Sunday Stills: Are You Ready for the Great #Outdoors?

Walking dogs on a trail

As you read last week, the northern hemisphere experienced the summer solstice and people are heading for the great outdoors. According to the US National Park Service and National Today, June is Great Outdoors Month. There are still 4 days left in June to get outdoors and of course, that door is still open next month and all year long!

I wanted to title this post: “Can you handle the great outdoors after a pandemic?” But no, enough about it! While some countries still struggle with vaccinating its populace, here in the US, most of us are out and about with few restrictions. Make no mistake, Covid is still floating around, so stay safe if you find yourself around a crowd of people.

“During Great Outdoors Month, I encourage all Americans to explore our Nation’s beautiful outdoor spaces. As we enjoy the great outdoors — from national parks to our own backyards — let us rededicate ourselves to conserving our Nation’s natural spaces for our own well-being, and for the health, safety, prosperity, and fulfillment of generations to come.”

US President Joseph Biden

Ways to Celebrate “Great Outdoors” Month and Beyond

Take a Vacation!

Summer in the Northern Hemisphere is prime vacation time. Join Marsha at Always Write for her weekly feature Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays Writing Challenge, where “vacation” is the theme. I commented back with now that I am retired, every day feels like a vacation. Hard to get used to but I’m managing!

“A vacation helps to relieve stress and boredom, gives us a change of scenery, provides us with adventure, and helps to bring us closer to the people in our lives.”

E. S. Woods

“Life’s short. Eat dessert first, work less and vacation MORE!!”

Lea Mishell
Breakfast in Waikiki

I enjoyed my first Hawaiian breakfast outdoors on the lanai of our beach-front hotel in Waikiki (Oahu) in January 2006.

Enjoy Backyard Birding!

Join a birding or photography group. I follow Spokane Birders on Facebook but I hope to find some fellow local birders to learn more about birds in the area.

Backyard Birdwatching
Anna Hummingbird

“Bird watching is now North America’s second most popular outdoor activity (second only to gardening).”

Bernd Brunner

Hike a Trail!

“And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.”

John Muir

Over Memorial Day weekend, we got to take my daughter and boyfriend on an easy hike to a local area along the Spokane River called the Bowl and Pitcher, in Riverside State Park, just minutes from our new home. Large blocks of basaltic rock lie in and above the Spokane River in the formation of the bowl (right) and pitcher (left).

Walk the dogs. Another trail, just 100 yards from our house, is a great place to walk the dogs. With this heat wave, we get up early to accomplish this!

“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.”

Henry David Thoreau
Walking dogs on a trail
This tree-lined path is a prequel to Becky B’s July Squares

Stop to smell a flower. Remember the earlier quote about gardening being the number one outdoor activity? Plant a garden or simply admire flowers and plants. Sharing for Cees’ Flower of the Day.

More Ways to Celebrate Great Outdoors Month and Beyond

In your backyard or neighborhood
Throw a block party. Grill in your backyard. Start or join a walking club. Relax and read a book on your porch.

In public lands...go camping. Plan a picnic. Swim, kayak, or boat on an ocean, lake, or river. Go fishing.

Visit a National Park!

Painnted Half Dome
View of Yosemite’s Half Dome from Glacier Point

In case you REALLY need ideas, visit 125 Ways to Celebrate Nature!

Hot Blogger Links

Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. Below are the last week’s links from bloggers who shared their favorite sunrise and sunset photos as we celebrated the solstice. Please visit a few when you get the chance and welcome three bloggers as they share their posts for the first time at Sunday Stills!

Be sure to visit my Sunday Stills page for July’s themes. There is no challenge for July 4 as I celebrate Independence Day. But I will see you for Lisa’s Bird Weekly challenge on July 2. Get outdoors and be safe!

© 2021 Copyright—All rights reserved—secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: Celebrating #Pets and #Kids

Aero in sweater

Monday, April 26 is National Kids and Pets Day, so let’s share our favorite images of kids and pets. Last week I hinted at some ideas to get you thinking:

No kids or pets? Improvise! Images of other’s kids or grandkids will work, as well as any kinds of images of animal, bird, reptile, fish or critter. Anything goes, so have fun with this theme.

My kids are all grown up, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t celebrate them. Now that we live two states away, I miss my daughters, but we talk regularly.

For my only photo of little kids, I captured my grand niece and nephew last fall playing joyfully in the garden in grandma’s front yard. They gleefully unearthed roly-polies and made little leaf houses for them, at least the ones that didn’t flee. I used to love playing in the dirt, how about you?

My “kids” nowadays happen to be our sweet dogs Aero and Brodie. They love carousing around their new half-acre backyard chasing balls and sticks.

Aero prefers his sweater when visiting our nearby relatives.

Brodie on alert in this image taken in Bend, Oregon, where we got the good idea to eventually build a rural or pine-pole fence around our place. Five to six feet high fences are designed to keep the dogs in and the deer, coyotes and moose out!

Aero sort of photobombed this shot of our new welcome mat sent from my brother.

A “painted” version of Aero enjoying a warm RV a couple of months ago.

Brodie remembering the good times playing in the river at the Sacramento delta.

Wind blowing dog's ear

Are Backyard Birds Pets?

For years, while living in Sacramento, I enjoyed a wide variety of birds that regularly visited my backyard. I enjoyed several generations of kites, members the hawk family, for more than 20 years. The kites nested in the huge pine trees in our yard.

Bird of Prey Kite

Every once in a while I would get an unusual bird like this black-headed grosbeak, a “fake finch,” which surprisingly belongs to the cardinal family. Sharing for Lisa’s Bird Weekly, Birds with letter F.

Black headed Grosbeak
Black-headed Grosbeak

By far, I enjoyed generations of Anna’s hummingbirds that fed and nested in my backyard. They got quite tame and “let” me take their pictures! I put out some bird feeders in our new backyard, but no hummers yet! I miss these little guys!

The Lens-Artists challenge invites us to explore the relationship with those things that are dear to us and how they affect us. As you have read, my dogs are an integral part of our lives. The birds I have photographed over the years are beloved to me as well and I thank God for nature and this beautiful world in which we live.

House Happenings

Since I’m still struggling along without wi-fi in the house, my photography has slowed down. I managed to upload these two images of our home using the WordPress Mobile app then edited on the laptop using the hotspot. This process works for now. I have 100s of images that need to be uploaded and edited and I need to hang out at a neighbor’s house to use their wi-fi. Soon.

Today I share two quick pics of our finished dining room and a view from our back deck into the house.

Aero managed to photobomb yet another picture. All about pets, right?

View from dining room, and living room from back deck

Sunday Stills Photo Challenge Reminders

  • Please create a new post for the theme or link a recent one.
  • Title your blog post a little differently than mine.
  • Don’t forget to create a pingback to this post so that other participants can read your post. I also recommend adding your post’s URL into the comments.
  • Entries for this theme can be posted all week.
  • Use hashtag #SundayStills for sharing on social media.

Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. I sure enjoyed catching up with everyone last week! I was so thrilled to see so many purple/violet/lavender images shared by you all.

“No Shrinking Violets” from Last Week’s Links

May themes are listed on my Sunday Stills page. May 2nd’s theme is water. If you followed my blog long enough, you might remember that May is Water Safety Month, and my former identity as an aquatics director rears its head as I still enjoy promoting water safety. Water in any form, from droplets to oceans will be welcomed.

Sharing for Becky B’s Bright Squares

Looking forward to seeing your images of kids and pets! Have a great week!

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© 2021 Copyright—All rights reserved—secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: #Feeding Those Birds!

Grosbeak Feeder

February is National Bird Feeding Month if you are wondering what inspired the Sunday Stills challenge theme this week.

Black-Billed Grosbeak

I shared a similar post last year about the need to provide food for the birds, especially in the winter months. By February in the northern hemisphere, seeds, grains and other feed are buried under snow and mud or already eaten.

In addition to sharing some images of birds at their feeders, I have a a couple of hawk images to share, in response to Lisa’s Bird Weekly challenge. The image is of the White-tailed Kite family we had living in our former neighborhood in Sacramento.

At twilight, as many as 20 kites would fly in search of their food–rodents, small birds, and small dogs (just kidding?). Make no mistake, these are medium-sized birds of prey, with wingspans from 35-40 inches.

Kites sharing the top of a tree

I posted this image of this Red-Tailed hawk flying high above the Valley of Fire State park near Las Vegas, Nevada. In search of a tasty rodent, no doubt!

Hawk flies over Valley of Fire state park

Now that the hawks are feeding, here are some images of birds in my former backyard in Sacramento.

No new bird photos yet from Spokane, except a few bald eagles.

Waiting is For the Birds

If we were having coffee today while waiting to feed the birds, I use the above expression to punctuate the slowness of waiting for our home to be built. Yep, every week I have an update, but this week, things finally got moving! Four weeks after our contractor scheduled the electrician to install the meter, the pedestal was set at the end of January. But, I still had to put in a new residential application with our electric company. I could not apply in early January because, as our address is brand new, it did not show up in Google Maps so the electric company had no way to verify the address. Um, really? What did the world do before Google Maps? This application process only took two days, but it took another two weeks to schedule a meeting with the engineer. On one of the snowiest days of the year so far, was the day we met him at the site.

During that time, the state of Washington inspected and passed the work. This week, the engineer approved everything, and gave our contractor the green light to install the conduit to the electrical box on the property, which was placed Wednesday. The crew was also busy working on the home, attaching plumbing lines and other work. I almost cried with relief to see work being done for a change.

I paid the construction fee Thursday morning to the electric company and the construction office called me an hour later and is in the process of scheduling someone to run the wiring. Keep your fingers crossed this happens within a few days. I still predict that it will be the end of March before we can completely move into the home. Did you enjoy some hot coffee while reading? Sure looks cold, doesn’t it?

Feeling Drained and Bird-Brained

As if this wasn’t enough, two major life events happened this week. Sadly, my mother-in-law passed away peacefully in her sleep on Valentine’s Day, at age 89, after suffering strokes and living with Alzheimer’s for several years. We attended a viewing on Saturday and a more formal memorial service is scheduled in March.

On a happy note, I started a new part-time job at Spokane Community College working with disabled students to help them integrate into the community. And you thought I was going to stay retired…nope! More about this in another post!

I’m adding this post to Denyse’s link up Life this Week!

Sunday Stills Photo Challenge Reminders

  • Please create a new post for the theme or link a recent one.
  • Title your blog post a little differently than mine.
  • Don’t forget to create a pingback to this post so that other participants can read your post. I also recommend adding your post’s URL into the comments.
  • Entries for this theme can be shared all week.
  • Use hashtag #SundayStills for sharing on social media.

Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. Each week I will share the links on the following post so you can continue to meet and support each other. And with that…

A Rosy Round-Up

Pease visit these 35 bloggers who shared their rosy-red images last week, and welcome our new friends to Sunday Stills!

Remember to feed the birds the rest of this month and beyond! I’m looking forward to your creative images and ideas!

Bitmoji Birding

© 2021 Copyright—All rights reserved—secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: Kinda Backyard #Birding

Hummingbird ready to feed

This week’s Sunday Stills’ post is partially inspired by Lisa’s Weekly Bird Challenge. What kinda birds live or visit in your backyard?

As you read in my post last week, I have enjoyed my backyard as a happy place. Not a huge backyard, but it does the job with the 5 redwood trees I planted which attract a variety of birds. The sunflower seeds and various bird feeders also attract a nice variety of birds and offer a treat to boot!

Blue jay contorts to get some yummy treats!
Bluejay contorts to get some yummy treats!

The Backyard Hums

My hummingbird feeders sing their sweet siren call to the local hummers who nest here most of the year and offer a syrupy sip.

Hummingbird ready to feed
Hummingbird quartet at feeder

In the above image, four thirsty hummingbirds manage to share the feeder.

I tried my hand at the image compare feature of the block editor to show that the squared version for Becky’s KindaSquare challenge doesn’t look as good as the original as seen above, since it cuts out one hummer.

Hummingbird enjoying his shower
Hummer after the rain
Puffed up hummingbird enjoying the rain

Do Kites Fly?

Kite on a wire

Our redwoods are home to nests of White-tailed Kites, a bird of prey from the hawk family.

As recently as the 1940s, this graceful hawk was considered rare and endangered in North America, restricted to a few sites in California and Texas. In recent decades, it has increased greatly in numbers and spread into many new areas.

https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/white-tailed-kite
Kites sharing the top of a tree

Each day at twilight they gracefully circle the neighborhood on the hunt for abundant small rodents! The first family of kites moved here 20 years ago.

Kites Birds of Prey

These birds are large, with a wingspan of 35-40 inches! We’ve seen several generations of them over the years and our moderate climate in Northern California keeps them here all year long. I’ve seen as many as 20 filling the skies at sunset as they hunt. Quite a sight.

My images are a tad fuzzy since the sun was setting and the birds are in the branches 300 feet up!

Other Visitors and Other Backyards

Swallow

I’ve kinda considered the Sacramento Delta as our backyard these last 11 years, as we maintain a campsite there all summer. Swallows nest in the spring here and sometimes think it’s OK to nest in our sail shed.

You may remember this cutie from July. A blogger told me that it is Black-headed Grosbeak!

Black headed Grosbeak
Black-headed Grosbeak

Some of these are square images inspired in part by and Becky B’s KindaSquares Challenge. Bird treats and eye candy were also inspired by the Lens-Artists Challenge theme “Quite a Treat.”

I like that Lisa has her weeks planned out with the theme for each type of bird. If you enjoy birding as much as some of your fellow bloggers, please visit her page for more inspiration. How I wish I could capture all these types of birds on her list with my own lens! I’m still holding out for the American Bald Eagle.

Some of these birds have been nesting in some old blog posts and image files. They are happy to be viewed today! I would love to see what kinds of birds visit your backyard and while you are at it, do link to Lisa’s weekly bird challenge!

© 2020 Copyright-All rights reserved-secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: Kinda #Dry

Dried and gone to seed

If you haven’t guessed it, this week’s Sunday Stills theme is DRY. I’m using the literal version of dry, as in lack of water, to share my version of dry.

This post marks my first entry to Becky B’s October Kinda Squares Photo Challenge. Many of my photos today are square, some are not.

Last week’s images featuring water droplets displayed my yearning for cool temperatures, less heat, and an end to smokey skies caused by wildfires. This time of year in Northern California is very dry, usually through mid-November. Most people’s lawns are dry, a choice many make to save water.

In this image below, taken during our drought in 2015, even the public parks were rarely watered. Parks crews did make sure that trees got some water due to the need to maintain the Sacramento area’s urban forest.

Dry Park during droubt

The surrounding mountain ranges including the Coast Range and the Sierra Nevada Range are also notoriously dry in summer and Fall. The excessive dry underbrush acts as dry tinder to fuel wildfires.

In the mountain and foothill areas, the wildfires tend to spark due to dry lightning from stray thunderstorms that form from monsoon moisture coming from the south and southwest.

Now that you have had a dry lecture on geography and weather, let’s get started with my images depicting our dry area.

Many of the plants in my backyard have withered in their natural cycle. My once glorious sunflowers have gone to seed from this stunner…

Macro view of sunflower

…to this withering bloom…

Drying sunflower

…to this bounty of seeds…

Sunflower gone to Seed

…and finally, to this…completely dry, but starkly beautiful.

Dried and gone to seed

The birds love those sunflower seeds. I harvested loads of seeds to be used for planting next year and to send some to my daughter for her garden.

Speaking of birds, Lisa’s bird weekly challenge is macro or close-up birds. This close-up of one of my loyal backyard hummingbirds is seen perched on a dry twig of our California Redwoods.

Closeup view of Hummingbird
Hummingbird close-up

In another close-up, this fella seems to be yearning for liquid refreshment in the dry bird feeder. Oops!

Hummingbird and Dry Feeder

As I said, Northern California is dry everywhere. The last of these dry grapes in nearby Apple Hill will not yield any wine. Raisins, anyone?

dried wine grapes
Dried grapes AKA raisins

Further south in Mammoth Lakes located in the Eastern Sierra Nevadas, the desert shows its dry heart along the shores of salty Mono Lake.

Dry desert around Mono Lake

With dry weather, comes dust! We quickly raised our car windows when we slowed down for a sheep migration on highway 395 returning from the Mammoth Lakes area.

Sheep Crossing Dusty Highway

This week’ images are inspired and submitted for the following blog photo challenges:
Cee’s Flower of the Day
Lisa’s Weekly Bird Challenge
Becky B’s October Kinda Squares

Is it dry where you live? Share your dry images and other creative ideas or your dry sense of humor with us at Sunday Stills this week. Remember, you can link all week.

© 2020 Copyright-All rights reserved-secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: #Wild and #Weird Perspectives

Wing Surfers

This week’s theme of “wild and weird” offers photobloggers a chance to share your random photos for Sunday Stills. You know, the ones you take that you can’t classify or end up in the miscellaneous file?

I have quite the collection, but will share just a few with you today.

Take Your Medicine…

…If you can catch it. I take a daily medication each morning and sometimes if I have a headache I add some behind-the-counter Sudafed (red pills) and aspirin. One morning, as I placed the handful on the counter, they fell into this pattern.

Pills

Amazing the tiny little Sudafed even stayed on its side! Of course, I ran to get my phone and capture the weird moment. Yes, I felt better after I swallowed them.

WING Surfing? Say what now?

Wing, not wind! Most of you know we spend summer weekends in the Sacramento River Delta. Because of COVID, we got a delayed start but drove down to the County park for a day trip in early May. Hubby windsurfed while I sat in the truck bundled up against the too cool wind. Out in the water, I kept seeing what I thought was a kiteboarder struggling with his sail in the water. A moment later, I looked again and saw this:

Wing Surfers

I had my good camera with me and zoomed in and stood in awe as I watched the birth of a new water sport: wing surfing, also called wing foiling. Foiling is a newer sport that adds a special hydrofoil to a modified windsurf board or kiteboard. The foil has a propeller that pushes the board above the waves and surf for a smoother ride.

The wing is connected to a leash attached to both the wrist and ankle, so it doesn’t get lost with the inevitable crash, or fly away out of control.

“Although it was conceived to be used with a foil board, it can also be adopted for riding stand-up paddleboards (SUP), windsurf and kiteboards, and even skateboards and snowboards. It is also a lot of fun on a big touring SUP board. It’s difficult to paddle when it’s windy, especially with five or ten knots. With an inflatable wing, it’s easy and entertaining,” notes Robby Naish, the developer of the Wing-Surfer.”



https://www.surfertoday.com/surfing/what-is-wing-surfing

I would try it with my paddleboard, sans foil…

How Does a Bumble Bee Fly?

bumblebee on sweetpea

Did you know that bumblebees should not be able to fly, based on their large bodies and disproportionate small wings? According to a 2005 study, high-speed photography showed that they flap their wings back and forth rather than up and down, reminiscent of hummingbirds.

“The wing sweeping is a bit like a partial spin of a helicopter propeller, researcher Michael Dickinson, a professor of biology and insect flight expert at the University of Washington. The angle to the wing also creates vortices in the air — like small hurricanes. The eyes of those mini-hurricanes have lower pressure than the surrounding air, so, keeping those eddies of air above its wings helps the bee stay aloft.”

https://www.livescience.com/57509-bumblebee-facts.html

Speaking of Insects

Have you ever seen a dragon fly? Maybe not a “real” dragon–wouldn’t that be weird!

orange dragonfly

Of course, we have, but this rust-colored one that has been hanging around my backyard lately is spectacular.

Backyard Alien Bird

My backyard attracts quite a few birds when the feeders are full, including hummingbirds, crows, kites, turkeys, robins, blue jays, mockingbirds, and finches.

But this guy is one I’ve never seen before and he put on quite the show with his acrobatics on the feeder. I took a LOT of photos. Anyone know what kind of bird this is? I’m thinking some kind of finch as I look at his beak. Hopefully, they will stay away from the dragonflies!

A Neighbor’s Alien Flower

Out during my usual dog-walking, and mesmerized by a neighbor’s sunflower in April, I spotted this unusual flower.

passionflower

I’ve never seen anything like it and it looks like several different parts of other flowers cobbled together. It took my brother-in-law who lived in Chile until age 9 to recognize it as a passionflower! Who knew? And how is it growing in hot, dry Sacramento? Pretty, but weird. Sharing for Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Over the Moon

And speaking of alien and spacey subjects, June 20th is the 51st anniversary of the US moon landing. Because you have seen all my moon shots, how about a weird shot of a SpaceX launch caught flying over the top of our family home in San Diego in December 2017?

SpaceX Launch
SpaceX Launched 10 satellites into space from Southern California

Or this image of apple pie flavored moonshine to celebrate? I may feel a little weird and spacey after a couple of shots of this stuff!

Got moonshine?
Got moonshine?

Wild and weird images create fun and unique perspectives and are also submitted for Becky B’s Square Perspectives Challenge.

I look forward to your wild and weird photos this week for Sunday Stills. C’mon, you know you have them! Dust them off and share away!

Until next week!

© 2020 Copyright-All rights reserved-secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: For the #Birds

hummingbird ready to feed

What’s up with the expression “for the birds?” Easy enough to google…it’s an expression that “became army slang for anything that was pointless, ridiculous, or simply without value to any but the most pathetic or least capable.”

Someone who announces, “that idea is for the birds” is saying the idea is useless or meaningless. A very negative connotation indeed.

Last time I looked, the birds I’ve seen are more than capable of surviving, feeding, and flourishing.

All negativity aside, did you know that February is National Bird Feeding Month? Yes, it’s really a thing!

The month was established in 1994 by Illinois Congressman, John Porter .

According to Feed the Birds, February is recognized as one of the most difficult months in much of the U.S. for birds to survive in the wild.

https://lansingwbu.blogspot.com/2019/02/february-is-national-bird-feeding-month.html

I thought we could all enjoy an early spring or at least dream about spring as the birds gather for feeding.

Feel free to dip into your archives or add any new images of birds, waterfowl, any feathered friends will do.

Your posts, photos, and creative ideas may be all about birds this week, but certainly won’t be “for the birds.” If you are lucky to already be enjoying birds visiting your neighborhoods and backyards this month, share the love and FEED them.

This guy was all over this feeder last year. I have to be careful in my backyard because all the trees attract large birds of prey like the kite below as well as owls and hawks. Apparently, the feeder attracts the pesky squirrels too.

Blue jay contorts to get some yummy treats!
Blue jay contorts to get some yummy treats!
Bird of Prey Kite
Neighborhood Kite Waiting

Several years ago, while in Baja, Mexico, I took this photo of a falcon that had just captured a fish from the Sea of Cortez. I watched in amazement as the bird wrangled the still flopping fish onto the cactus and prepared to feed! (Taken in 2013 with an older cell phone so photo quality is not great, but you get the idea!)

Falcon feeding on a fish
Falcon feeding on live fish

Our band of suburban turkeys always find something to feed on.

Neighborhood turkeys feeding in front yards

Even in February, Anna’s hummingbirds expect their feeder to be full of juice!

hummingbird ready to feed
Ready to eat!
Hummingbirds' quest for food
Quest for food
Is a hummingbird really ever satisfied?
Is a hummingbird really ever satisfied?

If feeding birds brings you joy this week, cheer someone up by sharing photos of our feathered friends by linking with Cee’s On the Hunt for Joy Challenge.

Woman and parrot
My daughter enjoying a bird display at Balboa Park in San Diego

Feel free to dip into your archives or add any new images of birds and waterfowl. Any photos of our feathered friends will do.

I am looking forward to your capturing their feeding antics or perhaps some close-ups of our bird visitors with your talented lenses and other creative ideas.

Have a great week!

© 2020 Copyright-All rights reserved-secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: Creatures and Critters with #Wings

Pink Lady Butterfly

This week’s Sunday Stills photography challenge is all about creatures and critters, big or small, insect or mammal, bird or reptile, ugly or beautiful.

I’m choosing to add creatures with wings to my selections today, well, just because. They need to tell their stories.

Pink Lady Butterfly

On a recent trip to the Sierra Nevada Gold Country to visit my dad (so happy to get a change of scenery!) I mistakenly thought this butterfly enjoying her sweet pea nectar was a monarch. A sharp-eyed Facebook friend said it was a pink lady, very similar to the monarch. I was just so thrilled to capture her in my lens close-up; I didn’t really care.

Birding in My Backyard

“Bird watching is now North America’s second most popular outdoor activity (second only to gardening).”

Bernd Brunner

In April, enjoying spring in the Sacramento Delta, I used the fabulous 25-600 zoom lens of my Lumix FZ300 to capture raven perched on the edge of a tree overlooking the Sacramento River. Framed within the blue sky, raven fills the bill for Becky B’s Blue Squares in July photo challenge.

Creatures and Critters

In my suburban neighborhood, (Sacramento is Tree City USA), I enjoy backyard birding observing the owls, kites, turkeys, and hummingbirds. Although I cannot boast about capturing owls with my lens, the others have put on shows over the years.

Bird of Prey Kite
White-Tailed Kite

For years, we’ve had large flocks of birds of prey that nest in the tall trees in our neighborhood. They hunt at twilight and fly all over the neighborhood. At first, I thought they were seagulls, then I pulled out the binoculars and saw their masked faces. I had always assumed they were ospreys, but a friend clarified that they were white-tailed kites, as he watched them one evening!

“In order to see birds, it is necessary to become a part of the silence.”

Robert Lynd
Kites Birds of Prey
Kite family loves our redwood

Sorry for the grainy images, but they fly at dusk and my camera was still set to auto!

One evening last October, I happened to look through the sliding door and saw several wild turkeys perched on the roof of the house behind our backyard! I counted at least 20 of them! These two flew up to the telephone pole to have a look around. These are the same ones that placidly stroll around the neighborhoods the day after Thanksgiving.

roosting turkeys

Of course, I had to include another pic of my resident hummingbirds who live here all year long.

Hummingbird feeding

“I don’t feed the birds because they need me; I feed the birds because I need them.”

Kathi Hutton

What sorts of creatures and critters can you share for Sunday Stills this week?

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© 2019 Copyright-All rights reserved-secondwindleisure.com

Another Redhead: Cee’s Black & White Challenge

Black and white image of woodpecker with red head

I have been busy on the blog this week, so this post is short and sweet as I share my black and white version of this woodpecker.

Back in early 2017, with my new Lumix camera in tow, I strode along the American River Bike Trail hoping for some good photo ops! Although it was late January, it was a sunny day and birds were out. I was so excited to see Mr. Woodpecker here.

Woodpecker in black and white

Cee’s challenge accepts black and white photos with these elements: I chose the third one to highlight the pop of red on his little birdy head.

  • Black and white photography
  • Sepia tones (browns)
  • Selective color with the majority of the photo being in black and white
  • Desaturated – very little color tone left in your photo

Here he is in full color with minimal post-editing. I zoomed in on him quite a bit, and was pleased with the clarity.

 

Black and white photo beachFeel free to join Cee’s Black and White Photography Challenge every Thursday where she provides a new theme.

If you are on Instagram and enjoy challenges, check out the Instagram Summer Photo Challenge that begins July 1st.

Sunday Stills themes for July are ready for planning purposes, too!

Camera graphic