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Would be great. Save I doubt we'll be able to see it around here. rain rain rain.

Still, a nice way to slip into spring! Maybe we'll get lucky.

From the pagan news in Minnesota.
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Last night after a mellow private celebration, [livejournal.com profile] inflectionpoint and I donned long coats to watch the lunar eclipse, the first time in 300 years the full moon/eclipse and winter solstice all happened at the same time, or so I have heard.

I leaned back against the car, so my neck could survive the upward peering. There were a lot of clouds, but they were pretty thin and scudding by relatively quickly. Not at all the predicted pouring rain! So it was a pleasure to be chilly and look up. Orion was huge and spread-legged to the below right of the moon. Somehow, his sword remained visible when everything else was covered by clouds. I took a bunch of no doubt unspectacular pictures; will have to check them out later.

We stayed up long enough for the moon to finally entirely 'disappear'; very three-dimensional at the time. Barely bloody. Midnight, and time for sleep, and await the sun.

Such a time of quiet beginnings, the longest night and waiting for the moon as well as the sun to reappear. It can be whatever we make of it.

Have a lovely day and a year of wonder!
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It's that time of year again: The National Wildlife Foundation's yearly photography award winners. As always, they solicited 'wow's!' and gasps from me!  
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Yesterday, there were a TON of animals about, on and off the trail. The ground squirrels, gray and black and tan, running everywhere, then oblivious when eating. A flock of wee brown birds, nearly invisible in the oak leaves, chirped and flitted above me when I walked my mindful way in the morning.

In the afternoon, I paused on my bike, on the trail above the reservoir, to let most of a flock of ducks get off the high path, where they had been scrounging for tasty tidbits. A flock of canada geese stood ankle-deep (insert goose equivalent here) in the flat shallows at one coastal access point, unmoving, sturdy and peaceful.

Today, silence.

I saw one great hawk at the top of a shivery tree, golden-red breast reflecting the low sunlight.

It's going to be cold tonight.
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the red-shouldered hawks

squirrels, everywhere sitting upright on haunches, the classic pose, nibbling acorns

a flock of turkeys, pecking away, a dozen feet off the path... a couple of birds keep watch, but most go about their focused business

a big wild pig, much broader than the one I saw in the spring, forages through the small ravines, instantly invisible

pairs and triads of wood ducks, swimming fast in the newly-deepened waters (relatively speaking value of 'deep')

acorns are only scattered about, the green year is sparse

a fat raccoon, considering the neighborhood cats, fearless and waddling

preparations.  

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As I drove in to work this morning, I rounded a curve and the golden hills of the narrowing tip of the valley spilled out on either side, just stunning in the clear light of the young white sun. Shadows deepening the definition of folds, occasional little groups of trees adding color, all the rolling potential of hills. I had a sudden moment of satisfaction and pleasure at being a Westerner, at that very moment, in these hills. It reminded me of the sense of place I used to revel in as a teenager reading Zane Grey in Tacoma.

It's a nice, centered feeling on the Autumn Equinox, with its full moon supervising.

Good morning! Have a wonderful day.

Coyote!

Aug. 17th, 2010 04:30 pm
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I think, a first. His coat matched the local flora astonishingly well; tannish brown with an edge of gold-just like the brown hills with it's dry golden plants. Very cool.

It's been an odd harvest time. Virtually no plums... a few purplish smears create abstract art on the bike path, but there was never so much fruit hanging that I noticed it and went picking. Right now, the first green acorns have fallen. There is a fig tree on the trail, laden with green and hard fruit now; maybe I'll get lucky there. And the green golf balls of new walnuts has shown up. Interestingly, I've never gathered the tons of walnuts on the trail. We gathered them when I was a kid; maybe that is why.

Think I'm glad I'm not trying to live off the land right now.
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I wrangled another turkey today. In my fifteen minute walk, she made it through the gate and into the parking lot. So I took a minute and carefully shoo'd her out again. Time to start closing the gate behind me. ! I didn't expect a daytime foray.

On the return journey on the trail, I saw an unusual bird on the gray walkway. It was about small robin-sized, but had a whitish head. ! Did a robin get into paint? Very thorough job if so... and as I got closer I saw it was kinda fuzzy. It flew up onto a low branch, and I realized it was a chick. Very likely a hawk chick. Big eye looking at me. After a bit I walked on, and heard the chirps of young 'uns up in the trees (they've been peeping for a few weeks now). I am guessing the baby I saw was the first one out of the nest.

Pretty cool! And a first for me, which is very cool indeed.
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Much to my surprise, the huge mystery bird has stuck around, roosting high in one of two trees pretty much every day. This afternoon I got a chance to look at with my pocket-sized binoculars; and yes, it is a golden eagle! Proud chest on that bird. Some feathers are fluffed out right now, getting ready for the rain I suspect.

How cool is that?

I'm turning into one of those crazy nature guys, wandering around with cameras and binoculars. Thank ghod for miniaturization. ! Makes me wish again for a fine 'real' digital camera (ya'know, the type with lenses and such). It's been years, but I would have fun.

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Fascinating excerpt about what happens in "taming". I also read a piece in the NYT today about the intelligence of dogs. Cool to see more science on the critters we live.

for [livejournal.com profile] inflectionpoint and all the dog people n science people...


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It's good being back on the bicycle. After a couple months off, those muscles are a little less strong. It's a good tired as I ride again.

Today, I rode towards the reservoir. I stopped for a breather on the return trip; totally admiring the quiet of the scene. The world has been gray for days it feels like. Many varieties of birds were in the water; big white pelican, gulls, bright ducks, all the locals. In winter and spring the landscape here is Irish in feel; green and gray and mild. Looking out, I could totally imagine the stories and myths I might create if I saw this day after day, in silence. But I have moments, with the freeway roar not so distant. Still, stories are possible...

Walking this afternoon, I heard a lot of starlings, those fascinating invaders. They'd taken roost in a tall thin bare tree. I saw a crow perched on top; very photogenic. As I got my iphone out, I noticed the next tree over; equally naked, a few starlings, the tree topper crow, and a *giant* bird of some type on a lower branch. So I took a few pictures of it too. A buzzard? A turkey? Hopefully I can crop in far enough to figure it out.

I turned and walked on, and caught a glimpse in the creek of something... a great gray heron, bigger than most I've seen. It had dark markings and dark legs, like an outline... very cool. As long as I kept moving, she was still. When I turned to get the phone back out, her great wings swooped and away she went, darker gray over the gray waters, behind the gray trees and shrubbery. A marvel. Unfollow-able. Another candidate for stories.

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2009 award winning animal photography from the National Wildlife Federation (a fine animal organization, BTW).
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Four dams to come down off of the Klamath!

I am so freaking happy to hear this, especially as I lived in the northwest for a number of years. But really, just as a Westerner, wanting water to flow properly again, and for another wildlife system to have a chance for restoration.

Huzzah!!

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Last week I discovered a blackberry bramble off the trail, near the velodome; a place where the creek has retreated over the last couple years (see: a zillion invading reeds), and hence, the bramble has invaded. I'd climbed over a log just to see what was there, further out, and found the berries.

So today I returned to the same spot, armed with an empty tortilla bag. And proceeded to pick a couple handfuls of small and tasty berries, using an old cane to help guard my legs. A little anyhow. I rinsed the berries in water (park faucet; did you know you have to let the water run for a MINUTE to make sure it's not germ filled??). And there I was with damp berries in damp bag.

Not big enough to wind up and knot over my handlebars. Too big really to go in my emergency-supply-filled crossbar bag. Of course; into my spare pocket. And away I went, pushing myself; it's late in the season and I'm looking to be as fit as possible for next month's event.

Got to work. Pulled the bag out of my pocket... and berry juice went flying. Ooops. Clearly, I am ten years old (up from eight! inside joke). So I wiped up with cached paper towels, and then hit the showered. Rinsed my shorts. And my work badge, cleverly tucked in the pocket below the berry carrier.

Tasty berries later!
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There's an area where I often see the turkey flock, when it is turkey time of year. Like now. Been wanting to stop and look for feathers. Why? For crafts, for my fondness of wild feathers.

Today is Friday, a good day for a slightly longer bike ride. Very warm out, but a brush of coolness now and again. Water is being released from the little dam; I don't know why. Rain in the Sierras I haven't heard about? Last year's snow pack making its way down at last? 

On the way back, I stopped at the area, just past an underpass, on a steeper area of bank. Shade and deep leaves to hunt through. Did require leaving my bicycle alone as I disappeared over the bank edge, but not many folks are out there, let alone getting off their bikes. Safe enough.

I was quickly rewarded with a couple interesting squared-off feathers; slightly iridescent at the tip, which surprised me. And lots of downy feathers. Oh yeah, and a subset of the flock of turkeys! They walked off in a brisk but not terrified fashion. 

I kept looking, and was rewarded with a couple of long quills. Both are of the brown striped variety.

Interesting how beautiful the feathers are, away from the silliness of turkeys. :-)  
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Have a wonderful day all!

This week: I saw the first snake of the year; a thumb-sized, foot and a half long lil native. I saw my first deer of the year; zooming along on my bicycle, two deer were crossing the 'road'. I stopped politely, but they opted to retreat. :-) I've also seen 'my' hawk, and a few others. I saw a pair of kites chase a red shouldered hawk off the highest tree in the area! I wonder how that was possible. Another pair of hawks appear to be nesting on the freeway side of the road; I keep seeing one on a light post as I leave work. Interesting choice. Around here, a few trees are just starting to shed their blossoms, and others are just starting to blossom at all. It really feels like spring has arrived on the calendar date this year.

For myself, change continues. Letting/admitting formerly key parts of my life are formerly. ;) Making space for the new. Looking curiously into the openness, just like the kitten, and yet still solid in my own self.

Motorcycle ride tomorrow! A new choice.
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A bit of nasty Bush legacy is moving forward, despite being widely discredited; wolf slaughter is underway again. Deductible donations are a big help.

http://action.defenders.org/defensefund

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alongside the midsection of the trail! Excellent news. I don't think there was ever water there last year. I think there's more rain coming, yea.

The mustard is coming up alongside the trail; more every day. The trees are budding, but still shy. The trees planed by the generous park ranger are still alive!

There are a bunch of cat and deer prints alongside the trail in one area. It looks to me like mountain lion and deer; the prints seem big for a bobcat, and it's hard to imagine a bobcat going for a deer. Maybe a really big bobcat and a very small deer? Cool to puzzle at anyways.

As I walk, one ear is cool with shade and breeze, and the other is *almost* warm.

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