Saturday, February 09, 2013

El Dorado!

El Dorado is Spanish for a place of fabulous wealth.
Isn't it curious that in wealthy southern California a nature park would be so named?
Perhaps not, considering how costly southern California real estate is worth these days.
If the nature park was up for sale as a piece of property, someone would soon be getting some pretty big bucks.
While visiting Sara (the blogger who writes Come Away with Me) a week ago we were able to visit the nature center and enjoy nature free of charge.
How nice is that?

I personally was delighted that we could stroll at our own pace without dodging runners or feeling like we should be putting a bit more effort into our own gait.

So come along with us on our walk.
Near the parking lot was a holly bush draped shaggy with fallen pine needles.

Across a foot bridge we went, over barely flowing water.

The green headed mallard population quickly swam up to greet and welcome us.

Signs warned of feeding them so I suspect their welcome was genuine rather than handout inspired.

Now I will confess that I have a soft spot for turtles.
Seeing one perched on a log made me quite happy.

A pregnant pine tree?

I do not know the name of this little guy but he was swimming along all by his lonesome, paddling as fast and hard as he could in the shallow stream.

Mini gardens sprung up of their own accord in the hollowed out tops of logs: charming!

Tribal mask or bug?

Bonus:  A Great Egret!
(Its correct name is "Great Egret"...that isn't a comment about this particular egret.)
All together now, join me in singing line from "I did it my way" with Frank Sinatra:

Egrets....I've had a few, but then too few to mention...

A freaked out cat tail.
Or a cat tail gone to seed.
Depends on your perspective and cat-savvy.

We sauntered along a mile long path, enjoying the dappled sunlight and shadows beneath the mostly bare trees.

As any photo taking blogger knows, picture taking stops are to be expected and enjoyed.
I enjoyed taking this picture of Sara shooting a photo.
We have spent a weekend together in SLC taking pictures of fall color two years ago.
I think we could probably enjoy similar weekends just about anywhere that is scenic.

I am guessing this is a squirrel drey rather than a bird's nest, but I could be wrong.

Don't you love seeing Mr. and Mrs. Mallards?
They always seem to be together in pairs, and we always call them Mr. and Mrs.

I don't know if there are Mr. and Mrs. Grebes...
Sara and I chatted briefly about the classic black and white grebe wardrobe, with their lime green accent leggings.
I think the white bills are a nice touch.

The mallards are so much more fashion forward with that light changing green/blue head feather trick.

A stack of turtles on a log brings to mind the Dr. Seuss classic Yurtle the Turtle, a book that was first published when I was a child.
There was even a Yurtle the Turtle board game released with the book, which our family owned.

I don't recall what kind of turtle Yertle was, but these are (I think) painted turtles.
Or maybe red sliders.
Lots of kids own this kind of turtle growing up when I was a kid.
The pet turtles were about 2-3 inches big and usually lived in a plastic tray with a fake palm tree.
I  was so surprised to learn later that they actually DO live in the wild!

They seem to have very nice easy going lives....

Swim around, find a nice log, stretch out, soak up the sun.
Reflect in the water.

Occasionally look around.
Nice life!

Isn't that peaceful?

The turtles all seem to get along and are willing to share the best sunning logs.

But of course, even the most blissful lives have intrusive elements.

Who doesn't have a butt-in-ski person or couple in their lives?

Turtle:  Just stay still...maybe they will just glide by and not stop in this time.

Turtle:  Oh hi...

Mr. Mallard:  Hey, you mind if I just hang around with you all for a little while?

Mrs. Mallard:  Listen, while I have you all here I wanted to ask you about...

Mr. Mallard: Oh man, my back has been itching me so bad lately...

This duck was the ultimate "photo bomb" duck!
He just would not get out of the picture.

Apparently it was all about Mr. Mallard.

He swam back and forth, crossing over the log, stopping on the log...

Standing on the log...

He stared at me like if to ask if I was getting his best side.

I was proud of the three turtles who stood their ground, er, log.

In the end, they all together created a colorful picture.

Now do you see what I see?
This turtle is sporting a mustache!

Isn't that the cutest turtle thing ever???
Very jaunty!
(I got the giggles when I noticed the mustache in the photo after taking the picture.)
Sara promises to return to El Dorado from time to time to take pictures of the park in the various seasons.
I am glad she has such a neat place to go; it seemed like a place one could easily spend a morning or afternoon at, pack in a lunch or the makings of an afternoon tea; a place to be with a friend or all alone.
I only had 24 hours with Sara.
I got to me her dear Miss Kitty, (who was not as thrilled to meet me as I was to meet her, typical of cats!)
I got to hear her Music Man playing on his piano.
We got a chance to sit on her cover patio and enjoy the comfortable January late morning chatting about odds and ends.
Her home is a welcoming and peaceful as her blog.
I was blessed by her hospitality and friendship!
Thank you for letting me come spend the night and see in person so many of the beautiful things you have shared with us all on your blog over the years!


Grandma G said...

What a lovely walk. Funny... that was my thought about the pine tree before I even read what you wrote. :)

Vee said...

You have a thing for turtles? I think you have a thing for all creatures and all things outdoors. What fun to share it all with a friend.

Pondside said...

That was a nice walk. I'd like to be a turtle, just drifting along the lazy river or sunning myself on a log.

Sara said...

It was fun sharing some sights around Long Beach with you Jill. I'm glad you got such a good photo of the Great Egret; mine did not turn out too well. And those funny ducks and turtles and their interaction. It was wonderful sharing it all with a fellow blogger and good friend.

Purrfect Haven said...

we love visiting (vicariously) your outdoors and seeing some sunshine along with all the amazing creatures.. great. Thanks. Thanks for taking time to leave us a comment. Love Helen, Darcy and Bingley xxx

ellen b. said...

You are cracking me up this morning with your commentary on your photos! That no jogging sign is great!
Looks like a lovely place to walk and explore and NOT JOG!

Rosella said...

That was a fun and interesting nature walk!!! I loved the "tribal mask" on the bug.

Vicki said...

What fun! I don't believe I've ever studied a turtle that close-up before to notice if he had a 'stache or not!