Lake Jennings in the Springtime

Our stay here at Lake Jennings turned out to be longer than we had anticipated, the death of my mother stopped us in our tracks. You never know what you are going to feel I guess unless you have experienced it before. Staying out of the city and on the top of the hill at this lovely park was helpful as the added stress of society, the city and too many people and traffic often overwhelms us at the best of times.It allowed me to close a long chapter in our lives and opened the possibilities of starting a brand new one.


Western end of Lake Jennings

Lake Jennings provided us a wonderful escape from the city while still being close enough to have the ease of access to most of the necessities of what we were doing.

It took until the beginning of January to arrange to have the horses shipped out of Valle de la Guadalupe in Mexico and make the long trip through Nogales and quarantine. They arrived in one piece although Dusty had dropped several hundred need to go on the diet now..they were extremely happy to see us with lots of nickers at first sight. It never ceases to amaze me just how much they rely on us for all their needs, both physical and emotional to let them know everything will be alright. The new barn was right down the road in Lakeside and afforded me the possibility of daily visits to settle them in and get them used to their new home. They made new friends with their stall mates and we met some wonderful people there as well.It is wonderful to be able to leave and know they are in capable and caring hands. After 8 years with no vets or farriers this was a dream! and a big part of my feeling more comfortable with our future endeavors.






For those of you that know us will realize how important these four footed creatures are to us. They came with us from Canada to Baja. Maya was born on a Saturday morning in front of barn full of kids at our equestrian center, talk about life lessons, and Dusty, known as the Evil Clown to some of his lesson students packed many grateful riders around the jumps to many championships and first place ribbons. They are the glorious reminder of our decade long relationships with our incredible students and boarders at Ranyhyn Farm our adopted families.

We changed campsites several times as the great staff did their best to fit us in around previous reservations, for that we were quite grateful. We stayed at both the full hook ups at the lower sites to the partial hook-ups on the hill looking out over both Lakeside and wonderful views of the lake. Other than tolerating the out of work carnies selling whimpering puppies ( and probably some crack as well..all those visitors) out of their RV it was mostly quiet, especially after the Sheriff Department escorted that particular group off of the premises.


Nesting Anna’s hummingbird

The Lake is open for fishing from Friday to Sunday as well as the 5 mile walking road around the lake. Here is where I found this delightful nesting hummingbird while photographing the blooms on a Eucalyptus tree. To say I was overjoyed was an understatement:)..After all the years of chasing Hummingbirds at Concepcion this was such a wonderful experience!

The bird life and the explosion of wildflowers were fantastic. The Bald eagles were flying for the first month regularly and then were off to nest in other areas but made brief appearances on a regular basis, especially the juveniles. It was another first for me to see these magnificent flying creatures and also meet a few fellow photographers that were passionate about them as well. The ever present Ospreys fishing off of the water tower and phone lines were a constant source of wonder and beauty as they picked trout out of the lake and sat eating them on their perches. Along side the lake the Double crested Cormorants had their preferred logs to sit on and dry their wings.




Juvenile Bald Eagle







And to round out the bird life at the waters edge the nesting Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets searching for lizards were always a sight along the road as I walked to the Park entrance and back. They had their favourite fishing haunts and could be seen going about their daily routine. To be in the city and yet to be surrounded by all this life and beauty helped me to no end deal with emotions coursing through me. I’d said goodbye to the mother I knew many many years ago but the finality hit me in a strange way. We are connected as humans in ways we can not even venture to comprehend…

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Great Blue Heron waiting patiently


Double Crested Cormorants










The life is not confined to the lake side either. Cactus Wrens were building their nests in the nopales and the Roadrunners were busy hunting and romancing with their freshly caught lizards, offering their catches and wooing their future mates. Fish are not the only food on the menu it seems;)


Beep beep..with his mouthful;)

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Great Egret with lizard breakfast









The abundance of January rains just before we arrived has let the countryside explode with colour. Many recognizable wildflowers from our eight years at the ranch were blooming as well as host of newer to me, coastal type flowers, and yes, the hummingbirds that come with them. That is what started me on my quest of photography, those little flying marvels. Wandering the hillsides at the park and along the lake were a kind of therapy for what seemed like endless hours of phone calls and being on hold between Canada and the US requirements for an estate. This helped to no end, to wander off and get lost for even half an hour…There are hiking trails around the park and all one has to do is sit and wait and watch at what comes along.


Back lit wildflower

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Rear admiral


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Goldfinch feeding















One of our original reasons for coming back to the Otro Lado was to await the much anticipated arrival of Mike’s new telescope ordered many many months before. We had originally planned on driving to Florida to pick up the telescope but with the incredible bad weather hammering the SE we decided against the drive and to opt for the shipping. Talk about the kid in the candy store..Mike was on his seat waiting for it to come. The new mirror, a quartz Zambuto mirror is about half the weight of his previous mirror. This is good news, for me, who has to help with lifting it in and out of the box in the back of the pickup:)..yeah…so now that he has had a chance to check it out, so far with only average seeing, he is very excited about getting it somewhere where he can truly explore it’s potential…so he will be Mooning you again soon;)

The other reason for coming North was the shutter failure on the Canon took a week to fix at George’s Camera..bless George and as you can see I am happy to have my full frame camera back up and running! I truly missed it’s clarity. It was fun to go back to the Rebel 4Ti and to use the massive 630mm..OMG that was awesome, but the pictures were just not as sharp..hard to go back! It was truly nice to run into a few other lovely people interested in photography, Ana, Billy and Kathi, wonderful to share what you see with others and to have a connection in an often disconnected world..there were also a few photographer trolls out there, one I ran into that was quite unpleasant..a first for me among bird photographers but I guess it was bound to takes all types to make up the world.

I’ll sign off with one of my favourites this year, an Anna’s feeding at my brother and sister in law’s Aloe plants where he lives in Ramona. Overcast skies gave it a perfect shine..and the colour of the flower..spectacular. It is wonderful to have family in more ways than one:) I’ll try not to be such a stranger in the next few months. I needed my quiet time but now, it is time to once again go forward, seek out new..yes, you know, whatever yes we are geeks and freaks;)..exploring our little portion of the universe;)..Stay tuned…


Male Anna’s hummingbird



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