Category Archives: Photography

Flowers – May 04th

Coming up on three years next week that we’ve been renting this house and there are still surprises.

Around the corner of the front yard where I rarely go unless a circuit breaker has tripped or I’m putting up Christmas lights, I’ve found this huge patch of flowers.

I’ve never seen the flowers blooming like this, or even at all over in this somewhat hidden corner. There’s a  big patch of bare dirt over here, and I always thought this area was just some sort of ground cover.

I don’t know what sort of flowers these are, although I might guess that the white and yellow ones are some sort of daisy? I don’t know about the smaller reddish and yellow ones.

These are partially hidden from the sidewalk as well, especially for a short dude such as myself. The house and yard are up on an embankment from the sidewalk and I might or might not see them from the street. The flowers might be in bloom for a very short period. Or I might simply be going full Charlie Gordon in my old age.

But they were pretty this weekend!

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Random Old Photos – May 03rd

July, 2007, a flight from Burbank to Oakland. (Pro tip – if you can avoid LAX and go out of Burbank or Long Beach or Ontario, DO SO! It might cost $20 more, but the lack of additional wear and tear on your nerves makes it worth every penny.)

On final approach to Oakland, off to your left there is San Francisco Bay and the massive salt ponds, side by side with housing tracts packing folks in like sardines.

Which got me to thinking about how long it’s been since I went anywhere or was in a plane. June, 2019, coming up quick on two years. Soon, again…

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Filed under Photography, Travel

Fine Feathered Friends – May 02nd

A new visitor! I’m very excited, especially if this one sticks around and brings friends.

I had noticed, briefly, because these little flying gremlins are quick, a flash of red on one of the hummingbirds zooming around the yard. With the new feeders, there are more of them – “more” meaning that it seems at swarming/feeding time just before sunset there are maybe 8-10 of them zooming about instead of 4-6 of them. I know we have Rofous hummingbirds, and we have what I think are black-chinned hummingbirds.

I finally got a good look at this guy today and my first thought was “ruby throated hummingbird” because I know I’ve heard of them and it’s a widespread species. Then I found out that they’re rarely seen west of the Mississippi and never on the West Coast.

So what is it?

The Cornell Lab Merlin bird ID app immediately told me this was a male Anna’s Hummingbird. That bright magenta head is a dead giveaway for this part of the world.

The biggest issue I’m having right now is that (as the hummingbird literature discusses) we have a dominant Rufous hummingbird that tends to chase off other hummingbirds from the feeder. In order to prevent that, we need to put up two or three other feeders around the yard, away from this one. That should allow others to come in and have the “boss” Rufous abandon his territory. Or at least chill out a bit.

And I’ll get the chance to get some better pictures of them all. They are a wonder to watch as they zip and zoom about!

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Filed under Birds, Critters, Photography

Dos Conejos

The big crowds of bunnies that occur in the front yard don’t happen until well after dark. Earlier, starting a half-hour or so before sunset, there’s usually two rabbits in the back yard.

If there’s an owl around (do those trees off the edge of the hill look familiar?), this would be their time to make a move.

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No Context For You – April 28th

I *hate* it when that happens…

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Bird Zillow

No, not “birdzilla!” There are not avian kaiju rampaging through our back yard. Although that might be sort of cool. No, it’s the squirrels and gophers that are doing all of the damage.

Bird. Zillow. You know, that app and website where you can browse for your dream house off in the middle of someplace far better than the place you are now? The inspiration for one of the best Saturday Night Live bits in years?

If you’re a long-time reader you might remember many, many posts after the COVID quarantine lockdown started about the finches that had built a nest right outside out kitchen windows. Many, MANY posts.

This year there’s another pair of finches looking to build a nest out there.

Or maybe there are three pairs looking to build a nest each.

Fact #1 – there are a LOT of finches out there.

Fact #2 – there are at least three separate nests in various stages of construction. There might be as many as five, hard to tell up there in the rafters and speakers and vines.

Fact #3 – last year’s nest is not being used, but is being picked apart for building materials.

I don’t know if the pair from last year is the one or one of the ones from this year. Little monsters refuse to wear name tags like I ask, but boy do they get pissed off if they’re not fed every day!

The only nest that I can clearly see is one that had the foundation of an old nest from before we moved in three years ago, but which has been substantially built up over the past couple of weeks. It’s growing almost every day, and we see several birds up there all day long. But when I took a look today:

It’s newly made, but there’s no sign of occupation or eggs.

Maybe in one of the other nests or nests-in-progress? Who knows.

But my current theory is that it might be just one pair (with PLENTY of other finches nesting elsewhere nearby in the trees or neighbor houses) and they’re not able to pick a spot, make an offer, open up escrow, and finish up the nest. They’re on “bird Zillow” and every spot they see is great, right up until they look at the next one and it might be just a tiny little bit better, and then they look at the next one…

Paralysis by analysis. It’s not just for humans with a smart phone any more.

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The Clouds Win – No Supermoon Tonight

In the latest round in the unending battle between the clouds and the wonders of the Universe which they can and will obscure every chance they get, tonight we got this at sunset:

That’s due west right at sunset. Ignore the trees, they aren’t the problem.

Somewhere out there also was the “Pink Super Moon” rising. It’s not just a theory, I know it was there and rising because I have a great deal of faith in celestial mechanics.

But in every direction all you could see were clouds.

There were spots where a bit of fading blue showed through, but there were more places where the cloud deck was thick and threatening.

I saw reports from friends around the LA area that in places it was even starting to rain. (Which, as I said last night, we sorta desperately need, but…)

So no “super moon,” pink or otherwise for us. Just maybe some drizzle so I can shut off the sprinklers for one more night.

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Filed under Astronomy, Photography, Weather

Flowers – April 25th

Yesterday I showed that the pink roses were back. In addition to the one that had fully bloomed there was a bud just starting to open.

I don’t know if this one, on the same bosh, will get a chance to display it’s whole rosy goodness. There’s a little rain coming through tonight (which we desperately need) which might mess with it, but more to the point, there’s some strong winds coming through.

That cold front in general and the winds in particular will not only potentially mess with this young rose, but is likely to cause a weather delay in tomorrow’s Atlas V rocket launch out of Vandenberg up the California coast about 150 miles.

I had hoped to go up to see that launch, but given the weather, the way I’m feeling after this weekend (which is a good thing, mind you, but still), the odds of a scrub and delay, my workload this week, my appointments for the rest of the week – it’s a lot, so I’m thinking the smart move might be to skip seeing another launch.


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Flowers – April 24th

The pink roses have joined the party.

I wish I could look at these in the infrared – aren’t there patterns or markings in the IR that bees see that we don’t?

The bees rule the front yard flowers. Nothing out here for the hummingbirds.

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Hummers In Silhouette

Maybe you won’t get much more than pictures and nonsensical rantings for the next few days

Only time will tell.

Definitely feeling a bit off, probably going to last 48 to 72 hours.

Everyone should know what this feels like. Seriously!

Random pictures of birds and flowers will get us through.

Never forget that it was April 23rd, 2020 when we truly started to know how unbelievably screwed we were with COVID-19 sweeping across the country and a psychotic simpleton in the White House.

April 23rd will be a holiday in our lifetimes, reminding us to be on the alert for fascists, white supremacists, puppets of enemy foreign powers, and any “leader” who would encourage hundreds of thousands of us to die rather than ever admit that they were wrong.

Got it?

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