sunday, hosted by Tracy at Hey Harriet.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Powered Paragliders

We went to San Diego with Michael and his parents.  On the way we stopped to picnic on the beach and I spotted these paragliders.
It seems we are always trying to emulate the birds.
Man longs to fly.
See more views of the sky at SkyWatch Friday, hosted for us by Klaus, Sandy, Wren, Fishing Guy and Sylvia.