Posts tagged “vasona

celebration day

This is how to celebrate a final exam that went well. (Aaron’s summer biology..)

again, the birds

110527_3810The after school walk in the park has become a favorite. I took more photos of ducks & baby geese. The most exciting find was the grebe nest – it now has 3 eggs (last time I only saw one). One grebe was fishing and the other was on the nest.

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Here’s the merganser again. I think this is the male and the female is off nesting. Mergansers move very quickly compared to other ducks.

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today’s birds

The usual suspects (Canada geese, night heron), but also –
– a nice photo of a merganser yawning.
– and mama & baby egret.

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spring = babies

I’ve been watching a praying mantid egg case for weeks now. Finally lots of little ones came out! I’m feeding them aphids and fruitflies. They are tiny; maybe 1 cm.

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New geese babies at the park.. Many different sizes.

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giant turtle

I’m thrilled about spotting this giant turtle at Vasona in the Los Gatos Creek. My best guess is that it’s a nonindigineous species: Apalone spinifera spinifera. Common name: Eastern Spiny Softshell. I wonder what its story is. It’s huge; about 18 in – 2 feet in diameter, and perhaps it is the same one as in the above linked article, last (documented) seen in 1999. Initially I saw it underneath the walking bridge, on a little dry spot. Later I saw it swimming away. The last photo shows the tracks of where the turtle was on the dry land. Maybe burying eggs?

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Also saw lots of birds, including the usual egrets, night herons, Canada geese, ducks, and coots.

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The boys had rubber boots so they could explore more. They found some broken goose eggs, and removed some trash from the water, and had a great time. I managed to get one photo of the very shy feral cat.

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110410_2485Stanford CCRMA sponsored a party of DIY Music instruments Lots of people who also exhibit in Makers’ Faire were here.

Particularly interesting were

  • · Hydrophonium – hydrophone – water microphones – in glass bottles, tuned with filters. Danishta Rivero
  • · wooden e-cello – Andrew Alexander
  • · gourds and traditional instruments from other countries
  • · giant theremin – Charles Gadeken’s Aperion

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A walk in the park afterwards – the blue herons are nesting.

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more rain

110325_2244110325_2245Days and days of heavy rain here have increased the water levels significantly. The creek is raging, and Aaron & his buddies accompanied me on a walk at Vasona Reservoir. The water level almost reaches the bottom of one of the bridges now.
The feral cat home is completely flooded and we saw no cats. We did see a Merganser couple. The herons are tending to their nests now, in their condo complex high in the eucalyptus trees, but I didn’t photograph them this time. They’ll come out of their nests and spread their wings to dry when the sun comes back. That’s not likely to be for a few more days, at least; more rain is scheduled.

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ginkgo angel

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sunrise & ducks

101029_093526We got a beautiful sunrise, and I got a chance to visit the local ducks today, before the rains started again.

These two sunrise shots were taken from the porch, with a tripod, about 7am. I cleaned up a few dust spots – time to clean the lenses. The photos show the east part of the valley, east of San Jose. The first shows Vasona Resevoir in the lower left center. That’s where our duck friends live.

The duck photos are taken with the Droid camera, which isn’t perfect, but much easier to deal with while on a jog. Check out the water swirls in the photo on the left (click it to enlarge.)




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more ducks and music


Vasona Park walk to check on the ducks and geese this morning. The old guy and his mate were getting bread treats from a couple children. Aaron collected goose feathers from the ground and tried to fly.

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Mary and Dan made it to the last SJYS concert of the school year, held at the JCC.

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bird report


Vasona Park is very close to Aaron’s school, so it’s especially convenient to run there in the morning.

Today I brought my camera, because the geese are growing up and I wanted a few more baby shots.


Joe ran there to join me and he spotted a skunk. The skunk was fast though, and I didn’t want to get too close!

When I first arrived, the old male duck and his mate were snoozing..

There are currently 4 families of geese babies, each slightly different in age. The goslings are so much more obedient than the human kids I know.

The female red-wing blackbird doesn’t look anything like the male. She’s there in the brown reeds, singing.

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cheep thrills

100508_6753Aaron and I went to Vasona Lake again to revisit the birds. Joe ran from the house and met us. I took over 300 photos.. I’ve arranged (only) the best ones in several slideshows. There are several photos in each group.


The Great Blue Heron nests are still occupied full-time. There are several nests in the top of a grove of eucalyptus. These birds look like pteranodons to me, especially when they fly.
Wikipedia says they are the largest North American heron, with a head-to-tail length of 91–140 cm (36-55 in), a wingspan of 167-201 cm (66-79 in), and a weight of 2–3.6 kg (4.4-8 lbs). Balancing on the top branches must be tricky.

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The baby geese are growing and we saw some new families as well.

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I followed a killdeer, until it flew to the other side of a stream. Then it proceeded to mate with another killdeer. So of course I continued to take photos. I got a view from the rear. Hmm. Cheep date.

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The ducks have their own story. This male is an old friend of ours. Last year he was really grouchy and fought a lot. He finally found a girlfriend and they’ve been together happily ever since. There’s a hidden little cove where they hang out. This is our secret spot..

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There were plenty of other birds too there – red-wing blackbirds in their usual spots, a fishing grebe, egrets, gulls, and swallows.

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Aaron took a few great shots as well. Back lighting the egret is a really clever idea; the white isn’t overexposed in the photo, plus the fancy feathers are more visible.

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birding at Vasona Park

Aaron and I went birding at the nearby Vasona reservoir. We saw lots of interesting birds and activities!

Our list includes 2 families of geese, a grebe fishing, a few egrets, lots of mallards and a few white ducks, plus red-wing blackbirds. and a new family of mergansers.

The baby geese make me think that they are tiny little descendants of coelophysis.

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This is the heron nest that we have been watching. It’s noisy and crowded now. We counted at least 4 herons in there today. I used a zoom lens & tripod to get these shots – it’s really high in the trees.

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visiting the ducks with friends

It was surprisingly a lot hotter here than at our house. We had a lot of fun anyway, and got to see two families of baby ducks. The baby geese all look like adults now, and there are hundreds there.

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The Boys’ Club

This is the Boys’ Club, our name for the little hidden cove in Vasona Park, where the male mallards like to hang out on hot afternoons.


At home there are two baby deer that we have been watching. Here’s one of them – still with spots!

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the bad thing about summer


We’ve decided to avoid visiting the ducks at Vasona when there is likely to be a lot of people there. This day there was some music event planned and people were showing up with food, kids, and dogs. Aaron got quite upset at three little boys armed with nets.  They didn’t manage to catch anything at all, and I suspect the ducks and geese have dealt with

We did get a nice photo of the Mandarin, who wisely retreated into the hidden cove that we call ‘The Boys’ Club,’ (so named because it’s usually occupied mostly by male mallards.)

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some Mandarin detective work

Here’s a few shots of the famous mystery Mandarin that hangs out with the mallards at Vasona. He’s a very rare duck, probably escaped or let loose from somewhere. He seems to be doing well though at the park, and has gotten used to the photographers and birders following him. These photos were taken with Joe’s Nikon. It’s got a good zoom, and it is a smaller camera; easier to carry on jogs.


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Here’s a close-up of the ankle tag from the photo where he’s scratching his chin:


“PET BIRD” is pretty clearly read. I will try to get a better photo of the other side of the tag.

rare Mandarin

Here’s the rare Mandarin duck that I’ve been trying to photograph. This time though, it seems I caught him on a bad hair day. (bad feather day?) This is the duck that often has a flock of photographers following him.


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getting to know the birds

We’ve been going to visit the same ducks and birds. We watch their interactions and we can see distinctive personalities especially among the ducks. The geese babies are getting bigger.


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Vasona birds

I’ve been doing some jogging at Vasona Resevoir. There are amazing birds there, and Joe lent me his little Nikon to photograph them, so that I could still do a little running as well. Here’s the Merganser and her babies:


There’s a rare male Mandarin duck living among the mallards, as well, and he has a horde of paparazzi following him daily. I’ll post photos of this guy, or just google on “vasona mandarin” and check the images of other people!

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