Appraising Parks

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  As long as parks are appreciated and beauty on some level is found within them, I assume they can withstand economic hard times.  I’m not sure I could say the same when natural resources and land become extremely scarce.

Sometimes my appreciation for a park isn’t immediate. Crater Lake, after the cold numbed me and the snow fell, grew on me. I appreciated the Badlands immediately. Redwood is slowly but surely growing on me, too. But it’s the smaller urban parks that take me the most time.

Hiller Park in McKinleyville is near my home. I walk through it nearly daily. It features a dog park full of dug-out gopher holes, baseball fields, and a sometimes rancid smelling set of water treatment ponds. Sounds like paradise, right?!

This park is neither exotic, overly scenic, nor free of invasive species, but I have to say, it’s growing on me.  I’d attribute this growing love to toting my camera and dog around so much in it. It seems to me that the more you spend time in a place, the more you like it. In fact, that probably could be said about many things; the more time, the better the appreciation.

Here is my photographic appreciation for Hiller Park:

A West Coast Lady [thanks Katie!] enjoying the January sunshine.

An American Robin gobbling a worm near a treatment pond.

A Chestnut-backed Chickadee hunting for pine seeds.

A female Northern Shoveler getting ready for a dip in a treatment pond.

Goats and geese are fenced in and trim the grass around the treatment ponds.

Enjoying the view.

There are various forms of the Canada goose tribes inside the fence. Most have broken wings, like this fellow, who might be a Aleutian goose. [Supposedly, the white band has to be 10mm wide. I never have a ruler on me!]

The ravens are skiddish.

Sunbeams and Sitkas.

‘Old Man’s Beard’ looks lacy in the canopy.

Mass Commute of Mallards

An Anna’s Hummingbird in December. I saw my first hummer at my feeder today [1.9.2012].

A cold shoulder from a Red-shouldered Hawk.

Some ninja needs to come knock the camera out of my hands when I go for sunbeams again–they’re going to eat up half my hard drive!

Mad River View. I believe that is Pampas grass to the left. An invasive pain in the neck.

Same view at night. I think that’s Venus.

A sunset on the riverbank

That large log has long washed out to sea by now.

A drying sandbar under a fiery sky

A Cormorant enjoying a dip in the river.

Back up on the trails.

Banana slugs cross over the trails often. They don’t withstand feet well. That hole you see is where the slug exchanges gases [breathes] and its feces also exit through that same hole. Rough life.

To sum up this overwhelming bombardment of pixels; the land surrounding the treatment ponds could have remained unaltered forest, or they could have been developed, but instead they serve as one of the rare accessible green spaces. While maybe the wildlife would have preferred untouched land, this little urban park offers something for everyone; little leaguers to dog park goers. And while many may not consciously appreciate the park on the same level as others, I’m sure they have at least one fond memory within its boundaries.  Perhaps enough fond memories are what it takes to keep parks large and small off closure lists!

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2 thoughts on “Appraising Parks

  1. OK, it’s been bugging me for a bit… As much as I don’t like correcting people on their blog posts, I think your butterfly is a west coast lady (Vanessa annabella), not V. cardui. Plus, after my last comments, I looked through my records. I’ve been following your blog across, at least, 3 very different states and 2 name changes. It’s understandable to assume certain species are the same from what you’re familiar, as I did when I moved from OH back to CA. Having been raised in CA, I hope you know this is a very unusual winter here. I’m still waiting for the rainy season to start! Are you into birds? Several amateur birding folks love their local water treatment ponds for the migratory foul (pun?) they find.

    • Don’t worry about it, I really don’t mind corrections! I was working off of http://bugguide.net/node/view/71459/ and didn’t even consider V. annabella. In all truthfulness, I’ve just recently started to try to ID butterflies and don’t have much of a background on them or what to look for. I accidentally planted a host plant in my garden in South Carolina, and that’s when I started my hasty attempts at IDing.

      Our rainy season finally started here, but it seems like the pattern is going to change back to somewhat drier than normal. Hopefully it doesn’t put us all into major drought! I’ll confess that I hear about the weather more than I ever wanted. My husband works as a meteorologist and he’s not one to leave work at work.

      I have been looking around the ponds for any lifer birds, but so far I’ve really only seen mallards and shovelers.

      Thanks for the ID help! Really appreciate it!

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