Wild Wednesday 33/52 Snowy Plovers

Copyright © 2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

While at the beach a couple weeks ago to photograph the Moon we came across a protected area where we discovered Snowy Plovers nesting.

They’re a small shorebird found on beaches, and barren ground all across North American Gulf and Pacific coasts and here and there in California, Texas, and Saskatchewan inland areas. They are also found in South America, and Eurasia.

Snowy Plover

Neat facts from allaboutbirds.org:

The Snowy Plover will many time raise two broods a year, and sometimes three in places where the breeding season is long.  The female deserts her mate and brood about the time the chicks hatch and initiates a new breeding with a different male.

Snowy Plover in Nest

Young Snowy Plovers leave their nest within three hours of hatching! They flatten themselves on the ground when a parent signal the approach of people or possible predators.  They walk, run, and swim well and forage unaided by parents, but need periodic brooding for many days after hatching.

The oldest recorded Snowy Plover was at least 15 years, 2 months old when it was spotted in the wild in California and identified by its band. ~allaboutbirds.org

This one was really close to the edge of the protected nesting area which was great. It gave us really great looks, and photo ops.

Snowy Plover

Sadly, the Snowy Plover population is listed as Near Threatened as their numbers are in decline.  It’s believed their habitat is in decline due to habitat alteration, and increased recreational use of beaches.

I was happy to see this section roped/taped off, and no one breached the barrier while I was there so, it looks like people are respecting them, and the rules to stay out of the area while they’re nesting. I hope that bodes well for a successful breeding season for these cute little shorebirds.

I hope your week is going well, and you all have a lovely week-end!

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm @500mm| Lexar Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…

 

 

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Wild Wednesday 32/52 Flowers Plus One More

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I’ve been neglecting my flower images for oh, so, long!  Here are three from cultivated gardens, and my back yard.

Columbine- Blake Garden

Columbine

On approach-UC Davis Arboretum

Bee on Approach

Daisy of some sort- My backyard

Gerbera

I’ve been feeling a day off so far this week. I hope that gets straightened out today.

If you follow me on Instagram you know I’m painting rocks and leaving them on trails, and in some places I’ve passed by for a Summer Project.  I don’t leave them in State or National Parks because I think that’s a rule. Anyway, here are a couple of iPhone images showing some of the rocks I’ve painted to be left somewhere in the near future.  I’ve left quite a few in the wild already. I hope those found new homes.

Cat and the Moon

Palm Tree Reptile Mandala

I hope you’re having a good week, and I wish for you a wonderful week-end!

Nikon D810| Nikkor 105mm macro lens, Nikkor 24-120mm| iPhone 7 Plus| Photoshop CC 2018

more to come…

Wild Wednesday 31/52 The Moon, and Mars

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The 27th was the Full Buck Moon, or Blood Moon because there was a Total Lunar Eclipse that night, unfortunately, not seen here in North America.  I just went out to my backyard to photograph it.  It wasn’t red by the time it rose over the mountains and I was able to see it from my yard, but it had a lovely warm glow.

Full Buck Moon

The 28th, Saturday, several friends and I met in Santa Cruz, CA to photograph the Moon and Mars from a favorite “go to” spot; Walton’s Lighthouse.

I was watching the fog/cloud weather report all day, and it looked good until 5pm just when we were meeting. We met at Marianne’s Ice Cream parlor. Another “go to”, “must stop” , “it’s tradition” places while in Santa Cruz. They have 105 different ice creams to choose from. It’s not easy picking just one! I had a Jr. cup of Banana, Almond ice cream. It was good, but I wish it had more banana in it. No pictures I’m afraid. I always forget to do that!   Despite the low fog we continued on and photographed sunset-it was one of those soft pink evenings. This is looking/facing ESE more or less.

Belt of Venus Surrounds the Walton Lighthouse

We didn’t think there would be much hope of seeing the Moon rising just above the lighthouse because of the thick band of fog behind the lighthouse so we moved to higher ground and hoped for some breaks in the fog/low cloud band.

In the image below: Mars (right of and higher than lighthouse) rose higher than fog band first, and I think that other tiny bright object to the right of it near the edge of the image is part of the constellation Sagittarius. Or Spica? I’m not sure.

I love that Bonfires, well, not huge ones are still allowed at this beach. A lifeguard came out to make a group put out a large one in the black spot in the lower right of my image. I’m sure they were not happy about that.

Mars Shines Red over Santa Cruz CA

We  walked north and set up on higher ground; a cliff overlooking the beach and while we were shooting Mars a teenage boy asked me what we were photographing, and as I was explaining about Mars, and hoping the Moon would rise above the fog I looked back toward the lighthouse and saw the Moon, it was above the lighthouse as we planned it to be, and it was RED! Then I excitedly pointed that out to him, and my companions.  The boy said, ” Coool!” So, did I! 😊 This is my favorite of the images I made of the scene.

Waxing Gibbous Moon and Mars over Walton Lighthouse

I have no idea who the person with the spot/flash light in line with the lighthouse below on the beach is, but their alignment is nearly perfect right?  That’s Mars to the right, higher than the Moon. Not so red in this image though…the Moon was stealing that color.

Anyway, we all were thrilled after thinking we’d not see the Moon above the lighthouse at all.

When we all had our fill of the Moon, Mars, the Lighthouse, and beach we went to a diner for a quick, late dinner then headed home. Traffic hit a snag near Los Gatos and we crawled for miles. There was no wreck or construction Thank God! Just going home from the beach, Summertime, Silicon Valley traffic all reaching the bottom of the Santa Cruz mountains at the same time.  I got home just about Midnight tired, but very happy with the photography and spending time with good friends.  Though some were missed! You know who you are. 😉

He-Man had the light on for me, and was waiting up for me sorta, kinda snoozing on the sofa in the family room.   I know he’s a Keeper!  He went to bed, and I got my images uploading then got myself ready for bed, and lastly I checked to make sure all my images uploaded sans problemes then Diva Dog and I joined He-Man for good night’s rest.

I coulda slept til noon I’m sure Sunday morning, but Diva Dog, and Box the Guinea Pig were not having it.  There’s a down side to being an early riser normally when you have pets. They’re never. sleeping. in! Evah! LOL! Since we were up He-Man and I had really nice bike ride around the neighborhood together. That has only happened a few times in our 39 years together! He’s the cyclist. I’m the sluggish hiker, and his cheerleader.  We may do this again. It was pretty nice.

We’re halfway to the week-end! I hope you all are having a good week.  I have nothing. NOTHING planned to photograph this week-end.   I’m going to think of something. What do you have fun/good planned? Anything?

Nikon D810| Nikkor 24-120mm f4, and Nikkor 200-500mm| Hoodman Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…

 

 

 

 

Fun Friday

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Have y’all been followin the Lip Sync Challenge of our Nation’s Police and Sherffi’s Departments? If not you should be. It’s hilarious, and some are really good!

Here are some of my favorites so far in no particular order:

 

I haven’t seen my county posting their answer to the challenge yet…I hope they do! These are the next two closest counties to mine that have accepted the challenge.

Come on Santa Clara County show em you can do better! 😊

Has your city or county police or sheriffs department accepted the challenge?

I hope you all have a wonderful, fun week-end with some great music in it!

See y’all Wednesday! xx

more to come…

*youtube videos police/sheriff lip sync challenge

Wild Wednesday 30/52 A Family Unit

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

We found more Wild Mustangs! It was an amazing long week-end.  The horses were cautious with our approach, but Jamie and I learned the ways while on our trip in July, so we approached as we were taught and sure enough the horses let us get near.  Nearer than we’d ever been!  One mare was overcome with curiosity and approached my friend T! She was a hair away from petting its nose before it startled a little.

I need to ask her if I can share that image. I was just 3 feet from her! Then the mare and her Stallion came heading for me, and I backed up…the Stallion gave me pause. What if he didn’t like me. I wasn’t ready for that fight! The mare understood and veered away.

Once a family unit crossed right between my friend Jamie and I. It was so close we had to back up!  It was incredible! They were within feet of me and her, and so close I couldn’t focus! Such a problem for a wildlife photographer to have right?  I wished I brought two cameras lemme tell ya! I regretted the decision not carry my second camera.

The horses stay more or less in family units of a mare, foal, older daughter, and the ever watchful and protecting Stallion.  The family units are spread out through the meadow with the bachelors are the outer edges.  The bachelors. There’s a whole nother subject, and I have images! I’ll share if you don’t get tired of horses.

Here’s one family that hung out close to us.  They’re beautiful, and the light was really good just then.

Family Unit

On the home-front:

It’s been wonderful having Big Baby Boy home. #1 Grandson is in heaven having him here, and the two are having good fun building with Legos, and going to the park together.  He and Baby Girl got some quality brother/ sister time in, and they even got to hang out with dear school friends while here.  I’m already dreading his departure on Thursday, but The Dark Haired Beauty, and work will be wanting, and needing him back.

The Wine Train was a lot of fun. We both enjoyed it and would do it again.  I didn’t get any good images of the exterior of the train engine. They don’t let you near it unless you’re in the first car and boarding. We weren’t we were in the last car.

I’m hoping we have a clear sky on the 27th through the 31 to photograph Mars. It will be the brightest and closest it’s been to Earth in 15 years I believe.  Even if you don’t want to photograph it go out and look!  It will be at its highest point at midnight and be visible most the night.  Look for it about 35 degrees from the southern horizon.

I hope your week is going well, and you have a wonderful week-end!

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm| Lexar Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come..

 

 

 

 

Summer is…

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

PEACHES!

The Handsome Surveyor ( Baby Girl’s Fiance) has a peach tree that is brimming with ripe peaches.  He picked a bag of them for me on Monday.   We ate quite a few, but they were ripe and I feared we’d have to toss several, but I decided to make a cobbler and use them all up.

I got a nice deep dish cobbler out of what was left after removing all the bruising, and soft spots.

Sliced, prepped, and ready for the topping…

Sliced and ready for the topping

Right out of the oven.  It was juicy!

Just out of the oven

Ready to eat…à la mode of course! mmm good!

 

I hope you all have a peachy week-end!

Nikon D810| Nikkor 24-120mm| Lexar Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more too come…

Wild Wednesday 29/52 Alpine Glow in the High Desert

Copyright © 2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Alpine Glow on the White Mountains over the high desert taken on last months Wild Mustangs trip.

Alpine Glow over the White Mountains

I had a long 3 day week-end to go back to look for the Wild Mustangs with 3 girl-friends. We found some, and made a new friend too! I got home early evening Monday. After the long drive home I showered, relaxed, and caught up with the family then went to bed.

Today, (Tuesday July 17h) as I write this for tomorrow’s post rather than working on the new images from the week-end I spent it with #1 Grandson, and doing a bit of housework,  laundry, and making a head start of cleaning out my artsy-fartsie and hobby stuff from the retreat, and cleaning Box’s room….most would call it his habitat.  I’ve still got a sink full of dishes to get to this evening. It never ends does it. 🤨

Big Baby Boy is coming home tomorrow for a week! We’re so excited! So, I’m sharing an image I made last month, and a tease about this past week-end. It was amazing and I can’t wait to share some images, and tell a story or two about it.

What’s going on at home?

He-Man and I are finally going to do the Wine Train in Napa Saturday. Baby Girl gave us this gift for Christmas.  Big Baby Boy said he’d stay home to feed, and medicate the animals. Which is such a blessing! Baby Girl, and #1 Grandson are planning to come over to keep him company. We’re only going for the day so we’ll be home the same night. We’re both looking forward to it.  I hope I can take photos.  I’m already saying I have nothing to wear! So, that’ll be the rest of my week. Hanging with fam, and agonizing over what to wear. Nothing to fancy, but nothing too casual either.   He-Man cleans up real nice. I hope I get a nice image of him lookin all handsome and hot.  Yes. I did say that.

I’m sorta kinda doing the Fitbit 30 day challenge,  that Amy over at https://bedlamanddaisies.com/ blogged she’s doing. She inspired me to up my game with my morning stretches a bit with it, but I wasn’t to faithful to the challenge over this past week-end. I’ll get back to it seriously tomorrow.

Just so you know… I can’t do a “real” push up…never have been able to, so I do a modified one using the counter to push off of, or while on the floor I am on my knees, and I use a stair step whatchamacallit to push off of. It’s been awhile since that got any use. Since it’s higher than the floor I can lower myself. Lowering myself all the way to the floor I. Can. Not. Do. Never have been able to so modified it is.  I’m feelin it. The squats, push ups, and planks are a work out. I added sit ups one day. I need to do those more often. Since doing the 5 minute Plank Challenge a year ago…or was two years ago? I can do a 30 second Plank…it’s not easy…my arms shake, I need to breath through it.  It’s a challenge to hold my own body up, but I can do that!  Who knew holding ones own body up would be. so. hard? Ants hold 50 times their weight carrying stuff back to the nest.  50 times in those little itty bitty antlers and jaws, and I struggle for 30 seconds holding up my own body.

Ants will always have my respect, and fear of them figuring out to rule humans. I know I watch and read too much Sci-fi! 😀 Speaking of reading…

I’m reading The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien to #1 Grandson. His request.  We start and stop a lot because he’s asking for a lot of word definitions. I LOVE THAT! Some kids probably wouldn’t stop to ask. I hope the words are sinking in and his vocabulary grows.  Which is already really good…lots of $0.25 cent words. Today’s words he stopped me to get definitions for were: forded…as in forded a shallow river,  heather; the flower, the bank was steep and slippery; bank was the word that brought him to attention.  We go to the bank for money stuff he thought,😊 and shallow.

He also stopped me to tell me Hobbits are much taller than him, “like your height Grandma.”…Right! I’m 5ft, 6 + 3/4 inches people!  He’s not convinced they’re only his height and shorter.   He’s just hitting the 3ft 6 inch mark. It’s Bilbo…he’s a HUGE character. For a Hobbit that only wants to eat, and stay in the Shire he’s HUGE! He’s taken on the roll of Burgler to save Middle Earth quite seriously. Who does that? Only the bravest of the brave! He’s my favorite of the Hobbit characters, and Sam is my 2nd favorite. #1 Grandson hasn’t met him yet.  Anyway,  I’ll be  reviewing the words he’s asked for definition, and emphasizing the height of Hobbits the rest of month so it does sink in. Sheesh! Hobbits over 5 ft 6 inches. What is he thinking?

#1 Grandson can’t wait until we get to Smaug, and Gollum.  We’re early on in the book. It’s so far advanced for him that after a few pages we need to stop so he can absorb it all, but Gandalf, the 13 Dwarves, and Bilbo have made it safely past the 3 trolls, and have just arrived in Rivendell to give you an idea of where we are in the book. Chapter 3 now.

Oh and #1 Grandson, 5 years old is constantly correcting my pronunciation Gandalf. I say Gandalph with a short “a”. He says Gandolph with a short “o”.  My argument is if it is meant to be Gandolph it should be spelled that way, and the way it is spelled in the book is alph so that’s the way I read and say it.  I think the movie says Gandolph so that’s where he gets his pronunciation, but I have always pronounced it as I’ve read it. I’ve not seen the movies. How do you say it? English Majors please chime in, and give the grammar rules for the pronunciation!

I have started a summer project- painting rocks. If you follow me on Instagram you’ve seen a couple already. I left two out in the wild to be found, and I hope to leave several more this week. You’ve also seen a few images from the week-end. (my IG account is private. Send me a request if you want to follow me.)

I am having fun painting rocks.  Who knew? I’m also really enjoying acrylic paint. I bought a 10 pound bag of river rocks so there would be plenty to paint this summer.  Unfortunately, #1 Grandson isn’t interested in painting any himself. He’ll happily hunt for rocks with me, and put them out to be found, but not paint any. Hopefully that changes.

I picked up a couple pieces of what is probably slate this week-end…not a great rock for long term to paint on. I may not use them, but I want to paint a horse on a rock for a souvenir. A rock from the actual week-end would be perfect I thought, but I couldn’t find “the perfect rock”.

I’ll probably use a river rock, and keep the slate in the garden. I’m afraid it’s too fragile.  Can you say or think of the word fragile without thinking of “Old  Man”, the crate,  or the old man saying, “Fra-jill-ee” , and the Leg Lamp from A Christmas Story?  I can’t. 😂  I’ve been collecting those Hallmark Christmas ornaments for quite a few years. I hope I didn’t miss Randy in his snow suit fallen in the snow saying, “Help! Ralphie, I can’t get up!” I want that ornament.  I hope I didn’t miss it!

Speaking of #1 Grandson. I’m a bit of an emotional wreck concerning #1 Grandson. He starts Kindergarten in a month. A MONTH! Where did the time go? Our time together now is even more precious, and fleeting, and I’m battling that urge to keep him with me, and letting him go…and to another teacher. Sigh…It’s not so easy being a Helicopter Mom/Grandma. I know I need to let go, but it is so hard!  I wish I could pause so many moments, hold on a little bit tighter, a little bit longer.  I can’t.  So,  I’m enjoying every day we’re together, and this song is in my head a lot now.  Don’t you love Rush?  He-Man introduced me to their music shortly after we met…oh so many decades ago. I love it!

But, my soul; my spirit sings Puff the Magic Dragon.  I am Puff. I have sung this song to #1 Grandson since the day he was born. Knowing what was coming I’m sure.  My scales are falling like a drizzle right now, but I know what’s coming….pouring rain.   This is my favorite version of the song.

ARG!!! TMI!!!

I’ve  shared too much! I should write less and process/develop more images! Y’all know I’m Chatty Cathy just to delay doing those dishes in the sink right? 😊 But, it’s getting late and I won’t be a happy gal, or cheerful Chatty Cathy in the morning if I wake up to those so, off I go to get that done, then I’ll watch a Midsomer Murder episode I have recorded and call it night.

I hope you all had a lovely week-end, and the rest of your week goes easy, and you find or make time to frolic along the Cherry Lane too.  I’ll be catching up with your blogs throughout the week! xx

Nikon D810| Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G| Hoodman Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…