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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Road Trip: California Sister

We got up early, again. Don’t get me wrong, I love nature and I adore birds, but I am NOT a morning person. Those damn birds start chirping way too early and we are left with night number three with very little sleep. At least it was a nice and cool morning. The temperature gauge read a nice 57 degrees. Much more my style than boiling temperatures.

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We decided to pack up first and then bird around the campground. There is a meadow nearby where I had great luck last time I was in Idyllwild and again this field was fantastic. We saw quite a few different birds, although the light wasn’t fantastic I did manage to get some great photos.

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NORTHERN FLICKER

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WHITE BREASTED NUTHATCH

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HOUSE FINCH

I think my favorite of the morning by far was the Nuttalls Woodpecker, mostly he was sitting right in the beautiful soft morning light, but also because he let me creep very close. I was able to spend a good 15 minutes with the bird and I got some incredible shots.

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NUTTALL'S WOODPECKER

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NUTTALL'S WOODPECKER

After we finished in the meadow we headed over to the nature center. Not all nature centers are created equal and this one is really fantastic. Mrs. Dancer and I had fun poking around and looking at all the interesting things that they had on display. This was my second time here and even I found new things to learn. I loved that they changed some of the exhibits and brought in new things to see.

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US IN FRONT OF THE NATURE CENTER

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THEY HAD A NICE ROSY BOA SNAKE AND EVEN A SHED SKIN – EWWWWWW

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I WAS PLAYING AROUND WITH A HORN OF SOME SORT

And then the most adorable was the tiny ity bity baby desert tortoises that they were raising. These guys are only weeks old and they are so super small. I really wanted to hold one, and then I wanted the ranger to hold one, and then I wanted the ranger to take one out of the cage and put it on the floor just so I could get a better photo. Alas these babies’ shells are so delicate they are not to be handled at all for another few weeks. Still they were super cute.

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BABY DESERT TORTOISE

Finally we headed outside and went straight for the flowers. There were a few butterflies flitting around and we got to get some photos of them. My favorite was what we found out is the California Sister, how aptly named. When we found out we squealed in delight, it was serendipitous that I was with my California Sister.

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CALIFORNIA SISTER

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CALIFORNIA SISTER

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NOT SURE WHAT THIS ONE IS

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PAINTED LADY

And then maybe because we were looking so closely for butterflies we found two cricket-like bugs. The one on the left apparently has lost a back leg, and what TERRIBLY long legs they are. The other had a cool brown collar and no matter how close I got he stayed perfectly still. In fact once we found him it took me a minute after I glanced away to find him again. Perfect camouflage for this area.

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We decided to do the hike around the nature center. There were some beautiful vistas.

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After three days in the woods Mrs. Dancer started utilizing her back brace, for more than just a brace. Soon it was holding all kinds of things, like a Batman tool belt. The car keys, some chap stick and even a guide to some of the common birds all got stashed away at one point or another. We also had to laugh when I found a broken tree. It also had ‘broken its back’. Poor Mrs. Dancer, she was such a trooper even with a broken back. But she seemed to be moving ok and even used some of her yoga poses to get better angles on the birds she was photographing.

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We started our hike and I was excited when we spotted the White Headed Woodpecker perfectly at eye level only a few feet away. Every time I have seen this bird it has been in the tippy top of some TALL trees. Of course I didn’t have my big lens with me; I had stupidly left it in the car. So I took a few photos with my macro lens (not ideal by any means).

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WHITE HEADED WOODPECKER

We made our way back to the car, I got my lens out and then we didn’t see the white headed woodpecker again. TYPICAL. We did manage to find some other cutie birds though in particular a Dusky Capped Flycatcher who swooped in to get a nice juicy grasshopper and a curious Mountain Chickadee.

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DUSKY CAPPED FLYCATCHER

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DUSKY CAPPED FLYCATCHER

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MOUNTAIN CHICKADEE

When hiking in the woods it makes me feel so calm. Since all the crazy depression, miscarriages and some heavy punches life has thrown me I find I am happiest being out in nature. I always find something interesting and I love the discovery of it all. Today I spotted sun shining through some leaves and it made me so happy. Something so simple to bring a smile to my face.

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Of course sometimes I also find things that are sad or funny. Today I spotted a squirrel. I was watching him and then couldn’t help but notice he has a light night bolt on his forehead. HARRY POTTER are you a squirrel!

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OUR HARRY POTTER SQUIRREL

The temperature was quickly raising. It was getting hot again even at the elevation we were at. That coupled with the fact that neiter of us has really slept made us decide to leave. It was time, we had our fun and now it is time to go back to the real world.

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IT WAS SO HOT MY PHONE DECIDED TO TAKE AN EMERGENCY TEMPERATURE BREAK

It was a fabulous road trip with added flair because it was so last minute and so unorganized. Trips like this feed my soul and make me feel a little less sad and a little less lonely. Plus a road trip with your best friend is always a good idea.

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MY CALIFORNIA SISTER

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1 comment:

paul peggy zeus said...

So many good pictures, I especially liked the leaf with the white fringe.

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