I put up the finch feeder again after taking it down for the summer because the finches it attracted were going after our veggie garden. Now we have too many veggies and no finches. I was wondering why we don’t have them…yes, they migrate. Well the sparrows (I think that’s what they are) are occasionally making use of the finch feeder, so that will help those of them who can eat that kind of thistle seed to do well this winter. Next summer I might let the finches have their way with our garden. There does seem to be enough to feed them and ourselves.

Actually now that I look at them, there are two kinds of birds here. The little black and white one was part of a small flock that was eating the bottle brush blossoms, the one on the feeder is a completely different kind.



The observer effect

My co-author and I are working on a science fiction novel and yesterday I was pondering the so-called “observer effect” in quantum physics. Puzzling stuff, but then the birds outside my window gave me a lesson.

Dozens of birds come to bathe and drink out of our waterfall every day. They usually come in groups of the same type. I really enjoy watching their antics. Yesterday, when the pools were filled with at least a dozen birds, I decided to try to photograph them for today’s blog post, grabbed my camera and stepped out my office door.

Bye bye birds. I stood still, holding my camera ready, for a long time. But they all had fled to the power lines and trees. The sounds of so many birds in the neighborhood was amazing. It sounded like an aviary out there.

But the birds didn’t come back. Then I moved and one of the little chirps turned to a cry of alarm. Many of the birds took off, not even daring to hang around in the trees. All I could do was capture them sitting far away.


I brutalized the following photo, but I wanted to show you the activity.


To reduce the observer effect, I think I need to go to the next level and get a tripod with a remote shutter cord and put that outside my door. Then I can sit and write all day and take photos of the little creatures for you!

But for now, I am going to try to get my head around another dimension of the observer effect posed by my co-author, who never ceases to surprise and challenge me.

Happy Thursday to my local friends and happy Friday to my Australian friends, including my co-author!

Out and about in Saratoga

This little fellow was making a lot of noise and doing a lot of damage at the Victorian Village in downtown Saratoga yesterday:


Here is the courtyard in the lovely Victorian Village mall in Saratoga:

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Saratoga is known for its trees. (Sorry the horizon is tilted. Picasa has excellent horizon-adjustment software, but I didn’t like other things it was doing on my computer, so I uninstalled it. I don’t know how to easily straighten the horizon in GIMP. Speaking of which, by the way, all of today’s photos have GIMP’s color white balance and color enhance applied. The photos were pretty in their original state, but I thought the enhancements helped them “pop” for web display without changing the hues too much. (Although the second photo has more blue in the patio and railings than it should.)

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Peace III: A bird comes to visit

At a good breaking point in my writing yesterday, this bird came for a bath and a drink and stayed for quite some time. Just a humble bird, but I felt compelled to take its picture. A gift of peace.


We run the waterfall every day for a half hour to keep the little pools fresh for the visiting birds. Much easier than keeping the water fresh in the little bird bath I used to try to keep up with. This little guy also did fly-by gulps out of the pool. I’ve learned that’s dangerous for birds because if their feathers get wet (and they aren’t a water bird, which all have oil in their feathers), they’ll drown. Perhaps that is obvious, but I never knew that!