Saturday, August 28, 2010

Aquatic Park - San Francisco

I took Jackson on a whirlwind public-transportation tour of San Francisco for his last day of summer vacation. He loves public transportation and the beach, so we got going via BART, then a street car to meet dad for lunch down town. Then we braved a congested cable car experience with dozens of very tall European tourists, and finally: the beach. Ninety-degree weather made it especially summery. And there were several pelicans, dive-bombing the water. Whenever they dropped straight down into the waves, you could hear people on the beach go, "Ohhh!" in awe and admiration. Pelicans are strange, ancient-looking birds. I was glad to see them.

The creature rising from the sea in the second photo is either a Dolphin-club swimmer's arm, or Nessie the Aquatic Park Monster.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Blue Heron just barely

A nice couple pointed out this blue heron while walking along the path last night. They were thrilled and whispering and pointing--THAT'S that proper approach to bird watching, people. None of this tromping around and exclaiming, "WHAT? A HERON you SAY? WHERE?" So, thank you, nice couple.

I was able to shoot off a bunch of shots in a dark canal while this colorful guy hunted bugs. He was a stealthy (and hungry) little thing so many photos came out blurry. And guess what? Herons look like cats when they hunt. Very still, then aiming toward the prey, then LUNGE, SNATCH! Bug in the beak. He caught at least three big grasshopper-looking things as it got progressively darker and I had to eventually give up. The bugs were eating me at that point anyway.

Two views with two different camera settings. Nothing fancy, just a Canon Powershot, so I'll take what I can get.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Rock City and Wind Caves - Mt. Diablo

Rock City is well named and the wind caves are sandy and made from wind (and graffiti).

Monday, August 16, 2010

It's getting darker earlier

Soon I'll have to start tagging posts for "Fall." My evening walks will begin earlier and the alarm clock will wake us all too early. On the bright side: cardigans! This is Mt. Diablo glowing at dusk behind Heather Farm's wildlife sanctuary--a remarkable park in the middle of a growing city.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Low-key Wildlife at Dusk

At dusk the wildlife around here gets a bit complacent. Knowing they blend into their surroundings that much more, they don't take off quite so quickly as in the daytime (you hardly ever see much of them other than ducks and geese and the occasional turtle in the daytime). Here's some low-contrast sights I saw on my walk the other evening.

The elusive muskrat. There's a big family of muskrats swimming around the lake at dusk but they're very hard to photograph because they duck under the reeds near shore. This one was sitting nearby in the canal, not noticing me for a while until a couple of walkers came by and startled it away. I tried to explain to them that there was a muskrat two feet away that I was trying to photograph but they just smiled and said, "Oh, yeah?" really loud. Way to go, nature lovers.

A large group of finches were picking apart these thistles. Another pair of walkers scared them all off, except for this loner, who fearlessly plucked away at his thistle feast, tossing it about while I snapped away. Looking for bugs in there? Don't know. The air was fluffy with downy plant matter.

I'm not including my blue heron shots because that blue heron is stealthy and managed to blend into the surroundings so well, you have to squint to see him. And that doesn't live up to my exacting photographic standards around here (ahem). I'll get you yet, little heron, even though you're the shyest creature in the lake.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Stow Lake -- Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Paddle boating last week in the fog. We went under the bridge where Joseph mentioned there might be a troll living. I sang "Come Sail Away" for the acoustics. Paddle boating is good exercise, yo.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Datura's a night owl

When I go for my early evening walks, there's a few Datura plants at the entrance-way to the park. They look like the top photo when I start my walk. And when I head home, they look like the second photo. During the day, they look like spring rolls--you'd never know there's a dramatic flower waiting to come out at night.