Spring At Nisqually

The bad part of going on vacation is coming home to all the chores left undone. The lawn was so tall I had to mow it Sunday AND Monday in order to do a decent job. I spent the rest of Sunday pulling weeds and cutting back dead growth. Today I spread topsoil and planted the tomato plants that came while I was gone. I’ll probably be moving topsoil most of Saturday, too.

After picking up a load of topsoil for the garden, I did manage to squeeze in a trip to Nisqually Monday afternoon. Unfortunately, there were so many people enjoying the sunshine there weren’t many birds to be seen.

Luckily, the emerging plants and flowers weren’t nearly as shy. I enjoyed California’s flowers, but I love Spring blossoms in the Pacific Northwest even more, even when I don’t have a clue what kind of plant is blossoming, like this one:

Nor am I able to clearly distinguish between cherry blossoms, plum blossoms

Spring Blossoms

and apple blossoms,

Spring Blossoms

even though I can generally recognize Oregon Grape blossoms.

Oregon Grape Blossoms

It hardly matter because they’re all beautiful this time of year.

A Last Walk in the Neighborhood

After I’d packed and gotten ready to go to the airport Saturday, Zoe and I decided to go for a walk around the block rather than just sitting around waiting. It didn’t take long for me to decide that I wanted to take my camera, even though I’d already packed the 400mm lens. So, I ran back to the house and got my camera with the wide angle lens, perfect for taking pictures of flowers.

Zoe wanted me to take a picture of the flowers in their front yard, and they were certainly beautiful enough to deserve some attention:

Orange Flowers

The flower that had really grabbed my attention, though, was this iris:


And as long as I was taking pictures of people’s flowers I couldn’t resist taking a photo of this Bird of Paradise, a very popular plant in Tyson’s neighborhood:

Bird Of Paradise  Flower

While taking flower pictures, I thought I saw a small hummingbird, but it turned out to be a hummingbird moth, an insect I’ve never seen before. Sure wish I’d had my 400 mm lens instead of a wide-angle lens.

Hummingbird Moth

Snowy Egret

On my last full day in California we went to the beach to look at the tide pools and play in the sand. I spent most of my time there taking pictures of this beautiful Snowy Egret, capturing the best pictures I have ever managed to get because he seemed indifferent to the crowds of people, including me.

The only problem is I can’t decide whether I like this picture,

Snowy Egret

this picture,

Snowy Egret

this picture,

Snowy Egret

or this picture

Snowy Egret

more because they all reveal this bird’s unique beauty in different ways.

Conejo Valley Botanic Center

Last Thursday we took the kids to the playground at the Conejo Valley Recreation Center, which was adjoined by the Conejo Valley Botanic Center. Needless to say, I couldn’t resist exploring the Botanic Center part of the time. I was surprised not only by the elevation gain, but by the extent of the garden. By the time I’d made a rather rushed trip through the area, I was afraid that Jen would be ready to leave.

The garden seemed to feature trees bearing huge flowers. like this Golden Trumpet Tree,

Golden Trumpet Tree

and this Hong King Orchid Tree.

Hong King Orchid Tree

I’ll have to admit, though, that my taste in plants is less exotic than most of what I saw. In fact some of the plants reminded me of Rappaccini’s Garden,

Exotic Flower

despite their obvious beauty.

Exotic Red Flower

Luckily, the local birds and animals seemed to be claiming these plants as their own.

Hummingbird on Unknown Tree