Posts Tagged ‘Frogs’

Geneva — small animals

September 10, 2012

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Arrived in Geneva fairly early, about 7:15. It takes no time to get through the overhead in Geneva, so I was at my hotel by 8, which of course had no room ready for me. Dumped off my luggage and went out to enjoy the day. Sunny, a cool day to start with, but promising to be quite warm later.

The hotel (Admiral) is at the edge of the red-light district, and as I left the hotel — and again over the subsequent days — any number of nice young women invited me to be their friend. Well, maybe not necessarily that nice, and maybe not necessarily that young, but as far as I know, they were all women…

If I’m interested in finding and photographing small animals, the greenery along the shore is probably the best place to go, with the botanical gardens as perhaps the most likely to be fruitful. Lo and behold, the first small animal I found was a harvestman! In Geneva, of course, it needs a French name: un faucheur (thanks, Sylvain!).

Cool! Over the course of the next few hours, I actually found four more harvestmen. Nice to see them flourishing here.

Who would photograph a fly? Well… I would, I guess. If we hadn’t seen so many of them, we would think of them as complex and interesting animals in their own right.

The botanical gardens include a strip along a little stream, with tiny falls and rills and ponds. In the ponds, we find frogs…

And frogs that have not yet developed fully…

And water boatmen.

Not a whole lot of dragonflies, but I found one that was willing to pose briefly for pictures.

It was getting on into the afternoon, so I went back to the hotel, got my room, took a short nap. My friend Shan arrived mid-afternoon; it’s her first time in Geneva. She’s staying at a hotel called f6, which seems pretty nice.

We walked (again) through the park and botanical gardens, then checked out the old town. The high point was getting into the cathedral just a few minutes before the conclusion of an organ concert. Great sound!

We shared entees at a Lebanese restaurant and called Saturday complete.

Achilles surgery + 4 weeks

August 5, 2012

My ambition this weekend is to hike from the flatlands to Skyline, probably the short loop at Windy Hill: up Spring Ridge trail, down Hamm’s Gulch trail. I’ll do the hike Saturday; if it goes really well, I will also try a modest bike ride on Sunday.

The hike: only 7.2 miles, but 1500 vertical feet. From the parking lot at the bottom to the parking lot at the top is usually just a bit more than an hour, a bit less if I push it (but without running). This time it was about 1:15. Taking it easy, not risking injury.

Cold and windy up there; fog blowing hard across the ridgetop. If I had had a jacket, I would have worn it. No jacket, no problem. The downhill goes through the forest, and the trail was wetter than I would have expected for August. I guess the fog and the consequent condensation has been a fact of life up here this summer.

Stopped at Sausal pond, just before the parking lot on the way down. Nine people out of eight would probably have said there was nothing interesting here, certainly no animals around. Dave, of course, pokes around to see what might be lurking just out of sight.

Even the vegetable matter is not completely devoid of interest.

As to small animals, we first discover the empty husk of a dragonfly nymph.

But the real story here today is the proliferation of small frogs. They’re about 2 cm long, and shy. Dozens of them within three or four meters of my vantage point in the reeds at the shore.

And if reptiles aren’t enough, there are even a few unusual insects around.

When I got home, I filled a bucket with water, dumped in lots of ice and plunged both feet in. Yow! Fifteen minutes of that, and I’m happy. My first impression is that it went very well today. Will I change my tune when I wake up tomorrow morning?

Sunday morning: a little pain, but not bad. Let’s see whether I can do a bike ride.

The Portola Valley loop is less than 20 miles, less than 1000 feet of climb, and I can extend it if I feel good. If I take the physical therapist’s advice, I need to change many years of habit, and the way to do that is to put in the time, reminding myself constantly to adjust my pedaling stroke and riding position.

Felt good; I extended the ride to 35 miles, 1300 vertical feet, down Foothill expressway and back through the Baylands. Another fifteen minutes of ice water when I got home, just as a precaution, but I am very optimistic about progress. I don’t think I”m yet up for 20 mile hikes with 5000 feet of gain, but maybe it won’t be all that long.