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Ethan Winning / 2,059 items

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I went out for a walk today just to be out. No radio, no TV just me and my camera walking from home to the swamp. And I saw that the that the Tulip Tree was in full bloom. It's a huge tree with large beautiful blossoms. It doesn't smell as good as the magnolia which is the same genus, but it's another sign of spring, and I felt good.

Magnolia liliiflora (variously known by many names, including Mulan magnolia, purple magnolia, red magnolia, lily magnolia, tulip magnolia, Jane magnolia and woody-orchid) is a small tree native to southwest China (in Sichuan and Yunnan), but cultivated for centuries elsewhere in China and also Japan. It was first introduced to English-speaking countries from cultivated Japanese origins, and is thus also sometimes called Japanese magnolia, though it is not native to Japan. It is now also planted as an ornamental in North America and Europe, though rather less often than its popular hybrid.

Tags:   Magnolia liliiflora Mulan magnolia purple magnolia red magnolia lily magnolia tulip magnolia Jane magnolia and woody-orchid) Mt. Diablo - Walnut Creek, CA Canon SX 50 Copyright Ethan Winning

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We took a walk to Heather Farm Reserve, aka "The Swamp," yesterday and expected nothing. That's what we got save for the first damselfly of the year. That's still too early because we still have very cool mornings. The damsel was a solid black, and I couldn't identify her. The water's too low and she won't find a mater, so I'm afraid her above water life span will be less than three weeks.

This is NOT a damsel, but a Flame Skimmer Dragonfly, our most frequent flier and the one I'll be looking for to know that the season is truly open. As I walk around the lake with a camera, people assume that I know something, and the most frequent question is not about birds, but dragonflies. I'm going to have to start brushing up for this year. I certainly have the time.

Tags:   Flame Skimmer Dragons Dragonflies and Damselflies Odonata Heather Farm Reserve Canon SX 50 Copyright Ethan Winning

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Well, we walked to the swamp (Heather Farm Reserve) today and found seven Ringed-necked ducks, a dozen Canada geese, and one Pied-billed Grebe. But on land, the birds were singing their hearts out. White-crowned sparrows and Red-winged Blackbirds took center stage. My one decent shot was given by a House finch, but he left too quickly. Having enough time in these long days, I dove into the archives, and found this House finch April 14 many years ago.

He's probably long gone, but the memories linger on. Taken at almost the identical spot to the west of the lake.

Tags:   House Finch Passerines Heather Farm Reserve Mt. Diablo - Walnut Creek, CA Canon SX20 Copyright Ethan Winning

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This beautiful scene, 6,400 Feet High Lakes Trail, is one of the stellar locations on Mt. Rainier in Washington state. In order to see it, it can be an arduous trek, but well worth the effort. And, from this lake, you can look down on the pristine Louise Lake (not Lake Louise which would take superhuman vision 'cause that's in Canada and a long, long way).

There has been no software used for this photo. When I first brought it up on the monitor, I thought I should reduce the contrast, but upon reflection, I figured it was the clean air and clear skies that make high altitude photography different from that in the valleys and low lands. It's a theory, but I think a good one.

Tags:   Painter's Lake Alpine Lakes Mt. Rainier Washington 6400 Feet Altitude Canon SX 40 Copyright Ethan Winning

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This is the time of year for daffodils, just as spring has really sprung. For you in the eastern part of the continent, it was crocus. I loved watching them pop through the remaining snow as a sure sign that the winter doldrums were about to dissipate, but when I moved west, I had to find something else to life my spirits 'cause I'm just a springy kind of guy :-)

Daffodils and Forget-Me-Nots are the harbingers of this wonderful season. The birds are courting, nesting, and a few early risers already have chicks in the nest. I become diligent setting seed for them on the back patio, and I even take pity on my local thief, Sydney, my local Grey Squirrel (who may very well be seven squirrels now after 46 years).

With the current situation of sheltering in place, though I still can visit all three of my favorite spots for photography and nature in general, I take even more a period of reflection. In my dotage, I find that the memories are mostly positive, though I miss those who are gone and I don't care for the idea that I probably won't be able to travel to the mountains which have given me so much joy (as well as bumps and bruises which are always quickly forgotten).

I never kept a journal, but I have photography and a great memory. I can usually put a picture and time line together. Although I've taken many lousy shots (including flu, measles, polio, etc. that everyone should have taken!), there has never been a day when I didn't form positive memories from the experience.

This photo of daffodils was taken on the eastern side of Mt. Diablo in very early spring. I vividly remember the warmth, ability to bend my knees, and be able to get up again. Those are but memories!

And today, I'll go visit Heather Farm to see whatever birds are parked on the two ponds, and look for what should be a cornucopia of flowers, domestic and foreign (a few wild ones, too). Stay well my friends, and take heart in the fact that ignorance can be bliss!

Tags:   Daffodils Forget-Me-Nots Wildflowers Mt. Diablo - Walnut Creek, CA Canon SX 10 Copyright Ethan Winning


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