Thursday, November 24, 2011
This salt flat with the Red Hill in the background is part of the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge. This barren landscape four years earlier was inundated with water and today is a stark contrast to the nearby lush refuge food plots and impoundments. We spent hours from the Red Hill vantage point watching thousands of overhead migrating Snow and Ross's Geese, Sandhill Cranes, and Cattle Egrets settle into the refuge.
On one of our early morning forays, we encountered this 'grounded' Western Grebe. The bird strongly objected to the rescue attempt. The bird no doubt mistook the heat waves on the blacktop highway for water and made a hard landing. With it's rear 'mounted' legs it could not stand or run much less take flight, nor could it dodge the fast approaching trucks. The episode ended well with it's safe release into a nearby wetlands.
We are thankful to our Creator on this Thanksgiving Day (and everyday) for His handiwork, His blessings and His unmerited favor. May God richly bless you, Ty & Ida
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
We walked along the Venice canals, and Venice Beach Boardwalk, went to an Art exhibit, and went to Universal Studios City Walk, plus driving tours of Beverly Hills, Studio City, and Hollywood, sampling LA cuisine at some of their favorite dining spots. Spent some time at the LaBrae Tar Pits (pictured with the Mammoths).
We enjoyed our daily walks along the beach watching large pods of Common Dolphins and California Sea Lions leaping through the waves after fish. Large concentrations of Western Grebes, flock of Whimbrels, plus Great Egrets spearing Fence Lizards.
We walked a half dozen times to the nearby Solstice Canyon Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area, rich with birds and wildlife. The old live oak trees here have survived several fires that have destroyed all man-made dwellings. This oasis with its year round running water is a magnet to birds as they migrate south.
We are heading east tomorrow, leaving the ocean shores for the desert. Happy trails to all.
Ty & Ida
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Pulled into Morro Dunes RV park next to this huge 578 foot monolith - pictured to the left, home to nesting Peregrine Falcons.
After a few days in Santa Barbara and Ventura, we boarded a catamaran for Santa Cruz Island, the largest of the 5 Channel Islands National Park chain. On the 26 mile voyage, were dozens of Common Dolphins racing our boat, thousands of Western Grebes, and a new 'life bird' a Xantus's Murrelet. Upon landing, we signed permits and were led by a Nature Conservancy naturalist into the closed property. Our small group of 5 got to experience the endemic flora and fauna. Our number one goal was to see the Island Scrub Jay - found nowhere else in the world. We found 6 of these dark blue colored, large birds. Pictured below is the rich waters around Santa Cruz Island teaming with sea life, fishes, seal lions and birds. Our best to all from sunny California. Ty & Ida