The Arbor Day Remembrance
Looking up at the giant redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) forest on the Main Trail near the border of Mount Tamalpais State Park at Muir Woods National Monument.
Near 1 Muir Woods Road, Marin County, California: 29 January 2013
part of the Muir Woods album
The first stop on my 2013 birthday of nature, trails and photography was the one and only Muir Woods National Monument in Marin County. It was the natural place to begin, considering its proximity to the other destinations scheduled.
At times like my last visit in the mid-1990s, Muir Woods can be too popular a place to fully enjoy and immerse yourself in its wonderful, peaceful surroundings. Only twenty minutes north of San Francisco, it is a popular tourist destination especially for those who have never seen a great redwood tree. On 29 January 2013 though, Marc and I had the place basically to ourselves.
Over the course of three hours, we meandered down the Main Trail all the way to the signed border of Mount Tamalpais State Park and then back, taking a slightly different route where available. Crisp, cool and especially fresh oxygenated air flowed through the dimly lit forest. Tranquil and pure, chirping songbirds were the only soundtrack heard.
Muir Woods is a beautiful place and we were lucky to be there on a quiet, seemingly tourist-free day. However pleased I may be with some of my photographs from this visit, there is an ineffable quality to a place like this impossible to capture truly.
And just as I experienced six days earlier at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, it is an interesting juxtaposition being secluded in a wonderful natural place like Muir Woods yet so close to over seven million people.
The Late Afternoon Face-Off
Great Egret (Ardea alba) and California sea lion (Zalophus californianus) vying for fish at the outdoor "Pacific Point Preserve" exhibit at SeaWorld Orlando.
7007 Sea World Drive, Orlando, Florida: 28 December 2013
part of the SeaWorld Orlando album
Antique metal match holder complete with wooden matches hung from a nail on the kitchen wall in the Woodrow Wilson House (1915).
2340 S Street NW, Washington, District of Columbia: 31 January 2014
part of the Woodrow Wilson House album
A fish escapes from an Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga) after being caught in a pond north of the lake at Jacksonville's Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park.
Near Pioneer Drive, Jacksonville, Florida: 24 November 2012
part of the Thanksgiving 2012 album
When I first spotted this Anhinga anhinga just north of the main lake at Jacksonville's Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park, it had just caught a fish. As the bird prepared to eat its catch, something happened and the fish successfully launched itself from the anhinga's bill with amazing speed and agility.
I pressed the shutter button repeatedly and captured three frames as the anhinga rapidly reacted by diving into the pond in pursuit.
From escape to pursuit, everything seen above took place inside of two seconds. The anhinga returned seventeen seconds later, apparently without the fish.
I have no idea what ultimately occurred below the water's surface, but I was left with the impression that the fish did not become a meal that afternoon.
The Inevitable Conclusion
Bolt and washer at the base of the hand water pump over a trough for the mule lot at Dudley Farm Historic State Park.
18730 West Newberry Road, Newberry, Florida: 16 February 2014
part of the Dudley Farm Historic State Park album