Archive | December 2013

Happy New Year to you from Sequoia National Park in Winter!

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We are in the Land of the Giants, Sequoia NP, where the oldest trees are 3,200 years old, the tallest are 311 feet, and the heaviest 2.7 million pounds. Their bark can be up to 31 inches thick. Sequoia branches reach up to eight feet in diameter and their tree bases up to forty feet in diameter (Source: James D. Knoke).

We are spending New Years with the trees, and hardly any people. Due to California’s severe drought, many parts of the park not normally accessible in winter are open, and we are taking advantage of it! (Please click to enlarge).

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The satellite is not a happy camper up here which is why you haven’t heard from me for awhile, and we will see if I can get this post out. This is a shot of the sunset reflecting off the Sierras.

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Most Giant Sequoia’s have been able to withstand fires through the millenia, here are some scarred survivors.

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It is nippy up here but this lake should be frozen over and there should be at least 6-8 feet of snow.

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This is where the Giant Sequoias live,
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with their heads in the clouds! I envy them. They see us come and go.
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Jim likes these wise old trees and “finds tranquility here.” Here he is absorbing wisdom.
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I didn’t make this pinecone circle of love, someone else did, and left it for us here in the grove. Love & Peace to you from Sequoia! And the very Happiest & Healthiest New Year!

I Hear Lake Water Lapping with Low Sounds by the Shores….

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I hear it in the deep heart’s core- William Butler Yeats

(Please click to enlarge).

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We are spending the holidays with our family at pristine Lake Tahoe in Northern California.

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Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America.

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It is the second deepest lake in America, reaching depths of 1,645 feet.

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It is known for it’s pristine clarity.

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We are in a draught now in California, and although there is snow, there is not the typical 8 or so feet of it closing roads and making the lake almost inacessible.

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The lake views in winter are particularly beautiful!

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Perhaps the truth depends upon a walk around the lake- Wallace Stevens

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Cheers to you from Lake Tahoe, the skiing/boarding is not optimal, but the lake is purely divine!

Barn Owls, Holler Hawks in Flight & Happy Holidays to You!

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We met this barn owl in Antelope Valley California. (Please click to enlarge).

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He was rescued due to an injured wing and lives in a California state park named Velasquez Rocks (more on this park later).

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His name is Scooter and he is cared for by the Park Rangers.

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The Holler Hawks have been flying closer lately!

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Sometimes quite close over my head which is a big thrill.

 

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They have figured out I am not a threat to them.

 

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I can identify different hawks by their missing feathers.

 

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The best way to see a hawk of course is in free flight!

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Sending wishes for the Happiest of Holidays flying your way,

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From South Lake Tahoe!

 

Harris Hawks in Flight: Pt. III of IV

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Please click to enlarge. Hawk landing!

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Preparing to launch.

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Launching. Note hawk in the back preparing to follow.

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Another launch.

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Freedom!

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The joy of flight!

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Responding to call and returning to glove.

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Landing.

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Landing for Jim.

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Coming home! Oh don’t you wish you could fly?

We are on the road now en route to a family mountain ski trip for the holidays. Today we found and got close to more wild red tails and a barn owl. Stay tuned for Pt. IV, the red tails flying close ……and maybe an owl or two!

Cheers to you from the road!

Hanging Out with the Hawks: Pt. II (of III) The Harris Hawks!

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Meet the Harris Hawks! Click to enlarge. Please stay tuned to my next post (pt. III and maybe IV) to watch all the hawks in flight, what a sight!
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Here’s a sneak preview of them launching off! It was amazing to call them back to glove!

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We flew two Harris Hawks who usually hunt cooperatively in groups of 2-6, enabling them to catch larger prey like jack-rabbits.

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Harris Hawks are native to the southwestern United States, Chile and Argentina. The silver device you see on the hawks leg is a telemetric tracker in case the hawk were to get lost while flying.

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They are a highly social bird and are frequently trained by falconers.
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These hawks are working hawks who chase seagulls away from posh beachfront hotels in San Diego. Their presence alone is enough to scare the seagulls away.

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We flew them, watched them search, and called them back to hand!

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What a thrill! No wonder this has been the ancient art of kings and queens.


In fact, The earliest records of falconry date from Mesopotamia in 2ooo BC!

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When I returned to The Holler from my time with the hawks, the red-tails flew closer than ever before, enabling me to get some good shots. Do you suppose they smelled the hawks on me? Who knows? All I know is that hawks are very clever birds and I love them!
Cheers to you from Hawk Holler!

Hanging Out with the Hawks Pt I (of III): Red Tails

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(You really need to click to enlarge these photos to see these beauties close up!) I’ve been busy the last few days taking pics of hawks.

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I got to be up close and personal with Harris and Red Tail Hawks, hold, fly them, and photograph them.

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In other words, I was in heaven!

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Check out the pics of the red tail. Beautiful isn’t he! Next post I’ll introduce you to the Harris Hawks and show you them flying and hunting in tandem. Amazing!
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I took these pics at West Coast Falconery which is run by Kirk Selinger a licensed falconer and his apprentice Denise Disharoon. Kirk is a former National Geographic videographer, who now spends his time raising hawks, owls and vultures. He lives in a place just about as remote as The Holler, and we drove down a rutted dirt road to spend some time with him and his gorgeous birds. More pics of the red tail!
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This is a seven month old melanistic Red Tailed Hawk. It’s feathers are darker than normal due to excess melanin production.
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Here he is having a shower which he loves!
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To see Kirk’s operation click on: http://westcoast-falconry.com/falconry-education/west-coast-falconry-san-diego/
The Holler hawks have been very active and flying very close to me lately, so I’ll try to post some shots of them as well. Cheers to you from Hawk Heaven!

Moonshadows & Nights in White Satin~

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(Please click to enlarge so you can view the mountains of the Moon).

Oh, I’m being followed by a moonshadow…leaping and hopping in a moonshadow~ Cat Stevens

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Nights in white satin,
Never reaching the end,
Beauty I’d always missed
With these eyes before,
Just what the truth is
I can’t say anymore ~ Moody Blues

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Three things cannot be hidden, the sun, the moon and the truth~ Buddha

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The sun, the moon, and the stars would have disappeared long ago…if they’d happened to be within the reach of predatory human hands~ Havelock Ellis

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The moon does not fight. It attacks no one. It does not worry. It does not try to crush others. It keeps to its course, but by its very nature, it gently influences. What other body could pull an entire ocean from shore to shore? The moon is faithful to its nature and its power is undiminished~ Deng Ming-Dao

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The moon is battered isn’t she, all those meteor impacts, but still she shines brightly on us, to keep our nights from drowning in the dark.

When my children were young this was their prayer every night:

I see the moon and the moon sees me. God bless the moon and God bless me~ Irish children’s lullaby

May the light of the moon always brighten your darkest nights. It will. If you just look up.

Cheers to you.