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Egret and crab

Sunday, December 31, 2023

Catch you next year!


First off, I would like to wish you all the happiest of New Years and the best of health in the coming year. May you be swathed in oodles of joy. Unbelievable amounts of joy. So much joy that you might even find yourself wishing for a slight tad of depression, just to dull the heady, happy buzz.

I got my new Mac Studio computer setup today. Ken Seals worked on it all morning. Not a lot of glitches but a few, of course. 

My Epson scanner will no longer work with this upgraded Mac OS. Need to call them on Tuesday. My Epson ICC printer profiles have decided to disappear as well but I think I have that figured out.

New computer is super fast, amazing difference from the Intel iMac.

Jeff gave me a great monitor. We calibrated it and it worked just as promised, was within a smidge of where it was supposed to be, color wise.

Now I have to catch up on the Lightroom changes that occurred while I was unable to upgrade and try to get up to speed.

Shouldn't be a serious problem, I am a fairly fast study and a lot of the new stuff, like lens blur, is not really useful to me. 

The older I get, the more fancy new filters I seem to eschew. Tend to play it a lot straighter.

Anyhow, I won't figure it out instantly but hopefully will be able to create beautiful photographs again soon.

Yesterday we had the Escondido Christmas Bird Count. 

Once again we were out in Ramona, doing Rangeland Rd. and the Ramona Grasslands Preserve.


I have been doing it for quite a few years, honestly yesterday was not the greatest day to be out, off and on rain. Nature decided not to cooperate. We made the best of it.


As I have mentioned frequently, I am more of a bird photographer then ace birder and I am smart enough to know that.

Luckily we had Phoenix, Miranda and the two Beths along again and these expert birders more than made up for my avian ignorance.

We got 64 species. Not a bad haul on a crummy day. 

Loggerhead Shrike

We saw seven ferruginous hawks, maybe the most beautiful hawk species of them all, a bunch of red tailed and kestrels, two bald eagles in the nest, three loggerhead shrikes, a pair of vermilion flycatchers, meadowlarks and mountain bluebirds galore. 


A buffle head with a small harem. 


Shovelers engaged in the curious behavior known as rafting.

One faraway burrowing owl. I was worried about my camera getting wet and never really got in the danger zone.

Not enough light for great photographs so I was pretty useless. I tried to make up for my deficiencies by cracking jokes all day, to mixed results.

It was nice to be out, even in the light rain. Once again, I learned a lot. 

I am glad that I did not bring my expensive lens out in the rain. 

I knew it would be marginal pickings, photographically speaking and was okay with it.

Ferruginous hawk

Lark Sparrow

The sparrow freaks were a twitter over the golden crowns, I must admit they didn't do a lot for me.

Takes all kinds I guess.

We had white crowned and lark sparrows, horned larks and savannahs.

No waxwings this year, one measly phainopepla.

Saw a beautiful russula mushroom, identified by Miranda.

Beth made some really good sandwiches, the girls split a beer.

We went to Kit Carson Park afterwards and met the rest of the groups participating in the count and I saw my friend Ken Weaver who is just the greatest guy and the quintessential birder.

I met legendary birder Paul Lehman as well, didn't look at all as I pictured he would. Nice, affable guy.

I had written him last year about the red, yellow headed blackbirds, he didn't remember me.



I wish that I had done a better job but you can't win them all and sometimes you have to take what life gives you. Will be out to redeem myself soon.  I was able to hike with some really nice people.


You will notice that I have a 2024 copy write on these pics, I lost my 2023 marks when I updated the Adobe software so thought I might as well be thinking ahead and played with a couple new styles today. We will see what I land on. 

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I want to remind you that I will be at the Fallbrook Library on January 4th from 3 to 5, hanging out with my photographs, which come down the next day. Don't worry if you have not seen them, my own wife hasn't seen them. 

But if you would like to stop by, I will be there and I will have seven or eight unframed but matted prints for sale as well.

Bring my wife.

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We are going over to Dr. Neon's for New Years tonight.

klaatu barada nikto

Neon is quite the artist, sculptor and fabricator. 

We went out to lunch the other day and he showed me his new robots that he made, replete with laser visors. 

He is an amazing talent, not to mention a very smart guy, if a bit twisted. But hey, like I'm normal?

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He took me to his favorite asian buffet in Murrieta the other day, in the old Burlington center.

All you can eat sushi, for sixteen dollars. Giant prawns, place was insane. I don't see how they do it. I ate a hundred dollars worth of sushi without batting an eye. And it was good.

I want to back.

We hit the place like locusts.












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I guess this is where we bid adieu and I thank you for reading the blast and coming aboard, being part of my strange little world. 

Please be safe tonight, stay off the roads if you can, be snug and warm with your families and the people you love.

As Ringo says, Peace and Love.

4 comments:

RoxAnn said...

Happy New Year to you and Leslie. It’s fun to be part of your tribe. Peace and Joy!

Kent said...

Happy New Year Robert
Love your blog.
See you soon.

Julie Hardesty said...

Happy New Year, Robert! Always love the bird pics!

Ken Seals said...

Great and interesting account of your year end adventures.