I showed up at dawn for a tour later that morning, walking around Searsville Lake in the spreading light, witnessing the coming of the sunlight, the early activity of our great birds, and the bursting forth of spring flowers and leaves. Then with my tour group I circled the lake again, this time on a wider path. While guiding a group, I naturally took less time for photography -- and the light had been more magical at dawn in any case. But our tour stopped in the serpentine to add to our journals -- observations, poetry, or questions -- and I took that opportunity to also observe a white-tailed kite sitting on a high branch, and a pair of red-tailed hawks, together climbing a spiral in the air above us. [Looking at the photographs later, it turned out the kite was devouring a vole or some other prey.] We took a long route around Searsville Lake, visiting some parts of Trail 9 that I seldom see. The buckeye forest was wonderful, full of spring life, new leaves, new flowers, and buckeye seeds putting forth new roots. On both circuits, I felt a little rushed toward the end of the hike -- but that was OK, the earlier parts were so full of wonder.
Then, back at the Sun Research Center, a red-shouldered hawk wheeled overhead. On my drive out, I paused to share some time with the great blue heron that frequents the road and the field near the research center.
The second walk was with participants in the California Naturalist Program, run by Grassroots Ecology. I thoroughly enjoyed sharing the day with them and their leaders: their knowledge, good spirits, and care for our environment made the hike a happily-shared venture.
I hope you enjoy these images, a partial record of my two walks, clockwise, around Searsville Lake in this March spring of 2017. Clockwise circumambulation: the same direction the Nepalese and others circle their holy sites.