Sunday, July 29, 2012

Mission Trails Regional Park

On Friday, I went to Mission Trails Regional Park in San Diego with my San Diego grandchildren and my daughter from Cardiff.   As we walked into the entrance to the Visitor's Center, there were automated recordings of the sounds of the animals found in the Park.  When we came through the door, a young man approached us to see if we needed any assistance.  It was evident that the main focus of the Center was education.

I was amazed that my 5 1/2 year old grandson remembered everything about the Center from his class trip in June.  And, I mean everything.  He was so happy to be there as he went from  exhibit to exhibit.  As we went up the ramp to the second floor, he practically danced.  As we reached the second floor, there were some exhibits that interested his sister, age 9.  She took the time to examine everything.  He, on the other hand, made a beeline for a video and stayed there taking it all in.  His mother, who later joined us, advised me that his field trip was for all the kindergarten children in his school, a total of 60 children.  So, I surmised that he had not had the opportunity to see the video that day and was happy to have it all to himself on Friday.

We returned to the Main Floor and went out the glass doors to view the Fortuna and Cowles Mountains (shown above).  The children weren't as interested in the view as I.  My grandson had his magnifying glass in his pocket and was soon examining the leaves of the plants along the walk.  Before long, his mother met us there and continued the tour with the children and I took my leave for an appointment in San Diego.

I enjoyed going to the Mission Trails Visitor's Center and would like to hike one of the trails someday.

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Bird Watching

When visiting my son and daughter-in-law in Redondo Beach, CA in early June, I discovered a Hummingbird's nest.  I took a picture of the empty nest to show how small it is.  Later the Hummingbird returned.  The second picture shows the bird sitting on the nest.  A while later, my son told me that three birds hatched and the children enjoyed watching the small birds from their window.


I was at the Famosa Slough in San Diego recently where there was little bird activity.  Then, I spotted what I think was a young Great Blue Heron right in front of me.

The Heron shown at the left below was just hanging out.  Then, along came another Heron.
After a few minutes, the second Heron took off, followed by the first.   They landed in a little island in the center of the Slough, where it appears to be nice and quiet.

Walked to the Famosa Slough twice this week.  On the first trip, a bird popped out of a fir tree about a block from the Slough.  The bird just stood on the cement wall long enough for me to whip out my camera and take its picture.  The bird was a Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk.  I had been looking for a hawk for my photo collection and was so surprised that it lingered long enough for me to take four photos.  Then, just a quickly, it popped back into the fir tree.

Juvenile Red-Shouldered Hawk

On Saturday, I returned to the Famosa Slough to attend a monthly Nature and Bird Walk.  I benefit from these walks because the bird watchers usually can identify a bird for me, since I'm such a "newbie."  I usually pore through pictures on the Internet to match the image I've photographed, but sometimes, I just can't find anything similar.  That's where these experienced bird watchers are such a resource.   Also, they are gracious and quite accommodating in helping a "newbie" in identifying birds.

On each visit, I had been watching for a Night Heron, but never found one.  However, this time, the tour leader pointed out a Juvenile Night Heron.  I had to take the photo through a chain link fence.  I've learned that you can't wait for perfect circumstances.

Juvenile Night Heron     
We proceeded to the other side of West Point Loma Blvd to see what we could find.  At the end of the property near the "8" (a major highway) were several Great Blue Herons, Great White Egrets and Snowy Egrets.  They were seemingly oblivious to the highway traffic nearby.  While I watching them, I spied a very small butterfly.    
As we returned to the east side of West Point Loma near the chain link fence, the Juvenile Night Heron had departed and in it's place was the "territorial" Snowy Egret that I wrote about months ago.  He apparently has no problem protecting what he considers his property.

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