Thursday, September 3, 2015
by Jim and Shirley White
There IS "gold in them thare hills". Sometimes at the foot of a rainbow or sometimes in the marshes and waterways of Sierra Valley. The forcast of "thunder storms in the Sierra" or "rain north of highway I80, often sends use running for Sierra Valley, in Sierra County, California.
We are wildlife photographers and do not pass up a good secnic landscape shot either. Cattle and hay ranches make up most of this Alpine beauty. Migratory birds from Alaska to Argentina travel back in forth thru this fertle landscape. My almost every trip joke is " maybe we will run into a herd of Wolverines this time". We have only see 2 for real in our lifetime and it was not in Sierra County. But it could be!! Check out these critters. Antelope in Sierra Valley!
What we really like to see is Sandhill Cranes in Sierra Valley. During this dought year much of the marshes in Sierra Valley are gone. But the good size pond and marsh along Marble Hot Springs road had maybe 30 feet of shallow muddy water last Satuday. This is what we saw:
The wind blew sweet, the air a slight chill, and all was well in our "Wild Places" in Sierra Valley.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Raptors and Other Wildlife
on the river of course!!
Everyone knows it is dry! Even at 5500 ft.on the east side of the Sierra near Truckee. So how do us wildlife watchers and photographers find wildlife when it is so hot and dry? What we do and did today was find some tumbling water, a small waterfall or an area with some white tumbling water with some perches and shade nearby. This hawk hunts a nearby meadow for rodents early morning and late evening, but during the day almost all birds and some other wildlife go for the water. An old concrete dam nearby with this driftwood log will produce time after time. While at this spot we saw Mergansers, Dippers and Mountain Quail nearby. We sit on our 3 legged stools, drink our coffie and wait. Dont\'t talk much and sit still. They will fly, swim and run right up to you.
Saturday, July 18, 2015
The Tigers are Loose
and all the other Sierra wildflowers
By Jim and Shirley White
Wandering our seceret Sierra wild places yesterday, enjoying our Sierra wildflower, the flower that really starts the summer are the Tiger Lilies. Yes we love the others too. The Colimbine, the Cow Parsnip, Qween Ann's Lace, the Sierra Primrose and all the others. But it is the "Tiger" that rules the mountains in July. What more need be said. The pictures tell it all.
Sunday, July 5, 2015
Nature-izing along the Culbertson road
The Culbertson road that runs from the Drum forbay to Bear Valley, Nevada Co. is one of our favorite early July roads to Nature-ize and do our wildlife-flower photography. This 4th of July weekend was one of the best ever. It is best the start the trip along the road by 8 AM and plan on finishing by 11 AM because the hill-side the road follows has a north aspect and the light is great in the mornings but poor in the evenings. There are at least three springs along the road and butterflys, hummingbirds, bumble bees and birds just love them. You can also find a "Fawn Lily" or two..
Alpine lilies and Tiger lilies are there too, but you must travel down some of the side roads to find them. You cross the Bear River into Bear Valley and highway 20 and back to I80. We see why the Emigrants of old were happy when they got this far along the trail. Enjoy!!
Breakfast with the Dutch Flat Mayors
As usual on the 4th of July weekend, we head for the old gold mining town of Dutch Flat in Placer County.and the annual 4th of July breakfast at the Odd Fellows Hall.This year we were fortunate to breakfast with the two Honorary Mayors and their ladies.
Thursday, July 2, 2015
One of the three Osprey chicks stood up, leaned forward and strained, and out like a fire hose from his rear was a jet stream of white liquid. Thank God they are being fed and are all alive. Daddy Osprey was seeing to that. Earlier we saw him fly low over the nest a drop what looked like a Golden Mantel Ground Squirrel. This last feeding was a fish from the nearby lake.It is a full time job for the male to keep well fed his mate and their three chicks.
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Chasing the Cranes
by Jim and Shirley White
My friend in Truckee, Tom, says the Sand Hill Cranes are back in Sierra Valley. Although it is still snowing lightly on Donner Summit, off we go. The last of the storm is just passing Castle Peak as we scoot over Donner.
It is the last day of business for our favorite breakfast place, the Sierraville Kitchen.
A motley crew of loggers, ranchers and other locals are having breakfast for the last time. It is a happy and a sad time for most. We say our goodbys and we are off to find the Cranes!
What we really want is a nesting Sand Hill Crane. We have never been able to get close enough in the past. The wily cranes always slip away before we can get near enough. But "Sharp Eyed Shirley" spots one right away. It is nesting right along the road!!! We cannot believe our eyes. The crane watches our every move. We shoot and move along. There are (maybe ) other birds to see.
In all we see 10 cranes, only the bird along the road close enough to shoot. But other life is kind.
A Lesser Yellowlegs poses and and looks friendly. A Rough-leg hawk soars over and lets us shoot, and all in all, another nice day in the Sierra.
Friday, April 10, 2015
It was just after a little snow-storm and all the flowers were refreshed and pure.The sun was warm. We could see a thousand feet below,the Middle Fork of the Yuba river. A wild river with very large Brown Trout I sampled many years ago. We saw a Golden Eagle soaring high in the canyon to the north. A Stellar Jay called an alarm as a Grey Squirrel jumped from limb to limb on a route he seemed to know.
Monday, March 30, 2015
You could even take the 2 mile hike downstream to Codfish Falls, if you think there might just be some falling water when you get there. Well worth spending a couple of hours early or late in the day.
Monday, March 9, 2015
The Sierra Without Snow
by Jim and Shirley White
We drove into Hell Hole Reservoir yesterday to see for our selves. As we approached Hell Hole we met Jason, the Placer Water Agency winter tech who spends the winter, usually snowed in at Hell Hole. When I asked how the winter had gone, he remarked " what winter?". There was maybe 3-4 inches of snow on the road where we met and Jason said the snow lasted about 200 yards down the road and that was it! No winter, no snow. The road between Hell Hole and Chipmunk Ridge did have maybe 4 in. of snow, but of all things, there were deer tracks heading up hill, climbing to their summer range. You can see Mt. Mildred which is 8398 feet elevation in this picture with only a patch of snow to be seen.
Tuesday, March 3, 2015
SO WE HAD A LITTLE SNOW
BY JIM AND SHIRLEY WHITE
Maybe a few snow flurries. Back in the 1950's and "60's few would remember this event as a snow storm. The above picture where we were skiing along the crest from the Benson hut to Mt. Lincoln a storm would produce cornices like you can see in this picture, with the potential of avalanches to follow. That is what we liked about the 1950's. Three to five feet of new snow during the first few days of the storm, with more to come later in the week. There was a feeling of excitement and adventure back country skiing in those "real" snow storms. We had to learn how to find safe routes, camp using natural shelters, learn that storms were the reason the mountains were so great. Once you got into shape each year it was easy and fun. Somehow the Sierra is not so great this year, I guess because of the lack of good snow storms. I took the Donner Lake pictures just after this last event.
I remembered how cold and hard the ice was on Donner Lake when we skied across the lake in late February one year during the '50s.Of course if you look real close there is still some beauty to be seen. But us "old timers" can't feel that excitement or feelings of adventure we felt during the storms of old.
Sunday, February 22, 2015
A Bump In Our Road
by Jim and Shirley White
Christmas and New Years are gone. And so are three people important in our lives. It is all part of living I guess. We haven't felt like writing or shooting photos for ourselves. We tried the other day and Shirley was rewarded with this great shot of the Snowy Egret. Maybe the best picture she has ever taken? The picture does make us want to travel down our road some more.Maybe there is more joy ahead?
The fog was gone by late evening. These Swans were regal, waiting for the night and peace from the days struggle. Some snow on the mountain would be a joy indeed.