El Rey

Meet “El Rey” the biggest baddest toad on the pond this summer. Happily surveying their domain from the comfort of a well placed rock along the waters edge. Easily a giant to the more numerous frogs that inhabit his kingdom yet a benevolent ruler by any standard.

While we usually see the king along the shady side of the water every once in a while a nice sunbath is in order.

After a sun bath a little dip in the pool is always a good way to cool down and moisturize the skin.

“El Rey” truly king of the pond and a good king at that.


A male Yellow-rumped Warbler makes a rare appearance from the forest canopy to rest on the firewood chopping block. Although we here them all day long in the spring and early summer we only get glimpses of them moving in the canopy of the fir trees high above.


The Chukar , pronounced choo-karr. is a game bird introduced to North America and New Zealand from Eurasia. The Chukar typically inhabits high, dry and rocky terrain in Western North America. We have occasionally gotten a glance and sometimes a quick photo of them while out and about in the great basin region of the United States but our encounters were always short and to the point. That all changed a week ago.

While sipping our morning coffee this lone Chukar wandered into our yard. Probably an escapee from a bird dog training session or from a hunting ranch. This day we had a chance to observe and photograph this bird up close and for several hours as it hung around most of the day and into the early evening.

It was fun to get a good look at this Chukar however by days end they had wandered off into the sunset.

White-crowned Sparrow

An immature White-crowned Sparrow soaking in some of the golden morning sunlight.

We love listening to adults sing their songs each spring and according to the All About Birds website:

A young male White-crowned Sparrow learns the basics of the song it will sing as an adult during the first two or three months of its life. It does not learn directly from its father, but rather from the generalized song environment of its natal neighborhood.bird



Peeking into the shrubs to get a view of the ever-present but what seemed to be always-hidden singer of a wonderful back and forth duet of sound that guided us on our walks in a costal forest. The Wrentit is a beautiful bird with a piercing eye that inhabits the costal scrub and chaparral along the west coast of the United States. They are prolific singers the fill the forests with song at all hours of the day making it easy to know they are present even if seeing them is a chore. Wrentits are non-migratory and it is reported that they may not travel further than half a mile from where they were born.

Reference:  Geupel, G. R. and G. Ballard (2020). Wrentit (Chamaea fasciata), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (P. G. Rodewald, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.wrenti.01


Memory is a funny thing. What was a moment of reflection becomes a reflection of a reflection.

Seasons pass and come again blurring into one.

A season that never came.

A season that never left.

Places you’ve been seem close yet far and never how they are.

Yes, memory is a quite peculiar thing.