Friday, December 31, 2010

Grey Squirrel

Slept in, skipped Breakfast, and paddled over to the Village....Blue Jay, Acorn Woodpecker, Kinglet, Raven, calls or sightings along the Path, and Deer Tracks....waiting at the Shuttle Stop to return, sighted Two Grey Squirrels chasing, spiraling up and down the Oaks across the Road....tried for pics--just one....oh...Juncos about too....sunny blueblue cool, sunny portions of the Paths free of ice...Noisemakers after work tonight remind me of Snow Geese...pic up from trip....Happy New Year!

The revelers honk
Just like the Snow Geese above
A winged migration


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cold Day

Paddled over to Last Chance in the morning to say I'd be into work...pic of Falls on way back to the Cabin, where I slept in until worktime! is cold...sunny of Rockfall on 140 just before the Entrance...diverted everyone! of Bobcat thereabout too, but the night before, 'it was around seven'...I dont think I saw any Critters today...on the way to work, did see fresh Deer Tracks about the Cabin, and on the Rooms Paths....

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Snow Man

No pics today....Snow Man pic from the collection....tummy flu kept me in the Cabin this morning, and I missed a knockdown walkabout in the Fresh Snow Fall overnight...later in the afternoon, it began to RainSnow, and melted everything....flu has been a 24 hour thing, and feel better tonight....but hungry!....anyway...been reading Book my sister gave me for Xmas...
Birds, The Art of Ornithology.....when taking Art Classes, I read through the whole Time Life Library of Art, which has not only Art, but History of the times the Artists lived in....the 'Birds' book is like that, and has a lot of Artists, that while their paintings aren't in the book, have their stories included, and I can look them up on the web!...very cool...Amazon has a coffee table edition which receives high praise in the's one artist...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Lily Pad Pond Ice

Slept in....gathered the gear, and paddled through Bobcat Meadow to the Village....Ice on the Lily Pad walk...thought to get snack in the Village, but too crowded...Shuttled back to Last Chance, and after tomato soup, green salad, wheat roll, and hot chocolate, it was rainy out!, returned to the Cabin to read, tv, and nap!....cloudy grey sky, sprinkles to steady rain tonight....clip up is Coyote hearing a Rock Fall yesterday....sounds too distant for clip to record....

Monday, December 27, 2010

Beaver Bend Coyote

After Breakfast, and Shuttle to and from the Village, and a nap, I gathered all the gear and paddled out to Two Top Pine Meadow...a bit past the Broken Cottonwood, sighted Coyote track, and then Coyote...for a long while, followed Coyote about the Meadow....faraway pics and clips, some digi...heard Pileated Woodpecker in the Cottonwoods....Mists rising, and fading Light, returned along the Merced to Ozone Beach, where I sighted Male Merganser...faraway pics and clips...tourists walking along the Beach startled Merganser, and Merganser flew furiously right towards, and by me...see clip!...hazy sky, cool, cool enough to keep the snow crunchy, and roads hazardous....oh!...forgot to put up clip where Coyote listens to Rock Fall...for sometime!...lots of Deer tracks in the Backyard, Coyote and Bear too...oh...almost forgot the haiku for yesterday's post...checked for Mallards from the Shuttle...Mallards are off to somewhere...

There's Ice on the Ponds,
There's Snow on all the Hummocks,
Mallards have flown off!


Sunday, December 26, 2010


After Breakfast, gathered the gear, and paddled over to the Hummock Ponds to see if Mallards about, and in Flicker Grove, just after I took Half Dome pic that's up, Coyote was about...and very close.... startled Coyote as I was circling around the Fallen Oak... Coyote went out into Bobcat Meadow, and trotted towards the Deer House, doing a hop on the way...just missed hop, pic up is Coyote landing....other two Coyote pics from yesterday....checked for Mallards...Mallards off somewhere, and Ice on the Ponds, Snow on the Hummocks....continued over Chapel Bridge, and along the Merced...Sentinel pic up...time...on return, noted Coyote's track...Coyote didn't go the House, but over to Chapel Bridge, and along the River, much like the other day....if I hadn't left off to retrieve the tripod, I might have gotten more pics!....sunny blueblue, light snowfall last night, cool...yesterday when I sighted Coyote, I sighted Pileated Woodpecker Pair in Owl Woods too....farfar away of Bear Tracks, small and large, along Rocky Slope...

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Yellow Rump Warblers (Pine Siskins)

(I saw this little flock again today, Jan. 8, Sat., and in checking, couldn't find the yellow wing bands on Warblers, but the bands are on Pine Siskins--pic today is even blurrier, so id is tough!, but Flock looks to be Pine Siskins, and if so, a New Bird for me!)

Well, the internal hard drive in the newer computer has filled up...could only down load a couple jpgs...Warbler pics up(click on pics to enlarge)....On way to Breakfast, sighted Does and Fawns in for sometime!....after Breakfast, some more Backyard Deer pics..for sometime...paddled back to the Creek with all the gear...quiet, but lots of tracks, Deer, Coyote, Bear, Raccoon, Squirrel....made the inside loop, and while looking at the Fallen Cedar (it's moved, and the Merced's Bank more eroded), turned about and glimpsed Coyote...faraway pics...followed Coyote all the way back to Duck Harbor, where Coyote crossed the Creek..and lots of faraway pics..for sometime...paddled along the Creek to the Road, and over the Creek Bridge to Bobcat Meadow...thought Coyote may be about, but really wanted to check if Three Mallards were about, and Mallards were! hour or so, tried yet again for Refection pics and clips...some okay...and learned the video clips are framed a bit smaller than the pics, and the viewfinder's dimensions...something to remember! and clips of Mallards for sometime....grey cloudy overcast, cool, light rain tonight....I often see groups of Yellow Rumps in the Trees and Shrubs...first time to see Flock out in the open!....Warblers sighted while watching Mallards at the Hummock Ponds in the Meadow....

Friday, December 24, 2010

Half Dome Mallards

After Breakfast, hopped on the Shuttle....driver friend noted I didn't have my tripod...'There's time...' I hurried to the Cabin, gathered the tripod, and shuttled over to the Village....and paddled back to Bobcat Meadow, to Flicker Grove by the Hummock Ponds, and everything was there where I left off yesterday--Mallards, Reflections, and photogs about....set up, pre focused and composed...thought was to begin a clip on Half Dome's Reflection, and Mallards would approach from off camera, and the ripples would gently move the reflection, and then Mallards would glide through the reflection....I waitedwaitedwaited...Mallards had gone off into the Shallows amongst the Hummocks to forage....and I waitedwaitedwaited...and the scene began to happen, Mallards paddling over to where I was....I was set, I was prepared....and the sd card was full!...I made a desperated attempt to delete something to make room, but looking up, I saw Mallards serenely gliding through the reflection...I was disappointed...anyway, I followed Mallards about, and did get clips, which are ok...for one I waited like twenty minutes for a contrail to move out of the scene...but they're not the one I missed!...sigh...see clip, which on review, is just fine!....sunny hazy blueblue, cool to warm, another storm tomorrow.....and Merry Xmas!!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bobbing For Acorns

After Breakfast, friend pointed out that there is a lot of Snow on Half Dome....rolled over to Bobcat Meadow in Silver to looksee, parked and paddled out to the end of Flicker Grove by the Hummocks and the Recent Ponds, and sighted Mallards, then Yellow Rumps...forgot all about Half Dome until tourist from China, or somewhere, asked, 'reflections?'...I gathered they wanted to know if it was a good spot to take reflection way of explanation, I pointed to Mallards...and they weren't interested, and so I took a reflection pic with the the waterproof, after explaining the 70-300 mm lens was too long, and showed the pic in the lcd...'yes, yes, reflection'....and the tourist was eager to get their camera, and I tried to explain the Path around the Meadow....there's reflections of everything everywhere today...I walked back to the Road with them to make sure they saw the Path, and continued myself to the Village for mail....paddled about the Indian Village a bit...Little Birds about...happened to look down, and saw Spice Bush Sign...Village has Signs naming things, and telling about....pic posted to yesterday's post, so it has a pic now!....and then it came to me that the Mallards would be reflected along with Half Dome--together! I hurry rolled back, parked by Owl's Old Oak Snag, and paddled back to where I was by the Hummock Pond...and Mallards were still about! and clips...tried very hard for handheld clips of Mallards paddling about in Half Dome's Reflection...most clips off center, and too shaky...will try to post up one to give idea...tomorrow I'll take the tripod with...and hope Mallards and Pond will still be there!...sunshine finally, blueblue, warm...when I picked up from the second visit with the Mallards, as I was walking back to Silver, another Chinese tourist asked, 'reflections?'...and I showed some pics, and Mallard clip...and they went off to get their camera--a bookend!!...I looked over the Meadow getting into Silver, and saw three photogs from China, or somewhere--a tour, with tripods, setting up by the Pond...Mallards flew off a bit, and landed aways of Deer, lots of Bear Tracks, and Coyote Track, along the Trail beyond Beaver Bend...myself heard Kinglets, Mountain Bluebirds and Chickadees...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Grey Squirrel

Paddled over to the pics today....Shuttled back...fiddled with the computer to make some prints...time, and while brushing teeth, sighted Grey Squirrel climbing down Cedar outside the Window....cloudy, sprinkles, cool....'Grey Squirrel is out and about all Winter'....friend at work agreed, and suggested it was so for Bobcat and Coyote...'yes!' I said...well, pbs has a show on about buddha tonight, and dont know if all that is so, but I like the Deer Park part....oh...talkabout Ravens too...why so many Ravens about the Valley....and what Ravens find to eat...often seen eating Snow....and yesterday, sighted Ravens eating Chinquapin Seed Pods(oh...not sure now, after checking, what shrub is!...will update when I find it!---Spice Bush)...picked a few for Raven my own self......'not much in them'....'Ravens never look under fed'...and here's a link to a blog with a Valley clip of Raven, and blogger looks to have pet Raven...dont miss edgar allen poe animation movie....

Sarnath, from Saranganath, means "Lord of the Deer" and relates to another old Buddhist story in which the Bodhisattva is a deer and offers his life to a king instead of the doe the latter is planning to kill. The king is so moved that he creates the park as a sanctuary for deer. The park is still there today.
from wiki

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Vernal Falls

Vernal Falls pic and clip from Breakfast, then a nap, a long nap!...didn't get out and about until around three...paddled over to the Village through Bobcat Meadow..returned same way...on return, sighted Hawk fly from the Oak Grove to the Tall Snag...
farfar away pic...not sure of Hawk's name(Redtail, Zeke)...Hawk flew off just as I was sighting the digi...tried to follow into the Artists Grove...but no luck....wintry day, cool, lots of clouds moving along the rims, and dark, but I can see the Moon peeking through the clouds tonight, more rain on the way....the Falls clip goes together with some more clips of the Merced along the Mist Trail...will try to put them together and post to youTube in hd....

A Note:
In a broader sense, topography is concerned with local detail in general, including not only relief but also vegetative and human-made features, and even local history and culture. This meaning is less common in America, where topographic maps withelevation contours have made "topography" synonymous with relief. The older sense of topography as the study of place still has currency in Europe.
from wiki

And: link to

In my watercolor classes, (I took art classes shortly before coming to the Valley for like three years at nearby community college--Palomar, Escondido), I gravitated to making a pencil drawing, inking the lines with an India ink quill pen, and then using transparent water colors, which I'm happy to find is how the early topographers did their paintings. In class, one went from very light pencil sketch to the watercolors. The page I've linked is great, giving a history of the topographers. Anyway, it was my notion to come to the Park and be a topographer, a notion that sorta diverted to photographer, blogger, something! But I think my underlying purpose has held true. And I like this paragraph by the author on the page:

But during the period 1750 to 1850 the number of amateur artists significantly increased, and provided crucial momentum for the development of watercolor painting. The qualifications to be an amateur painter then, as described by Martin Hardie, might well apply to amateur painters of today: sufficient prosperity to afford leisure time; the cultural education to value art; a talent for drawing; the confidence and persistence to pursue painting without too much reliance on the judgments of others; and the supportive interest of a small circle of family, friends or fellow amateurs.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Snowy Day Mallards

It's late, and sorta stopped Snowing, and the Sky might clear for the Winter Solstice Eclipse--I hop out and check the Sky--so a short post about a long day!...After Breakfast, gathered the gear, and Shuttled over to Siberia for errand (friend not well, and needed address for xmas card), and paddled up to Lady Andrews Rock, not on the Rock, behind it, where I sneak past the Gate to get Snow pics of Vernal Falls...scenic pics and clips of hike for sometime...returned from Happy Isles on Shuttle as far as Lower Falls, hopped off to go back to the Oak Grove...Buck and Doe thereabout....Deer crossed the Road to the Elm...pic and clip of Buck...Doe off somewhere...and then I sighted Mallards out in Bobcat Meadow just in front of the Elm...High Water has made Ponds in the Meadow...left off from the Deer, and set the digi up for and clips...Doe came around...tried for clip....Buck was far in distance by Boardwalk...returned to Mallards, and then Buck was around, sniffing the Snow for Doe, and running about...card full from Mallards, so no clip, but pics, for sometime....picked up, and when nearing Flicker Grove, looked back, and saw Buck go out to the Elm, still looking for Doe...farfar away clip and pic....clip just too far away, but pic is up.....friend I referred to has listened to a vast, probably too vast!, number of my post ups in conversations during breaks and meals at Last Chance....and always with good humor....and I've added many of their reports of critters seen on their walks...oh..too cloudy still...

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Well, I ventured out twice, once in the morning, and again in late afternoon, both times to Ozone Beach....second time circled back to Creek's End and through Owl Woods.... second walk a small Cedar Branch clunked me, Wind had picked up....and a bit of Thunder while doing the post, and the Cabin is creaking from the Cedar swaying in the Wind....but it's not a bigbig rainrain, the tv is still working, just continuous and the Morning, the Merced was up to the edge of the Riverbank, and in the Afternoon, water was creeping towards Ozone Boulder....butbut, the Rain is reported to go on until Thursday!....need to check that...brb!!...well, Tuesday and Wednesday not so much, but it's so!

try to find snow level...brb...another report has snow level at five thousand feet, late Monday and Tuesday....looking up, snow level looked to be beyond the, I dont know....


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Hooded Merganser

no pics today...pic up is from
Tule Lake...towards the end of the rideabout thereabout, I sighted a speck of white, and took a pic...reviewing pics tonight, I find the speck is Hooded Merganser....very cool....light rain off and on, more on than off, all day into tonight, Falls actually looked smaller today than yesterday, so snow level must be fairly low, five, six thousand of Small Bobcat at Burnt Forest yesterday at Dusk....made a short walk to Rocky Slope this morning, thought to see Bobcat, but no luck...oh...sighted Merganser (Common, female) at Ozone Beach last Saturday...blurry flight pic...I have a backlog of miscellanea from the trip...for sometime!

A curio news story: Water has been being released down the San
Joaquin River, and a farmer is complaining one of his fields near the River is flooding...govt. is compensating by, well, I'm not sure, draining the field somehow...maybe I can find story...brb...

Federal officials say the renewed flow causes water to seep into the ground and spread to the surrounding underground water table. If the water table rises too high in nearby farm fields, it brings salts into root zones and stunts plant growth.

Read more:

That story from last October, so today's story indicates an ongoing thing. Well, the object is to restore a riparian environment, and to either side of the river would be marshes. The salts are a problem everywhere in the Central Valley...brb...

The western San Joaquin Valley is one of the most productive farming areas in the United States, but salt-buildup in soils and shallow groundwater aquifers threatens this area’s productivity. Elevated selenium concentrations in soils and groundwater complicate drainage management and salt disposal.

Birds like the Cottonwood and Willow windbreaks at Merced Wildlife Refuge. Same can be said of some of the other Refuges I visited. For the most part, roadside views up and down 99 are empty of trees.

There has been much experimentation with eucalyptus growing in alkali soils. Alkali deposits can stunt a tree's growth until the roots break through it.149 But there are species that can absorb alkali removing it from the soil so other crops can be planted successfully. In 1985, over 650,000 eucalyptus and casurina trees were planted in western San Joaquin Valley to determine the ability of these genera to remove alkali found in the soil of undrained land.150

There was a Eucalyptus Grove at Elkhorn Slough. Not only didn't I see Birds thereabout, I didn't feel like I'd see Birds.

Eucalypts draw a tremendous amount of water from the soil through the process of transpiration. They have been planted (or re-planted) in some places to lower the water table and reduce soil salination.
from wiki's Eucalyptus take

and from wiki too...
Due to similar favorable climatic conditions, Eucalyptus plantations have often replaced oak woodlands, for example in California and Portugal. The resulting monocultures have raised concerns about loss of biological diversity, through loss of acorns that mammals and birds feed on, absence of hollows that in oak trees provide shelter and nesting sites for birds and small mammals and for bee colonies, as well as lack of downed trees in managed plantations.


Friday, December 17, 2010

Rainy Day Great Blue Heron

Paddled over to the Village....Does and Fawns and Bucks at the Oak Grove...Deer still there when I returned....picked up the digiscope at the Cabin...wanted to try the new bracket....returned again, Deer still about, and the bracket works! and clips of Deer....another photog wanted a chance, so picked up and went over to Chapel Bridge...thought Blue Heron might be about the Merced....lookedlooked for awhile, and no luck, but just as I started to leave the Bridge, sighted Great Blue Heron in the Log Jam under the Alders and Cottonwoods...I think I have a pic from three years ago of Heron in this very same spot!..(here too) and clips...Heron flew up and downriver....on the Path, sighted Coyote at Flicker Grove....tried to get ahead, and set up on the Boardwalk at the Lilypad Pond...waitedwaited, started to pick up, and sighted Coyote at the Pond....tried to take a clip, and have a long clip of Coyote hunting in the Hummocks, but blurry from Raindrops on the lenses...for sometime...Coyote went under the Boardwalk, along the River, crossed the Path again, and out past the Woodpecker Tree...light rain, cool, steady rain late tonight, and still only the Big Hardware Store, my sister spotted a plumbing pipe coupling rubber gasket that is working out as a shim, making the bracket fit to the spotting scope eye piece.....sister and I have a lot in common, but this is a little disconcerting!...when I arrived in Bakersfield, she was jury rigging an old music stand or something to make something to hold her camera low to a table when taking pics of her mineral collection...maybe it's just a photog thing, coming up with innovations!...oh....heard Hawk, Redshoulder, while at the Oak Grove, and sighted Hawk, Redtail?, flyover toward Fern Ledge...flock of Juncos by Creek Footbridge....and a flock of Bluejays at the Oak Grove Road Intersection...Birds were out and about in the Rain...too!