Saturday, October 27, 2012


After my climb at Mt. Beacon in New York, I decided I needed to practice climbing hills here in San Diego.  The seaside town next to my home has just those type of hills, so I walked to Ocean Beach, which I consider to be an eclectic community and worth a visit.  It has residential streets that run East from the beach through the business area to the top of a ridge and continue down into Point Loma.  On the way, along West Point Loma Boulevard towards the Famosa Slough, I noticed a Snowy Egret up in a tree one block short of the Slough (bird refuge).  See photo below. 

As I neared the entrance of the Slough (West side), I checked out a large tree where I had seen a Night Heron in late August.  As I looked up, there it was.  Of course, I had to take a look to see what other shore birds I might see.  Near the reeds in the Slough, I spotted what might be a juvenile Black-Crowned Night Heron.

Black-Crowned Night Heron

Black-Crowned Night heron

Juvenile Night Heron

When I reached the town of Ocean Beach, I embarked on the hill.  I don't know how high I walked, but it was quite a climb.  After my uphill walk, I made my way down the local streets until I reached the Famosa Slough.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that I hadn't missed the bird migration.  Swimming near the front of the East side of the Slough, were two Western Grebes with strikingly long white necks.  I always hope to see a bird I haven't seen before, so this filled the bill, no pun intended.

Western Grebe

Western Grebes
A Bevy of Terns
I was happy to see killdeers but they were too far away to get a good photo  They have two stripes across their chests, giving the appearance that they are wearing sweaters.  Hearing an abrupt flutter,  I turned to see a flock of terns taking off.  In another part of the Eastern side of Famosa Slough (near West Point Loma Blvd.) I saw a group of Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets, as well as a Great Blue Heron.  An aloof Night Heron was posted on the incline it was overseeing the group.  Except for a few Snowy Egrets, they were all getting along.  I've previously observed that Snowy Egrets are very territorial.   In the two years I've been visiting the Slough, this is the first time I've seen this many so close together.

Check out the wingspan
Thus, I concluded my enjoyable three hour walk.

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

October Jaunts

I just returned from New York after meeting my beautiful and newest granddaughter.  Since I have three daughters in the area, I moved from house to house weekly.  This gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in family activities and spend time with the grandchildren.  It also, hopefully, provided the families with some semblance of normalcy, as their company (me) was not around all the time.  I took the following picture in my daughter's yard in Beacon.

Rainbow from the sprinkler

With the warm summer in New York, Fall seemed arrive later than usual.   In Fishkill, the tree below was striking as its colors changed from the top down.

In Beacon, the Blue Jays had arrived and seemingly taken over.

On October 6 (Columbus Weekend, I went with my LaGrange daughter and her husband to Hunter Mountain to the October Fest.  We had rain.   After examining the venders' wares, we stepped outside to see the mist over the Mountain.  Then, as the skies started to clear, I caught the sun showing through the heavy clouds.

Hunter Mountain, NY
Hunter Mountain, NY

The next day, I accompanied my Beacon daughter and her family to Belleayre Mountain (photo below) for their Columbus Day celebration.  The whole family met there and we all enjoyed checking out the sales of the vendors, as well as the food.  I enjoyed walking part way up one of the trails with my 15 year old grandson.

Belleayre Mountain, NY

During my seven week visit, I took some walks in Beacon and LaGrange,  returning to the Rail Trail in LaGrange.   While on weekends the lane has a good amount of walkers and bikers, during the week, it is quieter.  I was disappointed that I didn't see deer in the woods.  I did see one while I was driving.  A deer poked its head out of a line of bushes on the side of the road, but thankfully didn't come out any further.  With the deer surrounded by greenery, it would have been a great photo op.

I was also able to visit the Walkway over the Hudson State Historic Park.  The Walkway's website states that "it is the longest pedestrian bridge in the world." (   It was built on top of an old abandoned railroad bridge, which spanned the Hudson River from Poughkeepsie to Highland.  It had been damaged by fire in 1974.   You can check out its interesting history by looking up the "Poughkeepsie Bridge" on Wikipedia.  If you use the parking lot near the Eastern entrance on 9G in Poughkeepsie, there is a charge of $5.00.  There is another parking lot at Pulaski Park on Washington Street.  This lot is free, but you will have to climb about three levels of stairs to get to the Walkway.  Either way, your walk should be quite enjoyable.

On my last weekend in New York, my grandson accompanied me up Mount Beacon, which is about 1,500 feet high.  He chose the Hemlock Gorge trail.  My grandson judged this trail to be easier for me as opposed to the fire road we took last year.   However, to me it was a rock filled creek with runoff from the mountain in several spots making it slippery.  We managed to get up about 750 feet with him holding my hand and helping me over some large fallen logs.  I think he developed more arm muscles that day.  To our left, as we climbed, was a lovely creek with waterfalls. We decided to end our trek, as the path was narrowing.  We thought we'd have to cross the creek on some rocks, which I was not prepared to do.  Even though we were deeply in the woods, I tried to take some pictures because the colors were beautiful.   As we descended the mountain, I thought the reflection of the tree line on the pond near the Water Tank was beautiful. 


I haven't made it up to the top of Mt. Beacon, yet.  If you look at the Scenic Hudson website, you can see the awesome view of the Hudson Valley that I want to see personally.  I'll try again next year.

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fall in NY

Two Butterflies
Butterfly in Fishkill NY near Hudson River

The Butterfly bush in Fishkill, NY, had more visitors.  Quite lovely and enjoyable to view.

 I spotted a Great Blue Heron during a walk at Long Dock Park in Beacon, NY on the Hudson River.  Catching it in a graceful flight was gratifying.

Great Blue Heron near Long Dock in Beacon, NY

A neighbor of my daughter's in Beacon has a bird station where I saw a Red-bellied Woodpecker (lower left).  Treading softly on the "Rail Trail" in LaGrange helped me photograph a Black-capped Chickadee (lower right).

On September 30, I attended the Spirit of Beacon Parade.  Various organizations, as well as the schools marched.  The marchers, in photo to the left, were dressed beautifully in their colorful gowns.  As I walked along the parade route, I spotted a happy crowd encircling a stage, waiting to hear Pete Seeger sing.  The parade was enjoyed by many residents.

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