Chilly Birds With My Lovely

We hadn’t been to Sacramento’s Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, for birding, the past couple of years.  It’s a dream come true in the right conditions, and yesterday was one of those days.  At 4 pm the temperature was around 44 degrees, damp, with just enough of a breeze to send the wind through my jeans. Glad we brought the Rav4, since the road was rutted with plenty of potholes and slippery with mud.

There were Snow Geese, Black Neck Stilt, Northern Shoveler, Pintale, Cinnamon Teal, Common Egret, Great Blue Heron, a murmuration of Starling, Coot, Canada Geese, Red Shouldered Hawk (though we had misidentified it before running into some locals with expensive glass who let us peep through their spotting scopes.) There was a Plover I could not identify and at least one Swallow that disappeared before we got a decent look.

We saw a flock of Snow Geese take off maybe 1/2 mile away and right beneath them a storm of rusty shaded ducks took off and filled the sky. Our spotting scope friends said they saw an Eagle swoop in and that’s what spooked the mass.  There’s something about that many birds in one place that fills me with joy.

On our way out we stopped for this sweet little reflection pond.  Back toward the Snow Geese, the sky was strewn with ribbons of migrating birds, going in so many directions.  At one point there was a murmuration of geese, that broke into dozens of Vee formations, some of which flew right over us.

If you’re ever in the area, give yourself time to wander around, and bring mud boots. And remind me to bring more than one set of binoculars, and my Lumix camera with the 600mm lens.

Twas the Fourth Day of Christmas

spiral-ornament-1Twas the Fourth Day of Christmas my true love gave to me, snuggles and sleeping in late.  It is frosty outside, though the bird bath didn’t freeze.

The Christmas ornament reflects back to our front yard where a California Poppy has started early. The poppy is my harbinger of spring, and it’s way too early.

Here on the coast it rarely freezes, but the photo below shows a time when it did.  My son grabbed a handfull of frozen bird-bath water for one of my all-time favorite shots.  It does get cold here.

taylor-birdbath-1

 

 

Kauai Roosters

There are roosters in Kauai.  If you’ve been here since Hurricane Iniki hit in 1992, then you may know that it blasted the island with 170 mile per hour winds and did some $1.8 Billion in damage.  I heard a stat yesterday from a Taro Farming Tour that the wind meter, mounted on the mountains above Hanalei Valley, broke off when the wind registered 200 mph.

Most locals agree that wild chickens proliferated after Iniki destroyed chicken coops, releasing domesticated hens, as well as roosters being bred for cockfighting.

The Roosters are bright and colorful.  Startling in their beauty with iridescent feathers.  They strut around town with the contenance of a king.  They seem to sleep from 9 p.m. until 3 a.m.  Other than those hours they are active with their loud cock-a-doodle-do.  Some of them sound like rooster imitations; like me imitating a rooster.

While the NeNe is the state bird, the Rooser is clearly the most widely recognized.  During a visit to Lydgate Beach Park we saw a new family of chickens.  The chicks were fresh from the egg, tiny, and following mom in a nice neat line.

The birds have total range of the island.  Restaurants, shops, parking lots.  Check out the short video of Roosters on the prowl.

30th Anniversary SUP

Donna and I celebrated on the eve of our 30th.  We paddled around Hanalei Bay on the north shore of Kauai.  We rented 10-6 Laird Hamilton SUPS.  They are big and heavy, but I caught my share of waves at the reef and Donna paddled to the end of the Hanalei River.  I took a little break, ate a cookie, then paddled up the river to find her.  That’s what I do.  Find Donna.

There were fish, turtles, herons, egrets, flowers, rain, and DONNA.  I found her just below the bridge.  We paddled back in the rain to another stunning sunset.  Even caught a few outrigger canoe teams working their stuff.  Check out the scene with this 1 minute video.

30th Anniversary SUP from Tom Adams on Vimeo.

Point Reyes Store Fronts

This is my entry for Cee’s Black and White photography challenge.  We spent July 4th driving out to Point Reyes Station where we made dinner reservations at the Station House, got a pastry or two from Bovine Bakery, then headed out to Drakes Estero where we saw fox, coyote, deer, cattle, and loads and loads of birds.  Interestingly enough, the estero was fairly void of its usual assortment of ducks and shore birds.  Just a few cormorants and the odd turkey vulture keeping an eye on things.

The town of Point Reyes Station is only a block or so long, but it hosts some mighty fine shops.  Here are my favorites for this week’s event.

snapseed-16

Among other books in the book shop window was Susan Casey’s The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean, and William Finnegan’s Barbarian Days, A Surfing Life.

I enjoyed both books, especially Finnegan’s.  He narrated it on Audible.com.  Great story telling on a subject near and dear to me..

snapseed-15

Point Reyes certainly has surf, but it’s generally way past my ability.  And the mouth of Tomales Bay, at the north end of the jut of land that is Point Reyes National Seashore, is rumored to be a breeding ground for the great white shark.

snapseed-14

No trip to Point Reyes Station is complete without a stop for coffee and pastry at Bovine Bakery.  Pretty much every weekend morning you’ll find a line out the door, and they have a assortment of gluten-free products for my sweetie.

black-white-banner

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Store Front Signs