A couple weeks ago Larry challenged those of us who would be interested in birding a spot we've never birded. Believe me, it was a bigger challenge than I thought it would be. I was disappointed because I did not get one single picture of a bird. I had decided to visit West Valley Community College located in Saratoga, California -- about 4-5 miles from where I live. It is nestled in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, consisting of 143 acres, and has been in existence since 1964 -- about the time when the Silicon Valley experienced one of its growth spurts. The campus is a wooded area with the various buildings spread out, yet a short walk from one building to another. Walking around and through the campus makes you feel like you are far into the country. I chose to go last Sunday (Jul 1) around 5 p.m. and the campus was pretty close to being isolated. It was very quiet and I felt very peaceful walking around for about an hour. At times I thought I'd be able to find some birds and possibly get a picture if I sat down on one of the many benches there -- a real park atmosphere. Anyway, the best I did was spot a few California Towhees, but no photos -- they were too far away and flew off when I tried to get closer. The campus is definitely not devoid of birds; I saw many birds in flight. And I even heard more birds than I saw. But I'm not good at identifying birds by ear -- something I still have to learn. The birds that I saw and can report on were crows, towhees, swallows and titmice. But the trip wasn't a total loss. I still enjoyed my little adventure and have decided to share with you what I did find while walking around the campus of West Valley Community College.
These little ones are California ground squirrels. I think they were just born earlier in the spring. They didn't wander off very far from their "nest" so I think they were waiting for mama to return. They look smaller than what I found out about the size of these little critters.
This is a grape vine growing over the pergola located at the Child Developmental Center on the West Valley campus. The second pic shows a close-up of the grapes, about the size of a marble.