Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Belgatos Park and trail

Early in March, Red and I took advantage of the beautiful spring weather we were experiencing. We went to visit a nearby park that neither of us have ever visited before, yet I knew that local birders frequently visit. The park is located in Los Gatos, about a couple miles southeast of where we live. The park itself is nestled in a residential neighborhood at the foot of Blossom Hill, and the trails take you up around Blossom Hill where there is more housing with larger lots. Albeit, these homes are where the "wealthier" folks live. Homes around here can sell for more than $1.5 million.
The weather that day was perfect - a perfect temp for hiking uphill, and visibility was great as you will see in the photos I've posted here (near the end). As we headed up the hill Red and I would occasionally look back to get a view of where we started from. At one point Red noticed some deer grazing. So we took advantage of getting some shots. Take note there is a house just on the other side of the park boundary where the deer were located. (Don't forget to click on the photos so you can get a larger image.)
As we headed further up the hill we noticed quite a bit of bird activity. Some birds we saw but I did not get pictures of were a spotted towhee and a pair of hawks (we think they were sharpies). Other birds that were difficult to get were cedar waxwings. As you can tell from my photos the lighting was a challenge -- we were in a shaded area where the waxwings kept flying into. And as you can see in these two photos we dealt with a bright sunshiny day in the middle of the day.

Here is a chestnut-backed chickadee we saw on the trail. Actually there were several of them flitting around, but this one was a bit more cooperative as a photo op.
We also saw bushtits flying around with the chickadees. This was the only decent shot I could get. These little birds are much like chickadees and titmice - they don't sit still even for a second.
And the clowns of the bird species were there in abundance -- acorn woodpeckers. Here are a couple of photos I took of them. Isn't that a beautiful blue sky behind them?

And this is a shot of a woodpecker granary. See all the holes in the branches? Isn't that cool?
Here is a shot of Lick Observatory located on top of Mt. Hamilton, which is about 20 miles away as the crow flies.
And here is a shot of downtown San Jose with the Mt Hamilton range in the background. Downtown San Jose is probably about 8 miles away as the crow flies.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Where did they go?

I had anticipated and mostly hoped to see a few orioles this spring. So to prepare for their arrival I put up the oriole feeder and added a new item that I had purchased a couple years ago, but never did put up. I think I purchased this fruit feeder from Duncraft. Anyway, I only put the nectar feeder up in late March, and finally around mid-April saw my first hooded oriole which thrilled me. Then I thought if I put up the fruit feeder the orioles will stick around and possibly find a palm tree to nest in. Apparently, hooded orioles like to nest in palm trees and we have several of them around here in my neighborhood, including one of my next door neighbors.
And this year these birds have been shy coming to the feeder. I've only seen them about half a dozen times at the feeder. And trying to get a photo was quite a challenge. One day, I think last weekend, Red (aka Heidi) and I attempted to digitally capture at least one of the birds. I was determined to get a post-worthy photo. But could I? Of course not! The two photos below were about the best I could do. Granted, I'm still learning how to use my Canon Rebel and my new lens. But Mr & Mrs Oriole you need to return now and then when I'm watching so I can improve my photography techniques. And it wouldn't hurt if you were more cooperative.
And wouldn't you think I would have more opportunities than last weekend? OK, Mr & Mrs Oriole, where did you go? I haven't seen you for a whole week now. Here I provide you with an orange in addition to the nectar. Why aren't you grateful, and why haven't you returned? Where are you?
Have they migrated north? Or didn't they like the nesting accommodations provided by my neighbors? If they migrated, I guess I can take down the feeders until they return in the fall for their trip further south. But if they didn't migrate, what did I do wrong? :-(

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

I'm still in the midst of editing photos and uploading them to my Webshots page. But here are a few of my favorite photos of our "babies" who became a year old last month.
Tango and Cash - inseparable

Monday, April 6, 2009

MIA - missing in action

Sorry for the lack of posts. I've noticed it's been about 3 weeks since I last posted, but life's been busier than usual. This is the season of Lent, and that usually means an extra worship service on Wednesday evenings. But we also get to participate in a soup supper before the service begins. My problem is that I have been getting home from work after 5:30 and we usually need to leave home by 6 pm to get to the soup supper in time. So there hasn't been any extra time to check personal emails and blog posts. The other thing that has been taking up quite a bit of my time has been Sharks hockey home games. More to report on that a little later. Also, for the past few weeks, mostly when I've had a few hours to spare, I've been trying to update all my photos in my files, and I've been trying to update my photos online. I like keeping my photos online with Webshots. If you should ever want to browse through my albums at Webshots, go here.

Meanwhile, I thought I would leave you with some photos of one of my amaryllis plants that bloomed last month. Funny thing, I have five amaryllis bulbs and only one of them bloomed this year. I must be doing something wrong, or maybe my plants are really slow this year. None of the others are showing any signs of possibly blooming in the next few weeks. But anyway, enjoy this Red Lion in its various stages of blossoming. This first one was taken on March 13th.
This one was taken only two days later - March 15th.
What a big difference here; this was taken March 19th.
And in its full bloom on March 22. And it was about another two or three days and these blooms were gone. They sure didn't last long. But I totally enjoyed them while they existed.


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