Sunday, October 23, 2011

Monterey Bay

 Who says "Spiders can't fly"?  High in and above the Sequoias hundreds of spiders were observed 'ballooning' on air currents at over 7,000 foot altitude.  Flying sure beats walking even if you have eight legs.  Our High Sierra RV park had hundreds of these webs from ground to upper canopy of the Redwoods.

Yes, we are still birding and were blessed to get a 'life bird' in Santa Cruz.  Cued by a hotline tip, we found a Yellow-green Vireo less than 20 feet from our RV in an urban park.

 We visited two different Monarch Butterfly Habitat Preserves with eucalyptus trees: the Lighthouse Field in Santa Cruz and Natural Bridges State Park.  This sheltered canyon provides a winter home for thousands of monarch butterflies. A few of the early arrivals are depicted in the photo to the right.

Down the coast at Moss Landing and Elkhorn Slough we encountered thousands of shorebirds: Avocets, Black-necked Stilts, Willets, Long-billed Curlews, Marbled Godwits, both Dowitchers, and many others.  Plus we saw a Barn Owl in an abandoned barn in the preserve.
This picture to the left is a Sea Dragon, one of the new displays at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  This showcases one of God's truly unique creatures. Since our last visit 14 years ago we found many new exhibits including the children's interactive area.  It is amazing all the wonderful creatures that were there, so many that we had not seen before: the cuttlefish, sea horses, octopus, sharks, the huge ocean sunfish (looked like it was made by a child), and a variety of eels.

We recommend a visit to this wonderful area of California.   Until next time,  Ida & Ty

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Yosemite, King's Canyon & Sequoia National Parks

 Over 50 years ago, as a child looking through a View Master photo disc of Yosemite National Park, I longed to one day visit this unique place. Here we are looking at the famous 3,600 foot wall of granite of El Capitan rising straight out of the valley floor. The picture doesn't do it justice on how majestic these mountains are. Not only was the scenery spectacular but we added some specialty birds to our growing list:  White-headed Woodpecker, Mountain Quail & Pygmy Nuthatch.

We were staying in Oakhurst and had a great birding area right outside the RV, adding Nuttall's Woodpecker, Phainopepla, California Towhee, California Thrasher & Oak Titmouse.

Next destination - King's Canyon & Sequoia National Parks.
Once again, breath-taking scenery and massive trees.   Pictured here a 320 foot tall Giant Sequoia with a base of 98 feet in circumference.  It was amazing to see so many of these over 2,000 year old trees that were thankfully saved for generations to enjoy.

This curious coyote greeted us at one of the park pull-offs.  Mule Deer and yet another Black Bear (this was bear #55 for the trip) made up some of the park's rich fauna.

From Sunny California,  Ty & Ida

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

N. California Redwoods

 As the sun sets over the coast of Oregon, we reflect on a memorable month in this beautiful state.  The scenery, wildlife and especially the abundant bird life filled numerous pages in our travel log.  This picture is of Goat Island at Harris Beach State Park, our home for a few days, was taken from the 700 foot cliff above the tide pools and beach.

 On to California and our much anticipated "must see"- the majestic Redwoods, and they did not disappoint! Walking and camping among these ancient monarchs is nothing short of humbling.  Picture with us that these 2,000 year old trees were here and growing when Christ walked the earth.  It is impossible to effectively communicate our total emersion experience, but the picture on the left and the video on the bottom will have to do until you can see them for yourself.

Shafts of sunlight rarely filter to the forest floor from the towering 380 foot high canopies above. The giant tree pictured in the video measured 68 feet in circumference.  Epiphytes, such as ferns, moss, lichens and shrubs grow profusely from upper story branches and trunks.  This cool, dark and moist forest floor environment gives off the aroma of creation.

From "sunny" California where its been foggy or raining for the last two full days (critical to Redwood growth).   Farewell for now, Ty & Ida