Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Patagonia Experience

I purposely called this post A Patagonia Experience rather than The Patagonia Experience as the advertising people might have called it. First of all, I'm not talking about a region in Argentina, but rather my wife's favorite clothing and outdoor gear store in Reno. My experience was quite different than hers. I didn't go inside. Instead, I decided to explore the natural-looking landscaping by the parking lot and photograph "wild" flowers. After photographing two I didn't recognize plus a group of California Poppies, I heard Killdeer screeching nearby. I recognized the panic in their voices, so I thought I might have come too close to a nest. I approached the sound carefully and spotted an adult and several fledglings. Then the excitement began. I slowly followed one of the adults as she trotted away from the site while performing her feigned broken wing dance. She hopped along the ground and up onto a series of big boulders until she led me far enough away from her babies that she felt justified in flying away. I could see her circling around the parking lot and returning to her babies, but I didn't follow her this time. The photos are posted here in the order I took them. First, the three flowers, then my first sighting of an adult Killdeer, then the dance. Click on each photo for a close-up. A beautiful bird with a great adaptation.


  1. The blue flower in this series is blue flax. The flowers last for only one day, but there are so many buds that the plant is usually covered in blue.

    The next time you are in Reno go up to Horsemen's Park on Skyline Blvd. where you will find killdeer nesting right in the grass where people play soccer on Sundays. Can't imagine why they would hatch their young right in the middle of all that foot traffic and then go through the trouble of the "broken-wing" display they way they do. They must be exhausted from sheer anxiety by the end of a soccer game. :-)

  2. P.S. The white flower could be a type of meadow foam but I can't tell unless I see the leaves.

    I'm not a botanist, but have been a nature journalist for many many years with fairly unorganized sketchbooks until recently when I have finally kept track of dates and weather conditions and have actually tried to identify the plants I paint with other than their common names. Common names vary a lot from region to region and are not very dependable, as you know.