|California Poppies at their finest|
We are once again in California visiting our son Chris and his family awaiting the first flight of the new Stratolaunch airplane in which Chris will be the test pilot. In the meantime, we are delighting in the fact that we hit the peak of the desert flower bloom. On our flight into Burbank a few days ago, we could see the thousands of acres of oranges and yellows covering the ground. It looked like a patchwork quilt welcoming us to California. We drove down from Tehachapi to the fields surrounding Lancaster where we knew the flowers were showing well. Here are some photos of the area.
After touring the Antelope Valley and seeing the poppies we headed back to Tehachapi and I dropped off Sharon and my daughter-in-law Christine. I then went to one of my favorite birding spots around Tehachapi, the Tehachapi Sewer Ponds. Being one of the few water sources in the area it attracts a good number of waterfowl and other species.
|Ruddy Duck at the sewer ponds|
Leaving there I headed over to the local airport where a few years ago I took a ride in a glider on my birthday. Today, however, I was treated instead to a nice view of a Lark Sparrow.
The following day, still waiting for the first flight, which was postponed once again, Sharon and I headed to the Piute Ponds at Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave desert. This has to be the top rated birding site within an hour's drive from Tehachapi. You can stay in your car and drive the many dirt roads which surround the ponds and marshy areas. We were there on a good day and managed a boat load of species.
|Black-necked Stilt and American Coot in background|
|Waiting to be transported to runway|
|Max, Sharon and I. Plane is way in the background|
|This hanger had to be specially built to fit plane inside|
|Our escorts giving us the low down|
|Close up of the three engines on the right wing|
|Successful takeoff heading to the Tehachapi Mountains|
|More distant view|
|View of entire plane|
|Plane circling around for landing|
|Chase Plane above aircraft|
|It's a tradition to squirt down the crew with fire extinguishers after a successful first flight|
|Chris wearing his wet flight suit|
|Scaled Composites mechaics and engineers|
|Chris and Max|
|Three generations at hanger|
|Congratulations from Christine and Max|
|Flight engineer getting the treatment|
|One big happy family|
Fianlly, getting back to more bird photos.
|Black-throated Gray Warbler|
|California Gull with red gonys spot on bill|
|Band-tailed Pigeon. A bird of high attitudes|
That's it for now. See you later in Vegas, Utah, Arizona and Colorado