Lois Reynolds Mead

Art and a pink monkeyflower in a native plant garden…


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Eagles, Red-tails, and Bobcats…

April’s birding field trip was close to home. Kind of happy not to have to get up at the crack of dawn to travel for an hour to get to the location. Saturday we just had to go 5 minutes to the Valle Vista Staging Area of the San Leandro Reservoir. Typical California rolling hills, covered with green because we have had some rain the last couple of weeks. The Reservoir is still very low, however.

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We took off from the parking lot…this is a tree swallow…

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This area needs a permit from EBMUD for entry but they are easy to get online if you want to take this trail. It goes off into some woods.

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Then it meets up with a bridge over a river…

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As I always say, the mark of a good bridge is its rust and lichen…

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For the group I was with, the mark of a good bridge was the Wood Ducks in the water…but I missed them…got the flowers, though…

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We continued walking toward the reservoir…

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We came to the water and its Great Blue Herons as well as Cormorants and ducks…

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and then the best sighting of the day happened…

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and he soared…an immature Bald Eagle…

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Lots of Bluebird boxes around…(a swallow on top of this one)…

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A sad note on the way back down the trail…near the horse facility on the edge of the trail there was a very ill bobcat. It just lay there, still twitching his ears and tail. Once he raised his head a little. As we watched, making phone call after phone call to the EBMUD and the Animal Control only to find message machines because it was a Saturday morning, he eventually got up and walked slowly toward the barn. (One of the people involved with the horses eventually drove up and when we told her about it she said that the day before the Animal Control had come out but when they got there the Bobcat had disappeared.)

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The only time I have actually seen a Bobcat in the wild. Its being so ill is the only reason. When TM got to the Lindsay Wildlife Hospital for his Sunday morning shift he found that Animal Control had brought it into the hospital Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, it did not survive the day. As we were making all our phone calls we did get to observe “Red-tails in Love”…this time of year, pairs circling, foot drooping…a lovely sight on top of the sad one…

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It was great weather for this hike and a nice morning…

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Journal…

TM has been getting organized for his birding class. This meant finding the right journals for recording what he sees and counts. First he sought out weather-proof small notebooks for the recording-in-the-field. (I happened to have the yellow one in my collection. I think I had collected it not knowing what I would use it for but having fallen in love with its pale-blue grid-ruled pages. I figured I could rip out a few for my needs and he could have the rest. Anything for the cause!) The smallest ones fit conveniently into a shirt pocket.

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Also, he needed a more permanent three-ring binder for officially entering each birding-adventure. Set in a specific layout it holds all the data.

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I am such a supportive spouse I offered him use of my tools and my experience with journaling. (I thought there could be room for some decoration here.)

I go on trips and I journal about the experience with watercolors…

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I alter old books with gesso, titanium white. titan buff, Davey’s grey, and collage papers…(they never seem to close once I am finished with them.)

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I slap my printed iPhone photos onto inky backgrounds…

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and I make collages from snippets of magazine pictures in books I have made myself. (Mostly because I absolutely love the way Fabiano Artistico paper behaves.)

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I offered, I did offer to assist him in any way…tools, advice…but, no, he did not want my pens, my color ideas…he remains the legal pad to my handmade paper. Thus, it will always be…but now we have a fixture at the back door for any spontaneous, unusual sightings in the backyard. You never know who might fly through. Be prepared…

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