Saturday, March 21, 2009

Early Spring - Flowers and Birds, Petaluma, California

A few weeks ago, after photographing Lennon and Jessie, I headed over to hang out with my mom and watch the birds in their front yard. This was mid February, and very overcast and chilly. Blossoms were just peeking through the earth and beginning to open up on plants, and I had fun photographing the bright spots of color against the cool, wintry surroundings.

Here's winter holly next to early spring blossoms:

And another Holly, the dog - tracking who knows what:

I love that my parents add random, interesting details throughout their garden, and it's definitely inspired my vision of what I'd like to see in our own (new) garden:

Though I don't think it's fair for Devon and I to lure birds to our yard with treats like seed and (yuck) suet - it's okay for my parents because they don't have a fat cat waiting to stalk the birds! Although, Gracie's not a great hunter, and typically only catches flies to let them go a second later.

I'm not a big winter fan - but maybe once it's almost over, I can appreciate the more subtle colors and beauty.

Okay, now... I didn't have my long lens with me, so these bird shots aren't the most up close ones you'll ever see. (Also, it was freezing and I got bored of trying to wait for the birds to come back with me outside - guess I'm not a very good bird watcher!) But there are some fabulous birds in these shots, so spy what you can:

The quail! I love quail - California's state bird - and my parents are fortunate to have a huge quail family (is it a brood?) running around their yard all of the time. I think it's a bit early yet to see the tiny, baby quail puffballs chasing their parents (though there were definitely some quail "teenagers" to see). When they come across the line, they are careful, paranoid, determined to get to the seed and get (more than) their fair share. The daddy quails lead the way with their bobbly lure/ feather thing, followed by the more plain females and their children. Then, at any kind of sound or disturbance, they all dash back off to their hidden nests like a shot, with a unique chirpy little quail sound. It is so fun to watch! I am a nerd!

How many birds do you see in this shot? I think I count 11, but it's tough to tell - their plumage blends in so well with the wintertime foliage.

This hummingbird is still for a rare moment, but it's actually not THAT rare - because, again, he is a little pig, and comes back for his sugar water over and over again. He's actually kind of pushy and scary, and will attack another bird if they get in the way of his snack. I guess leave it up to my parents - willful overfeeders of wildlife - to make a hummingbird lazy?!

Anyway, we had fun watching in the garden, and I'm excited to see who has been born and come out of hiding now that it's officially spring, and the weather is lovely! I also want to give a shout out to my mom, whose birthday is today (along with the birth of Springtime - what a nice day to be born!). Happy Birthday, mom/ Joelle! : )


Mom said...

Thanks for the birthday wishes, dear daughter, didn't we have fun?!

It is a covey of quail and the top feather is called their top knot, well maybe not scientifically.

Do tell your blog readers that I usually dress up for photos! But those sweats are my official stay-at-home-feed-the-birds-dig-in-the-garden wear!

Tacky, huh?

a friend said...

I love the twin flappy birds.
And the 2 quail butt to butt. Your mom does probably dress up better when someone other than her daughter drops by.

manuel said...


I love your blog and your photography... very inspiring!