Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Lake Birds

When I wrote my last post, I promised that I would show you the photos of all the birds I saw. There were so many birds at the lake that morning!

Of course the Canada Geese were there - they always are, hanging out at the lagoon, swimming leisurely across the lake or flying over it while making a lot of noise. I enjoy watching them land on the water - gracefully and with quite some splash!

Another of the regulars are the cormorants. They love to sit in the top of the trees right next to the water where they soak up the sun. They don't seem to care about anyone else in their area and never mingle with the other birds.

My greatest joy, however, are the herons. This morning I saw five of them - four black-crowned night heron and one green heron. I also heard another green heron; they can get quite noisy. Here is the green heron that I discovered along the narrow fisherman's trail - a true beauty, don't you think?

Right across from him, patiently waiting for breakfast, was this handsome guy - a black-crowned night heron.

I loved how the two of them were so close together hunting for food without getting mad at each other.

The black-crowned herons are my favorites. I can never pass one without stopping and looking at it. They are pretty awesome birds. Male and female look alike, but the young ones are brown and only turn to this beautiful white and bluish color in adulthood. This particular one loves to hang out in this small and kind of hidden part of the lake. It sits under low hanging brunches and is difficult to spot from the trail. I only saw it because I know that it loves to be here.

There were three other ones close by, sitting in the trees. Two of them flew off later and settled in a different tree, right at the edge of the trail. What an opportunity to get up close!

Yes, they do have red eyes. They are stunning and such a contrast to their more muted body color. Just see for yourself.

Quite an impressive beak as well!

The lake wouldn't be a lake without a few swans. They were busy with the morning cleaning, mingling with the geese and ducks.

Later they swam across the lake to the other side.

From there I saw them taking off. To be completely honest, I first heard them taking off. You can easily identify swans flying by the loud swooshing sound of their huge wings - it is truly amazing!

And last but not least a California Quail. The are not water birds, of course, but they made their home close to the lake. They are funny birds, very shy, and produce unique sounds (you can listen to them here). Usually they stay in flocks and run away quickly as soon as someone comes close. They love to rustle in the underbrush and probably look for food there.

It's also our state bird - a cute little beauty.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Autumn Morning Magic

Shortly before we set our clocks back to standard time I went to the lake in the early morning. The sun had just spread its first rays over the hills, and the sky wasn't even blue yet. There were only a very few people out and about. It was all quiet, the lake was perfectly still and the morning fog was hovering over the water.

It was stunningly beautiful.

The birds were busy getting ready for the new day.

Some of them, however, did their first outing, getting their bellies wet. They probably hadn't a clue how much I loved seeing them swimming toward the fog.

The reflections at the boat ramp nearly took my breath away. This is the light and the colors that I love so much about fall. No wonder autumn is my favorite season - it seems to have so much in abundance. Mornings like this make it hard for me to go home and start working. I'd rather spend my time outside, taking pictures and watching the birds. I saw many birds this morning, and I will show you the pictures of them in a later post.

And suddenly the fog was gone, within minutes everything was clear. It became warmer, but somehow the special magic of this early morning atmosphere was gone as well.

It must be so nice to float in a boat across the lake and see everything from a different perspective. I'm quite jealous of the people who are able to do this.

When I came home after this magical morning I felt happy and peaceful. The magic never completely left me that day. I love days like this!

I think I need to go back very soon at the same time and see how the light is different with the time change.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

What's Happening in My World

I saw this meme on Rinda's blog and then on Cheri's and since I found the questions interesting I thought I bring them over to my blog. I don't do memes anymore on a regular basis, but every now and then I find some good ones - like this one - and then I play along.

What’s the title of the last book you read?

“Lakota Woman” by Mary Crow Dog. It was a very interesting and also emotional read. I often got very annoyed and mad about how Native Americans have been treated in this country. This book was written in 1990 and I have no idea how much has changed – I hope a lot!  I have visited some of the places Mary Crow Dog describes, like the Pine Ridge Reservation and Wounded Knee. Both places had a feel of desperation and sadness about them and this I could also feel while reading her autobiography.

What is the last thing you cooked at home?

Yesterday I cooked cut up Nürnberger Rostbratwurst (the famous bratwurst from Nuremberg) with left over spaghetti (cut up as well), green cabbage and egg – all sautéed in a large pan with a little bit of salt and ground caraway. The entire family loved it.

What is your favorite thing about Fall?

The colors and the light.

Share one thing that challenged you at some point over the last week.

I received an email that was a bit harsh and I had to think carefully how to respond to it. I have learned to sleep a night before responding to things that upset me, and I’m glad I did. My response the next day was calm and thought through, and the following reaction to this from the writer was nice and sweet.  

List three hobbies that you actively pursue or want to pursue.

Photography is always my favorite hobby – I recently took some lovely autumn pictures at the lake one morning. I love knitting and do a lot of it right now. Reading is another favorite hobby and I’m always looking for book recommendations. I love to go to the thrift stores, buy books dirt cheap and, when I’m done reading them, bring most of them back. Curling up on the sofa and getting lost in a book is the ultimate comfort for me.      

What is the most recent sporting event you watched?

Don’t laugh – it was the World Cup in the summer of 2014…    

Besides watching "live TV," what service do you use to watch TV or films (netflix, on demand, etc.)?

We use Amazon Streaming or rent DVDs from the library. We don’t watch much TV except for PBS and are fans of Masterpiece – wonderful British shows!

Have you started Christmas shopping yet? 

Nope. But I’ve finished knitting a hat that I want to give to a friend’s daughter for Christmas. Since she doesn’t read my blog I can post it here. Unfortunately the colors in the picture are a bit off – the yarn is a rich flecked green and delicious! The pattern was much easier than I thought - I knit this entire hat in three evenings. I like the lacy look in the leaves.

Do you have any upcoming trips?

Unfortunately not.

Do you remember your dreams?

Some of them I do, some I don’t.