Exploring Nature One Step At A Time

Archive for January 20, 2010

Overcast Skies, Blue Jay Warning and Hippy Mike

I Love overcast days, the colors seem more vibrant… green is always greener. I thought I might have to pass on a day in the Park because of the storm forecast yesterday.   Last nights Thunder and Lightening storms were spectacular!  I was joyful when I read weather report first thing this morning stating storm warning was over until later this coming evening.

I hiked up the Peak Trail to check out 3 very tall dead trees that are likely perches for birds of prey. My shot of the crow the other day made me aware of these possible locations for a Bird of Prey shot.  Might even see a Vulture as they also frequent the park.

Once on top of the mountain I headed to the Pagoda as it is the only spot I have seen the golden eagle soar past.  I was so mesmerized the first time the camera never reached my eye.  The Pagoda acts a a bird watchers blind and I have been able to photograph many lovely birds there.  Today I was blessed in seeing a White Throated Sparrow, Female Cardinal, male slate-colored dark-eyed junco, a Blue Jay and a Tufted Titmouse ( identification by Lisa Frame).

I left the Pagoda and headed to the Hot Springs Mountain Trail and a Blue Jay started making a great deal of noise flying quickly from bush to tree to bush. I finally panned to his position snapped off a shot and he was ready to move on again.  His actions, I know now, are a warning for what was above and coming my direction.  As I looked up a black silhouette soared past and I barely had time to change lens magnification and settings before it was gone.

Back on the Hot Springs Mountain Trail I met Hippy Mike and his two beautiful dogs Sarah and Chloe starting their hike through the park.  I wanted to show Mike’s responsible attitude as he had both dogs on a leash.  This is important as I see dogs every week off leash chasing small animals and destroying the off-trail areas of the park.  The park has a delicate balance of creatures and plants. We are visitors in “Their Home” and should respect the rules not to go off-trail and keep dogs on a leash.  The fall leaves are cover for a variety of small mammals in the winter and are home for reptiles and amphibians in the spring and summer.  It is important to respect their space and stay on the Trails within the Park.

I continued on the Hot Springs Mountain Trail and decided to return home via the Honeysuckle Trail which is a personal favorite of mine.  I rarely see squirrels and other small mammals on this trail, so I was excited to photograph a squirrel running up a tree.  The squirrel had unusual ears and I wonder if this is a different species or an anomaly.

Honeysuckle to the Peak, then to Tufa, across the Promenade, down to the Park entrance and Home. Love Nature and she will Love You back!


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