Showing posts with label san luis national wildlife refuge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label san luis national wildlife refuge. Show all posts

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Grey days

Grey was the theme this weekend. It isn't as gloomy as it sounds ... I happen to love grey. I tend to wear grey clothes, which I know is very drab, but what can I say, I like being comfortable. And I love grey days because of the cozy factor.

I spent a couple hours Saturday afternoon winding 650 yards of dark grey Alpaca yarn. My intent was to start knitting a new lace shawl, but after all that winding I needed a nap ... and then the day got away from me.

I'm glad now I didn't start on the shawl. This evening I attended a talk by Lorna Miser about her new book on hand-dyed and variegated yarn, and I'm itching to work with some of the more colorful skeins I bought myself for Christmas. (More about Lorna's talk in a few days.)

I woke up this morning to a thick blanket of fog. This was the view out my bedroom window ... it was quite beautiful. It reminded me of the heavy tule fog we experienced in Central California when I was a kid. My mom would wake me up with, "It's froggy out there."

It was very froggy today.

This is a big week. We have loooooong meetings scheduled almost every day at work, as well as team building events and communication workshops, culminating in a formal party Friday night with dinner and dancing. I'm a very quiet, solitary kind of person, so I'm not looking forward to the week, even though I know it will all be fine. Today I wanted to do something that makes me happy to help carry me through the week, so I headed out to (my) wildlife refuge. It was grey there, too, which of course is exactly the way I like it. The refuge looks great all eerie and mysterious.

The highlight of the day was seeing tule elk for the first time. (Both the fog and the elk are named after the tule grass that grows in the central valley.) They don't fit in with the grey theme, but they're so beautiful I had to share the photos with you. The color of the elk against the grass is so gorgeous and primitive; it reminds me of these dioramas from the California Academy of Sciences.

The tule elk are found only in California and were almost driven to extinction at one point. The refuge has played a major role in bringing them back by protecting a small herd in a very large enclosure and periodically allowing one or two to join a herd that roams freely throughout the state.

There's still time to enter my yarn giveaway ... it's open until Wednesday evening. Have a good week!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Taking Refuge


I love being home, especially in the winter. I like to hang out in my pajamas, curled up in bed with the cats and a book, doing a little knitting here and there. There was a time in my life when I had a passion for travel, but these days I mainly want the peace and quiet of home.

But after being cooped up in my apartment for five days in row, exhausted and trying to shake off a cold, I wanted to run away from home. I couldn't stop thinking about my job and other subjects not suitable for one's vacation, and almost (but not quite) wished that I hadn't taken this week off because I really wasn't enjoying it.

Then everything changed.

I took a two hour drive to my favorite wildlife refuge. I swear that place is magical. Every time I go there, which is usually once a year, I ask myself why I don't visit more often. Spending time surrounded by wetlands and wildlife is so healing; it profoundly lifts my spirits.


A big storm is coming in today, but tomorrow I plan to get back on the road to visit another refuge. I wouldn't quite say my passion for travel has been restored-- I'm not ready to jump on a plane or anything-- but I have rediscovered a joy that somehow slipped through my fingers. Again.

If you live in the states and would like to visit a refuge, check out the National Wildlife Refuge System for more information.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A little adventure

I've been wanting to get away for a while now, so today I took off for a little adventure at the San Luis Wildlife Refuge, a couple hours from where I live.
The wildlife refuge is one of the best places I've ever found to go birding, but I've only been there in the winter, not in the spring. I tried not to get my hopes up about the birds I would see because it's much more enjoyable not to have any expectations, to just see what you see.


I knew the refuge would be very green and the wildflowers would be in bloom, and wasn't disappointed.


But there was one thing that surprised me ...
The refuge was empty. I had the entire place to myself. Well, okay, I did see a couple birders walking down the road, and one couple standing by their car taking pictures of an egret. But I was there for hours, and the refuge is huge! Why people weren't flocking to such a beautiful place is beyond me.

I drove through miles and miles of gorgeous grassland.

There were Great Egrets everywhere!

They are so beautiful in flight.

I lost count of the number of Great Blue Herons I saw. They are one of my top ten favorite birds, and today I decided if I were a bird, I'd be a Great Blue Heron. It was difficult getting a picture of one because they flew away the moment I came in to view, except for this one that let me get a snapshot of his head. I suspect he thought he was completely camouflaged.

On the drive to and from the refuge I listened to Committed, the new book by Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love. I didn't think I would like it, but it's really good.

It was a wonderful day, and I loved having such a beautiful place almost all to myself. In addition to egrets, I saw lots of swallows, California Quail and another one of my favorite birds, Red-winged Blackbirds. I love hearing the sound of their call because it signifies that spring is here.

Hope you have a happy Easter.