Saturday Morning Birding

I consider myself a novice bird watcher, having long enjoyed watching birds in our yard and identifying them using a field guide. When I’m not able to identify a species on my own, I contact my brother, Jim and send him a photo text. Nine times out of ten, he knows what the mystery bird is immediately. I love watching the antics of our Hummingbirds, Robins, Towhees, Juncos, Bluejays, Finches, Chickadees, Woodpeckers, and others. On our property is an old snag that my husband would like to take down for aesthetic reasons, but I rally to keep it because of all the wonderful bird action happening in and around  it.

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of attending a birding class through Cameron Park Community Service District. Our knowledgeable instructor was Joseph Munizich, who has been a bird watcher for 40 years. The instructor and all of us participating met and chatted about identifying birds through listening, watching, and observing flight and colors. Then, armed with our field guides and binoculars, we set out on our walk around the lake, noticing all of the Mallards, American Coots, Drakes, Canadian Geese, and White Geese along the way. IMG_6411My ADD kicked in and an intricate spider web caught my eye on this bridge.IMG_6400And this nest in the tree. The instructor thought perhaps it was a Crow’s nest.IMG_6403 I am the first to admit that my trusty iPhone 6 camera is not ideal for bird watching photos, but it’s all I had. It’s hard to tell that there is a snowy egret in the next photo. I wish the photo showed its small gold feet!IMG_6409This was a sweet bird condo we admired in a backyard along the way. IMG_6410Right about here, we identified a Killdeer, a Black Phoebe, Crows, California Towhees, Pie billed Grebe, and both Ladder back and Acorn Woodpeckers.
IMG_6413Shown here are two white swans. And not pictured, were a Brewer’s Blackbird, a Nuthatch, a Northern Flicker, Red shouldered Hawks, Red tailed Hawks, a Turkey Vulture, White crown Sparrows, and European Starlings all in this vicinity.IMG_6419It’s hard to see that on this floating log are two turtles sunning themselves!
IMG_6414More birds for our viewing pleasure included Western Bluebirds, Red winged Blackbirds, a Belted Kingfisher, Western Finch, Lesser Finch and both male and female Anna’s Hummingbirds. Now I can differentiate between the males and females on my feeders at home.

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I greatly enjoyed this experience and can honestly share that I’ve caught the birding bug. Come say hello if you see me out with my binoculars along the local nature trails, parks and preserves!

Secret Cove

On a cool November morning, just hours before a storm, we discovered Secret Cove. It’s a secluded off-the-beaten-path stretch of beach several miles south of Incline Village, in Nevada. Steep trails took us down to a well marked winding path which then led us to views that took our breath away.IMG_6281IMG_6323IMG_6322Under dark, dramatic skies, the pristine beach felt peaceful and had a sacred quality to it.IMG_6288IMG_6294IMG_6292IMG_6296Aside from one other hiker high above us on a trail, we had the entire beach to ourselves.IMG_6299Just Hubby, our dog, Gemma and me. Exploring. Soaking up the sights.
IMG_6298IMG_6300IMG_6319IMG_6316IMG_6320And marveling all the while at the sheer resplendence of Mother Nature.

Good Morning

Morning walk.

Cool air.

Fresh new day.

Meditative.

Through neighborhood, woods, trail, downtown, mountains, or beach.

Often, with a stroller. More often, with a dog on a leash.
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IMG_5777On this particular day, with my beloved.IMG_5786Gentle rhythm of the waves.

Soft sand between my toes.

A heart rock.IMG_5843A tiny treasure.IMG_5784And then another.IMG_5785Souvenirs.

Centered. Grounded. Ready for the day ahead.

Nourishment for the soul.

Day Hike at Echo Lake

Ten miles south of Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada Mountains lies one of our favorite destinations for local hiking and snowshoeing. This jewel is Echo LakeIMG_5191IMG_5198Just look at this view of every shade of green. Isn’t it breathtaking?IMG_5206Nestled in between granite peaks and towering trees, this glacial lake in the Desolation Wilderness sits at an elevation of 7414 feet.
IMG_5220Surrounded by nature’s infinite beauty, we easily found tranquility from a stressful world, hiking the 2.5 mile trail that runs parallel to Echo Lake and then back again.
IMG_5218IMG_5214And if things couldn’t get any better, we came upon this surprise!IMG_5230Then this!IMG_5223So many gifts in front of us.IMG_5226 I put this little heart treasure in my pocket to take home with me! A lovely souvenir of this wonderful September day.

Scenes From a Day in Tahoe

Sometimes it’s best to set aside the to-do lists and the usual busyness, just let it all go, and head out for an adventure. Yesterday we loaded up the dog and a picnic lunch into the car to do just that and drove up to breathtakingly beautiful Tahoe.

Greeting us upon our arrival were cool refreshing temperatures, and spectacular scenery everywhere we looked. Majestic mountains, the truest blue skies, and towering pines surrounded us. We played with our sweet Gemma in the lake, took walks on the beach and on trails, drove to some of our favorite spots, but mostly just relaxed and soaked up all of this beauty Mother Nature gifted us with. Well, it was just the tonic we needed and we’re now planning our next visit back.
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