"Spring 2010"

At the Camps' Place
(Page 3 of 3)

On this page, you'll find photographs of a newly constructed backyard waterfall, a brand-new family of local pond ducks, and the highlight of this photo collection; neighborhood birds that I feed from my hand.

There are a number of photos on this page that I bet will surprise you. Their captions will give you valuable insight.

Yes, Spring 2010 has been wonderful to those of us living up here in the Sierras.

If you'd like to forward any or all three of my Web pages to friends, please go right ahead, with my thanks.

I added an appropriate background song to this page:
Steve Hall's piano orchestration "Angels in Flight."

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"God's provision is only one prayer away." — Anonymous

Four waterfall photos . . .

You can see the waterfall at the far right, beneath that bridge that's beyond the concrete retaining wall.

Before I show you a close-up of the waterfall, I want to show you the results of my first attempt to photograph the feeding of a peanut to a buddy of mine who's standing in the photo's center (see arrow).

Alas, my jay-bird friend took my peanut and quickly darted off without landing on my open hand.

Plus, my camera's aim needs more precision.

But I'll keep trying.

During winter and spring, the new waterfall provides us with a soothing, non-stop, background sound that makes sleeping very easy.

My thanks go to my neighbors and good friends, Danny Jefferson and Jimmy Boucke, who did much of the work last year, constructing the waterfall and adjacent concrete-and-wood retaining walls.

Can you hear the fall's rushing water?

While photographing the Irises three weeks ago, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw this new family of pond ducks.

I was startled, yet thrilled, to see (in the center of the photo) Momma Mallard duck swimming under one of our bridges, leading her eight duckling up the stream.

It wasn't easy for me but I managed to hurry myself along so I could get ahead of them to take the next few pictures.

As I stood next to the retaining wall in front of our pond, I didn't move much. I was pleased to have been able to photograph the young Mallard family as it made its approach.

Swimming directly below me and my camera, Momma and family eased themselves upstream toward the waterfall, against the stream's current.

Finally arriving at our pond, all nine approached landed ashore to begin feeding.

I was pleased by the family's surprise appearance, delighted to have captured them in these close-ups.

The highlight of my Spring 2010 photos; befriending Steller's Jays and feeding them by hand and finger.

When I leave the house each day, I must sit on the interior garage steps to put on and tie my shoes. That's when and where the Steller's Jay visits begin.

Jays, such as this one, have trusted me enough, over the past 10 or so years of feeding them peanuts and sunflower seeds, to stand at my feet as they await the next feeding.

While photographing Irises last week, one of my buddies landed close to me.

After taking this shot, I leaned my cane against my waist, held the camera outward in my right hand, and aimed it at my outstretched left hand that held a couple of peanuts. Two seconds later, the jay left the branch and darted toward my hand . . .

Unfortunately, I didn't allow time for the digital camera's delay. The resulting shot shows my buddy taking off with a peanut while my hand is left open.

But I'm not one to give up easily. Nope.

I waited patiently for the next opportunity and . . .


I quickened the shutter's timing, as well as my aim, and captured this fellow, sitting on my open hand, lifting all three of the peanuts to apparently weigh them before making the final choice.

I trust that you'll pardon his back side. As you'll see in the next photo, I tried to get him to realize that he needs to face toward my camera when he lands in the future.

I returned to the stream accompanied by a different jay.

No. I cannot tell them apart by sight. However, the three that choose to land on my hand while feeding have unique, identifiable habits, such as their gentleness when landing, their vocal commentary after landing, the length of time they'll sit in my hand, whether they weigh all the peanuts before choosing one, and so on.

I love these creatures.

While sitting together on our rear deck one morning, I held a few peanuts over Rosanne's head. Judging by her facial expression, she wasn't looking forward to any upcoming landing.

So I spared Rosanne the pending ordeal, leaned backwards, and treated one of my regulars to this nutty, hand-fed appetizer.

This is the closest I've been able to photograph a Steller's Jay facing toward the camera.

While three local jays routinely eat from my hand, I was surprised but happy to see in this photo that this tradition may likely be sustained.

In our driveway's red-leafed Maple sat a Momma jay who had kept her eggs warm. I'm happy to announce that two new Steller's Jays made it into the world, next to our house.

As you can image, I look forward to sustaining this satisfying hand-feeding tradition.

My friends and neighbors can assure you that I don't go outdoors without a pocket full of peanuts.

I end this photo collection where I started it, at Rosanne's potting table.

Rosanne and I and our many small garden friends thank you for joining us. We hope that you enjoyed our personal slice of Spring 2010 up here on Pine Drive in the Sierras.

Hey! Why don't you come visit us.
Seriously — We'll leave the light on for you.