Yellow star thistle and Mission peak

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I got a hummingbird feeder to experiment with my new camera. A few shots here. I think the one above is a male, all ruffled out to show off his plumage. The one below would presumably be the female, not very much impressed.

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Interesting how a slight shift in the direction of the light makes a radical difference in the colour of the feathers. Iridescence!

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Saturday, 22 June 2013

I volunteered to put in a few hours work for the Mid-Peninsula Open Space District today. Pulling up thistle at Russian Ridge, especially yellow-star thistle, which is highly invasive.

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Yellow star thistle

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You can see where it gets its name. These photos were from Sunol on Sunday:

Sunday, 23 June

Went to Mission peak, hiked over the ridge to Sunol, up Flag Hill, and back. Almost 19 miles, almost 5000 feet of climb. The new boots were not ideal, but they were okay.

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The day was chilly, foggy, condensing enough that I stowed my camera in my backpack for a while. It was windy crossing the top of the ridge, and then I went down the east side, where it was a little quieter.

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This memorial to someone’s good friend Rocky has been posted on a tree in the back country for a while now. Nice, and I’m glad no one has torn it down.

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There are a couple of trees on the approach to Sunol, flat-topped, something like a gallows, in fact, where the TuVus like to hold court.

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This is a great photo, even if I have to say so myself!

I went on up Flag Hill, another 4 miles or so, and 1000 feet of climb, which changes this from an industrial strength hike to a killer hike.

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They talk about earth tones being pretty, and they’re right.

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I saw a couple of tarantula wasps. At least I think that’s what they are.

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They look for tarantula burrows, but will sometimes settle for a large wolf spider. The female stings the tarantula, which paralyzes it. She lays her eggs on the spider, and when they hatch, dinner is served.

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Adult tarantula wasps are vegetarians.

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The poison oak flowers are especially prolific this year, more than I recall from ever before.

Still cloudy, but at least Mission Peak was no longer fogged in. Lots of people out enjoying the coolth of the day.

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A hawk landed nearby and posed for pictures.

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It was windy at the ridgecrest, and several hang gliders were showing their stuff.

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Just below him, the Morton salt piles.

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And here, we see him to the left of the Tesla factory on the near shore, with the Hetch Hetchy aqueduct crossing in the background, the the Hoover tower of Stanford University just visible in the upper left corner.

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And there were several adult wild turkeys with their chicks. The chicks were the size of a chicken or a duck. Big birds.

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