Category Archives: Birds

A little late for Halloween

Picture of the Moment

I am having a great time creating calendars for sale. I have six at my Etsy shop so far: Succulents, Spirals, Roses, Orchids, Cats and Dogs. My seventh calendar will feature birds. All priced at $20 with free USPS first class shipping in the United States. Not yet shipping internationally.

One thing that I am trying to do with my calendars is match colors to the months. For example, I use white flowers, white cats, and white dogs for December. For October, I’m using orange for Halloween. For my birds calendar, this little one obviously is going to be my October bird. Props if you know its name. No, it’s not Freddy or Chucky.

Muscovy duck

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Out & About—Dana Point, California

Out & About       Halls of History

On Friday I drove 77 miles to Dana Point, California, to take a 3-hour ride on the tall ship Spirit of Dana Point. The occasion was the opening of the 35th Annual Tall Ships & Ocean Festival hosted by Ocean Institute.

Since these events are quite popular in Southern California, I left at 4:00 a.m. to get there earlier than everyone else so that I could get good parking. I parked and walked around the harbor watching the sun rise.

9/6/2019 sunrise in Dana Point harbor, California

In the 1830s and 1840s, the natural harbor was a popular port for ships bringing supplies to the Mission San Juan Capistrano located nearby.  The earliest known visit to the harbor was in 1818. Argentine sailor Hippolyte de Bouchard anchored in the harbor while conducting a raid on the mission.

Dana Point was incorporated as a city on January 1, 1989, and had a population of 33,351 in the 2010 census. The city was named after the headland of Dana Point, which was named after Richard Henry Dana Jr., author of Two Years Before the Mast, published in 1840, who had docked his ship, Pilgrim, in the harbor in 1835.

Dana Point headland

Two Years Before the Mast is an account of the Pilgrim’s 1834-35 voyage between Boston and California. In it, Dana described the area as the only romantic spot on the coast.

Pilgrim was a sailing brig 86½ feet long and weighing 180 tons. It had been built in Boston in 1825 and went down in a fire at sea in 1856. There is a full-size replica at the Ocean Institute in the harbor at Dana Point.

Full size replica of Pilgrim, Ocean Institute, Dana Point, California

Pilgrim used to sail but it is in need of major repairs. Right now the money isn’t available to make those repairs, so it appears to be permanently docked at this time.

The harbor is quite beautiful and a joy to walk around watching people, boats, wildlife, sunrises, and sunsets.

Dana Point, California, harbor

Dana Point Harbor, California

Dana Point Harbor, California

Dana Point Harbor, California

Pelican at Dana Point, California

Person at Dana Point, California

Sunset at Dana Point, California

Coming up next: More about the Ocean Institute.

Double R Creations & Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

Out & About—Hawk Watch in Ramona, California

Out & About The World

I went to Hawk Watch on 1/5/2019 in Ramona CA, courtesy of the Wildlife Research Institute.

In my 63 years 9 months and 26 days on Earth, it ranks as one of the Top 10 most interesting things I have ever done. Got to see gyrfalcon, pygmy falcon, peregrine falcon, American kestrel, ferruginous hawk, and red-tailed hawk.

I got bopped on the head by the wings of a diving peregrine falcon. Afterwards, we had a field trip where I got to see my first bald eagle nest in the wild and a juvenile bald eagle in the wild.

I took 458 pictures, so it will take me a little while to catalog all of them. Here are two pictures of the gyrfalcon, the largest of the falcons and, as far as I’m concerned, the most beautiful. It’s from the Arctic.

Gyrfalcon at Hawk Watch in Ramona CA on 1/5/19

Gyrfalcon at Hawk Watch in Ramona CA on 1/5/19

Hawk Watch occurs every weekend in January and February, and next Saturday, 1/12/2019, all those birds will be back, accompanied by some owls, including a Great Horned Owl. I guess you know where I will be next Saturday.

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Gull taking home some food

You can take some home

My wise old grandmother

Whenever my wise old grandmother (MWOG) took me out to eat, inevitably I could not eat everything that the restaurant served me. MWOG often told me, “Just because the restaurant served it to you doesn’t mean you have to eat it all now. You can take some home.”

In her afterlife, I believe she has been counseling some fauna here on Earth:

Squirrel taking home some food

Gull taking home some food

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

My Own Little World—Construction of the Wildlife Corner pond

I live in my own little world

I put 12 hours of effort on Friday into creating a pond where my little tired and thirsty honeybees will be happy.

Following are three pictures documenting construction.

All I have to do now is add some little sandy beaches so the honeybees can live the good life and add some plants to provide shelter and shade.

Pond in Wildlife Corner

Pond in Wildlife Corner

Pond in Wildlife Corner

During the 12 hours that I spent building the Wildlife Corner Pond, lots of wildlife came by to see what I was doing. A couple of rabbits watched me from a small hill in the open space preserve on the other side of the chain link fence. Four ground squirrels watched me from an area that I call “Ground Squirrel Hill,” also on the other side of the chain link fence. And seven yellow birds—I have no idea what kind of birds they are but I have never seen them before—sat on the wood fence and in the trees above the fence watching me. I suspect the new water source in Wildlife Corner will draw even more wildlife, especially birds, than I am accustomed to seeing each day.

Two yellow birds watching construction

Rabbit and squirrelsAfter construction was completed and the pond was full of water—and I was inside—lots of birds stopped by. Several curve-billed thrashers, lots of sparrows, a western scrub jay, and many honeybees. The fact that some honeybees already have discovered this new water source gives me encouragement that I’ll be able to coax the honeybees from the front pond to the new Wildlife Corner pond. I think the rabbits and ground squirrels already had gone to bed for the evening so I look forward to seeing how they react when I put out food for them in about seven hours.

All pictures were taken with my smarty pants phone since I’m not taking $2,000 worth of camera equipment out into a construction zone full of dirt and water.

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Picture of the Moment—Point of Impact

Picture of the Moment

Pelicans are one of my favorite birds to watch in the wild.

I grew up in Kingsville, Texas, (Gulf Coast) and spent a lot of time surfing on South Padre Island National Seashore during high school. I have lived here in San Diego since April 1993. I have been able to spend a lot of time watching pelicans and taking their pictures.

I have a few billion pictures of them flying through the air with the greatest of ease. Until this past weekend in Santa Cruz, California, I had never seen a pelican fishing. Usually they just sit around on shore, or a pier, or a fishing site, waiting for scraps from fisherpeople. One can often see crowds of them following a fishing boat returning from the Pacific Ocean.

In Santa Cruz, they weren’t waiting around for anything. They were doing their own fishing, and I caught one of them at the end of his dive, at the point of impact with the water. Click on the picture below and you can see very clearly the fish that Mr. Pelican had his eye on.

Point of Impact

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post