The slideshow below contains some of my favorite images. All were taken in Yolo County — most inside Davis city limits, or on the UC Davis campus. What strikes me is that one does not have to go far to find the completely exotic. All that is required is truly seeing and a little patience.
I am pleased to say that some of these pictures have been requested by local galleries, and have been hanging for local showings. To my pleasure, at the last show, I even sold some . This has encouraged me to begin marketing my work. I have listed some of these images in my Etsy store: http://www.etsy.com/shop/dragonbreathpress?section_id=8049977
If you are interested in prints of any of these images, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or, perhaps, it is Faerie Day. This is just a reminder that, if we choose to see it, every day can be magical.
As is my habit, I took the opportunity for a long Sunday morning bike-ride into Winters. I do this every weekend that my son is with his mother. It began as a way to distract myself from the what-ifs and similarly productive thoughts. In time, I grew enamored of the ride itself, twisting gently through the beautiful farmlands of Yolo and Solano Counties. But, maybe, I have come to take it for granted. I usually take this ride alone, but today I was joined by a friend, who was repeatedly stunned by the beauty of the farmland and crossing an old, converted rail-road bridge into the town of Winters.
After meeting with other friends for e second breakfast and our choice of morning beverage (green tea for me), my friend and I went to explore Putah Creek from the property of a local land-owner friend (see my previous post for more info on that). We saw few dragonflies, but perhaps, appropriately for Faerie Day, many, many damsels (whose wings must have inspired many an image of faerie wings), including the lovely American Rubyspot (again, see previous post for picture). Another damsel — a female Tule bluet — hovered in front of me for half a minute, at a distance of less than six inches. It moved up and down, and seemed fascinated by my reflective, fluorescent yellow tech-shirt (I prefer to be seen when biking). Perhaps it was thinking, “Whoa! That’s one f”ing huge flower!” Or, could it have been wishing me a happy faerie day.
If not, it was a good one in any case.
A weekend spent chasing dragons and damsels (of the insect variety)
Day 1: 05.26.12
Vic Fazio Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area: (1300-1430)
Low 70s, partly cloudy, becoming mostly cloudy
SW wind 15-20mph
I biked here and hiked in a couple of miles, but dragonfly-wise, it was very quiet, even by edges of still-wet pools
Common whitetail:1 immature male
Black Saddlebags 1
Both in wind-blown flight (no photos)
dozens of great and snowy egrets
1 green heron
5 red-tailed haws
Wildhorse Ag Buffer (a trail and some grasslands between the golf course and the ag land)
Black saddlebags: 7 or 8
Blue dashers: 2 males
Darner spp. (possible California or blue-eyed — hard to tell as they came zipping by
All in wind-blown, sideways flight (no photos)
Also seen (non-Odes):
2 burrowing owls
Day 2: 05.27.12
Putah Creek, Winters, Private Property
Mid 70s – Low 80s, few clouds
Light SW Breeze: approx 10mph, but the creek is largely sheltered
American rubyspot (my first sighting ever) 1 male; 1 female (verification for female appreciated)
Exclamation damsels (also a first for me)
for photos, see:
Not photographed, due to the fact that they were not landing:
Western Pondhawk: 1 female for sure; several possible males, but could not get a good enough look, so they could be Blue Dashers
1 unknown brown and tan dragonfly with a skimmer-like body
Possible variegated immature meadowhawks (far bank, so hard to tell)
One likely darner species (I’ll get you yet, my little pretty…)
North Davis Pond
Low 80s, sunny
Light SW breeze
Numerous Blue Dashers (scores)
Common whitetails (a few)
Pacific forktails (a few)
Widow skimmer (a few)
This is a different mix than previous years. Blue dashers are by far the most abundant species this year (and most, by far, are male). No flame skimmer visible. No bluets visible.
Day 3: 05.28.12
Today I decided to bike out to a location on Cache Creek where I used to go rock-hounding with a friend. It is located behind the Wildwings golf course and housing development, just off state highway 16. It is kind of an interesting place. The Creek is a public access area, but you have to go through a private housing development to get to it. The entrance of the development says “No Trespassing.” Luckily, I have a standing invitation from a resident. Oddly, every street in the place is named after a species of duck, but I haven’t seen a single duck any time I’ve been in the Creek. A private airport, gravel pit and the Cache Creek Conservancy all border the place.
On the ride in, I had a nice push from the wind. I stopped and inspected the well-flooded irrigation ditches along Co Rd 99 where it looked like that would not piss anyone off. Only Pacific forktails were seen.
The ride from Davis is mostly good, with nice bike lanes for most of it. Highway 16, though is kind of scary, with microscopic paved shoulders and psychotic drivers (the most courteous drivers are those in odd-looking farm-vehicles). My previous theory that those who bike up to Clear Lake have a death wish stands reinforced. The gopher snake body count on Yolo County Roads is becoming distressing.
Behind the Wildwings Housing Development, outside Woodland, CA.
upper 70s to lower 80s, very few clouds
SSW winds 15-20mph winds, but the creek was sheltered
American rubyspot (M/F)
Western pondhawk (M/F)
Emma’s dancer (thanks Ray Bruun)
California or Aztec dancer (verification appreciated)
Flame skimmer (1M)
Not photographed, since they would not hold still:
Some sort of mostly blue darner (blue-eyed, California?)
Not photographed because I have plenty of photos:
Other critters seen:
lots of lizards
red-tailed and Swainson’s hawks
Riding back, I got to understand that 20mph wind is more than it sounds like, especially when you bike directly into it for 16 miles.
The drainage ditches that had held only Pacific forktails in the morning now also boasted Black saddlebags.
On May 18 the car of my friend Michael Hendrix was T-boned by a drunk driver. His daughte, who was riding in the passenger seat was severely injured and remains in a coma. The drunk was, of course, uninsured.
The accident occurred at the intersection of Road 31 and Road 95, near the Davis Airport.
Today, the community of Winters, CA. (a community of just over 6000 people) came together to support the Hendrix family, both emotionally and financially for a spaghetti feed catered by the Buckhorn restaurant and held at the Winters fire station.
Marie’s story can be viewed at
<a href=”http://mariesmiracles.blogspot.com/” rel=”nofollow”>mariesmiracles.blogspot.com/</a>
For those who wish, donations may be made at any First Northern Bank branch. Ask for the Marie Hendrix Medical Fund trust account. I assume checks may be mailed, and a PayPal option is in the works.
The drunk driver was Rogilio Cardenas, 30, of Davis. He, of course, sustained only minor injuries.
That is today, and as far as I can tell, it exists solely on the internet, and in coupons for all-meat pizzas. Nonetheless, since I am a man, let’s look at my day:
I woke up, as I usually do, and had a breakfast of oatmeal, one cup of coffee and some green tea. Hm, not too wild, so far. Biked to work, wearing shorts in 30-degree weather. Maybe a little bit there. Work, being, work generally cant be described as wild: some time in the lab, some time in and two meetings, one of which was for the safety committee. Uh-oh.
After work I went to yoga. Nope, not Bikram: too damn hot! Not naked yoga, either. I imagine that would be distracting. Nor was it laughter yoga. Our instructor does tell dirty jokes sometimes… but not today. Humph.
Then another meeting.
Well, I figured that if anything was going to get me points, maybe it would be dinner. Steak tartare, while listening to Guns ‘n’ Roses. Maybe a little wild. Perhaps I should go to the woods to drum and grunt next year. Or maybe, I’m done with wild. Or maybe not, and it just wasn’t the day for it.
On Tuesday morning, Buddy, one of our “portable” wiener-dogs passed away, at the age of 13. On Christmas day, he became ill, but seemed to recover nicely. A phone consult with a vet didn’t raise any red flags. A scrounging-related illness or some back trouble seemed most likely, neither of which are unusual for dachshunds. The next day, at the vet’s he seemed himself and quite energetic. However, by the next morning he was having trouble with his back legs. When I called the vet to describe the symptoms, she became concerned that perhaps he’d had a stroke, and wanted to do some blood work. I went home, but he had passed away. This has been rough for me and my son, Justin. During the divorce, the dogs were often a source of serenity and unconditional love. Dogs seem to be one of the few species capable of that grand gift. Buddy’s “brother,” Buster seems to be having a truly rough time with it. In the past, when we left the house, Buddy and Buster would curl up together. Now Buster just cries pathetically….
Buddy and Buster came to us in the summer of 2006. At the time, the family was still, by appearances, intact (but unraveling). Justin had just finished first grade, and we decided to get him a dog, since he was really wanting one. One the way to the pound, Justin said, “I hope they have a dachshund.”
I have never seen a dachshund at the pound, so we cautioned him not get his hopes up. When we got there, they had not one, but two, doxies. They had been given up together, and it was requested that we adopt them together, which we did. We quickly realized that Buster was completely neurotic, but Buddy seemed to go with the flow with most things. His only complaint was that he was promptly put on a weight-loss regimen.
Within a year, my marriage truly came apart at the seams. In spite of my efforts, it could not be salvaged. Since I initially had full custody of Justin, I also kept the dogs. Justin is an unabashed animal-lover, and the dogs (as well as our cats and geckos) provided the stability he needed. Buddy and Buster have been our beach and camping companions for numerous trips, providing for additional joy on the outings. In their minds, they, no doubt, also kept us safe from squirrels.
It comes as a great loss to have our pack reduced by one, but I do not want to dwell on the sadness, but celebrate the life of Buddy. In that spirit, I have put together a collage of pictures in which he appears:
Other/full-sized pictures can be seen at:
This reminds me not only of the good times he gave to us, but that we also provided him with extra years of love and comfort.
I am sure that I will meet Buddy again, but I wonder when and in what form. I can only hope that I will recognize him.
Fare thee well, little dog.
It’s been a while, so here is a little something. This past weekend, Justin and I decided to take Buddy and Buster,the wiener-dogs, for a bike ride. As they are little, they fit nicely into my son’s bike baskets, which he loves. I think the best part for him is watching people for their reactions. When they notice, it is usually a smile or a grin. We were not disappointed this time. Smiles all around. One person kidded that the dogs needed helmets. I think he is right.
Note the dog-ear turn signal:
For higher res see: http://www.flickr.com/photos/36618387@N06/6539507885