Monday, June 28, 2010

A Turtle at Jenkinsen Lake

Friday we enjoyed a day at Jenkinsen Lake, hiking the trails, picnicking and fishing. The highlight of the day for me was seeing this turtle sunbathing out on a log. His shell had to be 8-10 inches round. He stayed almost perfectly still in that same spot for hours. We saw him on our way back again, hardly any different. One foot was down and a blade of dry grass that had been on his mouth was gone. He almost looked fake he was so still. There were smaller turtles there too, but they scurried into the water as soon as they saw us. I was amazed at how fast they could move- very comical. This was a first time for me seeing turtle that large out in the wild.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Call of the Red Winged Black Bird

Troy and I went for a walk this evening at the Rocklin Library Park. A very large area with trails and tall dry grasses, oak, sycamore and liquid amber trees. There are a few creeks that run through it but over all it is a fairly dry park. It makes a nice evening walk. Tonight he took me over to a Maidu Indain grinding rock and there is also a natural spring beside it that was believed to have healing qualities. The spring has been renovated by man and Troy thought it too ugly to take a picture of it.

On the trail I caught a distinct bird sound. It is not often around my place that I hear just one type of bird and so it is very hard for me to figure out which sounds belong to which birds. But tonight I heard a very distinct sound and as we drew closer to it, we discovered red winged black birds. The sounds of the majority of them were alarm calls from us approaching. "Cheep, cheep, cheep" and then a short high pitched whistle. Over and over again I mimicked them to remember what the sound like. But in one tree there was a red winged black bird sitting at the top alone making a long beautiful high pitched whistle. I tried to mimic it the best I could but it was too high pitched for me. However I called back to him over and over again for quite awhile. He never left that spot the whole time we were there.

Out here we usually only see the red winged black bird on the fence post while driving past them. I haven't seen them in our yard, so I had never heard their beautiful sound. I was pretty excited to add a new call to my repertoire of bird calls.

Some of the ones I already recognize are the starling, because I raised one from a baby. I will never forget what they sound like and we have plenty of them around here. I also know the mocking bird and the melodious beautiful meadow lark. The large birds such as the screech owl, the hawk and crow are always easy to pick out. Even the clicking of barn owl at night is exciting to hear.