The Daily Bucket is a nature refuge. We amicably discuss animals, weather, climate, soil, plants, waters and note life’s patterns.
We invite you to note what you are seeing around you in your own part of the world, and to share your observations in the comments below.
Each note is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the phenological patterns that are quietly unwinding around us. To have the Daily Bucket in your Activity Stream, visit Backyard Science’s profile page and click on Follow.
My customary walking path is on the Leonhardt Ranch Learning Landscape, a nature preserve under the auspices of the Feather River Land Trust.
The 46-acre property is centrally located in the town of Quincy and extends outdoor education and recreation options from the bike path and nearby schools.
The preserve includes meadow, riparian, wetland, and pasture habitats with a diversity of wildlife and birds including beavers, coyotes, frogs, trout, raptors, Sandhill Cranes, Red-winged Blackbirds, waterfowl, and unique songbirds like Bullock’s Oriole and Yellow-breasted Chat.
The trail is approximately 1.3 miles out and back, and features interpretive signs with natural history and wildlife information made by Quincy High School students.
I’m so very fond of this area because it’s less than a quarter-mile from my apartment and I’ve known it ever since I was a kid growing up here in Quincy. Now it’s a great place for me to take my camera and just get outside on foot. Besides the dozens of different bird species photographed and videoed over the past few years on the LRLL, I’ve seen coyote, fox, skunk, muskrat, beaver, frogs, and myriad dragonflies and butterflies out here. It’s a real treasure to me.
So just a little after 8:00 this morning I bundled up (it was 41f, cloudy and raining lightly), pedaled on my bicycle over to the gate, and began my observations. Well, let me back up a bit. Before I even got to the property entrance this fine Red-tailed Hawk was giving me the eye from it’s perch up in a Cottonwood tree along the roadside.
An auspicious beginning, was my thought. It sure was. The sights just got all the better as soon as I got through the gate and down the path. Here’s what the entrance and very first part of the walking path looks like:
As soon as you’re on the other side of the gate, there’s this steel bridge across Boyle Creek to the walking path immediately on the other side. After crossing the bridge the Leonhardt Ranch Learning Landscape property is to the right.
This is the view after crossing the bridge and turning right. The roadway is the walking path. The fields are still privately owned (by the Leonhardt family) and used for cattle grazing, although the forty-six acre portion administered by the Feather River Land Trust is held in perpetuity, meaning it can never be developed for any kind of industrial or residential use.
From this point it’s just a snap over a half-mile out to the end of the path and turnaround; this is an out-and-back path, not a loop.
Here’s the map:
I hadn’t gone much more than about a hundred yards down the path when I saw the silhouette of a very large bird out on one of the fence posts. My binoculars confirmed it was a juvenile Bald Eagle. I pulled my tripod out of my pack and mounted my camera. I walked about another fifty to a hundred yards further and set my tripod. First photos are shown below.
I did want to show how my post-processing of my j-peg images can really change the appearance. I think it’s for the better, but not all would agree. However, these are my photos after all, and even though they’re adjusted for color and contrast and sharpness, they’re still very much the real deal.
Incidentally, this juvenile Bald Eagle fits the 1½ year age bracket based on its plumage.
Here’s another before/after processing tiled image, this time of a Red-tailed Hawk that was just out in the field beyond the eagle.
I wasn’t real satisfied with the first images of the BAEA, so I walked past the fence line and reset my camera. The change in angle and lighting made a huge difference.
From here on, the photos are all processed, with some variations in the settings. Enjoy!
Out near the end of the path I spotted a Northern Flicker (Red-shafted) and took these frames. Heh heh, got some “action”.
Last but not least, I did take some video of the eagle and the Flicker, along with a couple of others. I’ve edited it all together into a single video. Here ya go!
Now it’s your turn. What’s happening in your world, nature-wise? Let us know in the comments, and if you have any photos please share them, and let us know your location.