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Spring on Mount Diablo. Isn’t it beautiful?

Spring on Mount Diablo. Photo by Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek
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Spring is my favorite time of year on Mount Diablo. Everything is so beautifully GREEN!

In fact spring is my most favorite time EVERYWHERE. That’s why I’m leaving on vacation for the next two weeks so I can enjoy the different shades of green I’ll find in the different places I plan to visit.

I’ll be back on Monday, March 16. While I’m gone, here’s something to remember:
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Posted on Friday, February 27th, 2009
Under: Mount Diablo, Seasons, Spring | No Comments »

Has Spring finally sprung?

A friend and I were hiking on Diablo last Saturday. We went from Mitchell Canyon to Eagle Peak to Prospector’s Gap and returned via the Falls Trail. Baby blue eyes were in bloom on Bald Ridge and a fire road below Prospector’s Gap. Since we were at over 2,000 feet, I’d say this could be a sign of spring. (Bob Solotar, Richmond)

Posted on Friday, March 9th, 2007
Under: Seasons | No Comments »

Spring in the old backyard

Looks like we’re going to have sunny days and 70-80 degree daytime temperatures for the next week. This will be the longest period of warm sunny days I’ve seen since the rains started at the beginning of winter. Dare I hope that spring has FINALLY arrived? I know the wild creatures that live in my backyard certainly feel that way.

A pair of Anna’s hummingbirds are busy courting in the skies above my yard. Probably getting ready to raise their (her!) second nest full of youngsters this year. The female is sitting on a tiny twig in the top of our apple tree, as the male zooms straight up for about 150 feet, then drops straight back down in a power dive and zips sideways at a 90-degree angle just inches above the female and curves back up for another attempt at the same maneuver. He did this three times in as many minutes, never missing a beat. Wow. I think he likes her. The nest is somewhere in my middle redwood tree. It’s so well camouflaged I haven’t been able to spot it.

I saw the skunk last evening, making his (her?) usual twilight trip through my yard. (Through the hole under my fence on the right side, trop, trot, trot across the patio and then under the redwoods and through the hole under the left side fence.)

Next came the mama opossum. I think she uses the same fence hole to pass through my yard.

Then the gray cat from next door, the black cat from across the street, and the striped cat from I have no idea where. They came over to sniff my catnip patch and get drunk and NOT use my yard for a litter box and then stagger back home to sleep it off until tomorrow’s trip. Hey, the catnip patch has worked for four years, now, and Lois and I can garden without digging up cat poop! Try it, you’ll like it.

Looks like I’m going to need street signs to control the traffic, though.

Posted on Wednesday, April 26th, 2006
Under: Seasons, Spring, Yard | No Comments »

A wild afternoon

Lois and I had a great time at the Orinda School District’s 5th Annual Wildlife Festival on Sunday. The Festival was held at the District’s Nature Area next to Wagner Ranch Elementary School. It was a beautiful, breezy (but warm) afternoon and the air was filled with sweet spring smells as whole families of parents and children came pouring out of their homes to enjoy the activities.

Native Birds Connections brought some of their beautiful birds of prey, Wild Birds Unlimited had displays, Malcolm Margolin was there to chat and sell (or give away, you know Malcolm!) books from Heyday Books in Berkeley, there were local Native American dancing and drumming performances, and the district’s 4th and 5th grade student band(s) serenaded us with some great music. And MANY thanks, of course, to Orinda School District Naturalist Toris Jaeger for creating it, pulling it all together, and making it work (as always). She’s the best. (The district Nature Area is truly a treasure. What a special, natural place to teach the young people about the world that swirls and grows around them! Truly unique.)

I just sat at my table or wandered around checking our Brian Murphy’s new bumble bee nest boxes, and chatted with visitors and answered their animal questions.

A great way to spend a Sunday afternoon: enjoying the fresh spring weather, talking with nice people, and holding hands with my wife. That’s as good as it gets.

Posted on Monday, April 24th, 2006
Under: Seasons, Spring, Wildlife | No Comments »

Haiku

A couple of my readers regularly send me some great haiku they’ve been writing about our local environment. Mind if I share a couple with you? I thought not.

Nona Mock Wyman, Walnut Creek, CA:

like Winter’s snowflakes
almond blossoms gently drift
enchanting moment

The whole world responds
When the morning sun breaks through
Instantly, pure joy

Lura Osgood, Pleasant Hill, CA:

Thick banks of gray fog
Huddle against eastern hills,
Holding back the dawn.

Burgeoning berries,
Disappearing from branches:
Ravenous robins!

Posted on Thursday, February 23rd, 2006
Under: Animals, Seasons, Wildlife | No Comments »

Trees Have Their Say

The leaves are finally falling in my yard. Splashes of Japanese maple red and apple tree yellow become an ever-changing impressionistic painting in the wind.

Posted on Monday, November 14th, 2005
Under: color, Fall, Seasons, Trees | No Comments »

The Color of Fall

Joan Wright takes a colorful look at fall. I lead with her letter in today’s newspaper column in the Times, but thought I’d also like to include it here to hopefully give it a wider audience. I like what she has to say about life.

Dear Gary: It happened once again. I was caught off guard by that first day of crisp cool air. That air that comes to lead us into and transport us through fall.  That air that seems to make our vision more sharp. Stars glisten in it at night and the daytime sky becomes a brilliant blue.

Each year I know it is coming but am always surprised by when. I love this transition between summer and winter. I love how the squirrel in my backyard changes from a happy lazy buffoon into a serious scavenger with way too much work to do. He no longer has hours to tease my cat, because that crisp air has warned him winter is coming.

I love how my cat begins to plump up even though she is getting the exact same amount of food. Her fur is thicker and more beautiful with each passing day. That crisp air dictates that she now sleeps curled up instead of stretched out.

But I appreciate the crisp air most for the COLOR. This time of year you have to dig deep to come up with color words special enough to describe what you see. Some trees seem to change overnight and others leaf by leaf. But the result is the same: russet, golden, auburn, burgundy, vermilion, scarlet, ochre, saffron and the list goes on.

Odd how that crisp cold air seems to magnify the brilliance of those colors and everything else that is part of this transition we call fall. (Joan Wright, Concord, Ca.)

Posted on Wednesday, November 9th, 2005
Under: color, Fall, Seasons | No Comments »