Things do Change.

The time has come to settle back into my well defined rut routine in the morning; at least for the time being. Today is a clean air day, I’m most likely over confident that the smoke will remain clear and there will be no more fires.

Early this morning I looked across the pasture noticing a large blanket of smoke in two places, it dissipated nearly as rapidly as it appeared. If the air remains clear I will be able to begin two of my projects I have planned. Obviously the season of smoke is not near.

I took the picture of the Egret above on March 21, 2021, as I was going through my photographs for the umpteenth time checking if I am able to improve upon them I came across an interloper. The Squirrel was directly above the bird gazing down upon it, I had not noticed him until yesterday evening. After thinking about it for a while this morning I decided to send it to the California fish and game for them to decide if it is a Nutria. They are an invasive species here with a substantial population in the Central Valley, we on the Delta have been requested to report if we see them. Although this is larger than a Ground Squirrel or any other critter on the far side I have seen. I received a reply it is an extra large squirrel. I take their word for it that’s why I submitted it to receive a positive I.D.; however I’m going to set up my video camera to capture a video of it. The furry little dude just appears to be too large to be a common Squirrel, I’ll submit the video as well if It remains questionable to me.

I took this photo around the same time of year however earlier in the morning at daybreak. The sky was overcast but the Sun Rose in a clear band on the Eastern Horizon. Under the cloud was a gold hue that radiated throughout my area, it happens quite often actually. I lucked out with this one as the Egret landed in the exact correct spot and the hay stack in the background is the same color as the Sun Rise. Once in a while things work out well. The Herons and Egrets hunt in that spot on the far levee, they truly are creatures of habit. Snakes, Mink, Amphibians and yes Ground Squirrels are all on the diet and available right where he is. Patience is the name of the game for him and me.

Completing his landing by spreading out those enormous wings settling down softly he continued his stoic hunt. Still the golden glow bathed the pasture and all it touched. At times it is worthwhile to wait for the bird to take to the air, things happen on take-offs and landings. However that wait often is abandoned after an hour or so when my attention span hits its limits. But all that really means is I turn my attention in a different direction, I have a plan to begin using my video camera again. I will let it run for 1/2 hour at a time directed at the spot I saw the Ground Squirrel. In that way I have a better chance of catching an image then if I sit there with my camera in hand. That had been my normal practice until I received my new camera last August, I have since used that time to learn about it.

Although not taken during the Golden Hour I included this picture of the Egret only because I took it on the same day. It was during the noon hour being one of perhaps 500 images I took during that session. Early this year (2021) the slough was busy with animals, nearly everywhere I looked there were Ducks, Geese and Otters. This image above is for me a soothing photo although it is rather run of the mill.

The animals are slowly returning I spotted what I believe to be the family of Otters swimming across the slough to where their den resides. However the heads of these animals appeared smaller than those of the Otters. Yep it sure looks as if the top photograph has inspired my curiosity, I won’t be satisfied now until I see the swimmers clearly. Which may happen fairly soon now that they are parading the young ones around on the water. More Fledged Seagulls are being sighted now, they have been here long enough for their first year plumage to begin to be replaced by their adult feathers.

I’m wondering why all of the critters appear larger to me this year, but then again when a person gets to my age a number of things kind of morph. Everyone is beautiful, the young grandkids are way too smart and I’m beginning to do what Mrs. Lebec tells me to. Ahh will wonders ever cease?

Jacques Lebec Natural Self Reliance

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