Hoping for a little color and clouds at sunrise, I headed north from Stockton in the dark and arrived at the Preserve just in time to see a glorious display of color reflected in the pond behind the Visitor Center.
The River Walk Trail is drying quickly now, and should be officially opened soon. Still, the water remains high in some spots that I saw this morning.
Finally! A week of warmer, drier weather. Time to get out and smell the flowers and see the color!
These were taken this morning at the Delta College Demonstration Garden on campus. Got to meet the head of the horticulture department as he snipped specimens for his class to identify. I told him I took ornamental horticulture at San Francisco City College in 1964 when it was one of the most prestigious places to learn the subject. He wasn't impressed. Said he graduated from Cal Poly with an emphasis in Turf. I wasn't impressed.
Today was Snow Day at Quail Lakes Baptist Church in Stockton. The only problem: NO SNOW! The truck ran into bad conditions and couldn't pick it up.
Never fear . . . Grant is here! Hero Hawes came to the rescue and ordered jump houses and slides early in the morning. The kids loved them. Actually, they got to play a lot more than they would have if there had been only one line to enjoy the snow pile.
Congratulations to EVERYONE who rolled with God's better plan and made this a successful event that will be remembered for a long time.
With the Cosumnes River Preserve locked down due to flooding, my second choice of shooting was back on Staten Island Road, where the Sandhill cranes are still hanging out. I made the mistake of bumping up my ISO to 4000, which created too much grain/noise.
I drove over to Franklin Blvd. and Twin Cities Road and saw the flooded fields and roads firsthand. What a mess. This will be a winter to remember.
After about a month of flooding on the Cosumnes River, I was able to venture north to inspect the deluge.
I swung by Staten Island Road first and was surprised by the number of Sandhill cranes and the cloud array at sunrise.
The Preserve fields were all flooded with a few feet of water, so the trails were inaccessible. The boardwalk was passable, though, so everyone who didn't have a kayak or canoe could at least do a little exploring. It was very cold and only a few birds dotted the ponds.
This free three-day event won't interest too many Stockton folks, but there were about 200-300 fans early Saturday morning. If you like dancing, choreography, color, and youthful enthusiasm, you'd enjoy it. Great classical music, too, for some of the performances.
This is a huge event for Stockton, with folks coming from all over the States, plus Japan, Canada and Australia.
Did I say it was foggy out? Especially at the waterfront.
I was surprised to find about 75-100 Sandhill cranes in the south pond in back of the Visitor Center at the Preserve this morning. They weren't too concerned that I was there and let me take all the pictures I wanted as I walked closer about 10' at a time.
Other birds greeted me, including Western bluebirds, Ruby-crowned kinglets, Tundra swan, a couple of Cooper's hawks playing together, Killdeer, Canada goose, White egret, pintail and mallard, etc.
Pretty chilly, with small ponds frozen over and speedsters on the river all bundled up.
Rain was scheduled for this morning as I headed up I-5 to the Preserve, hoping for a potentially glorious sunrise while it was sprinkling. I drove down Bruceville Road with lots of color showing to the east, above the flooded acreage that had about 100 Sandhill cranes in two ponds. I wasn't disappointed, but rewarded with a beautiful blush of reds, orange and yellows. Thankfully, the rain waited just until I finished my shots! God had mercy on me!
I then headed for Woodbridge Road, seeing a few dozen cranes in the fields and many egrets along the road. My crane shots were bland, so you only get the egrets. The two little juvenile snowy egrets were cute. Each a foot high.
Gas is cheap right now. No excuse for not heading out and enjoying God's creation.
Our Thanksgiving eve service included singing, baptisms, testimonies of thanks, and a needed message.
"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting. And His truth endures to all generations." Psalm 100:4,5
The Visitor Center at the Preserve is open after four months of remodeling, but they aren't finished yet. Nice and warm inside, though! I was their first visitor. 19-year volunteer veteran Rick explained what's going on. A design team is coming to add finishing touches.
Very foggy at sunrise. Started to clear about the time I left at 9:30 or so.
Barb and I picked up my photo entries from the Sandhill Crane Festival Art Show in Lodi, then headed out Woodbridge Road to see a great sunset and try to shoot some incoming cranes. The place was packed out. People started parking right on the road after the parking lot filled up.
No one was disappointed that stuck it out until it was almost dark. Plenty of crane action and a beautiful sunset to enjoy.
After a summer of waiting, the Sandhill Cranes are returning to their wintering grounds here in the San Joaquin Valley.
I was not expecting the wonderful cloud array this morning and am thankful to our God of providential mercies for providing it for me and everyone else who was able to get out early and marvel at the sunrise!
The 86th annual Paso Robles Pioneer Day Parade is now in the history books. It featured more than 200 entries - over two hours of vintage and restored tractors, cars and trucks, pioneer families, schools, bands, organizations - an All-American view of an All-American parade.
I think this is the first year that every entry was photographed (I may have missed a few, though). Fun, but tiring for these old bones!