I recently returned from a short road trip to San Diego to celebrate a 100th birthday in the family. Although the purpose of the trip wasn't for sight seeing, I managed to snap a few photos here and there.
Traveling west on I-8, on the border of Imperial and San Diego counties, the landscape abruptly changes from flat desert sand into a steep mountain terrain with heaps of boulders.
By the time we reached the In-Ko-Pah Gorge it was high noon and the temperature well over 100 degrees. The only critter I saw was the Mearns' Rock Lizard and the only bird I heard was the desert wren.
The rocky landscape was dotted with ocotillo, barrel cactus, cholla, yucca, agave and a wide variety chaparral shrubs. Considering the challenging environment, an amazing variety of plants.
Strawberry Cactus Mammilaria dioica
If you will, jump over the orange surf to see the birds feeding along San Diego's coastline.
The birthday celebration took place at Silver Strand State Park. There were plenty of seagulls to volunteer for the clean-up crew. I noted the Heermann's gull, Ring-billed gull and this stately Western gull. Frankly, I didn't realize how many different gull species lived along the pacific coast before. For a novice birder, the plumage changes in the stages before maturity made idenification even more complicated.
The crustacean hunters were a bit more wary of my intentions. I had to be patient for them to wander close enough to get a clear picture.
The following day, the family chose the Ocean Beach Pier to meet-up. First thing I noticed was there was a lot of activity going on about midway down the pier. On either side of the pier, Brown pelicans were performing their death defying dives into the ocean. The gulls, in rapid pursuit, crowded in gangs to lighten the pelican's load.
Common Terns jet through the crowded sky looking for the floating fish that strayed away from the confusion.
The Double-crested Cormorants kept a low profile. They calmly drifted along the water with a sharp eye for the silvery flashes. In a fraction of a second, they dived through the surface.
Back on the pier, a different set of characters were vying for food. These Gulls had a bit of a scuffle on the railing. Probably because just behind me, a fisherman was pulling out a net full of herring and spilled them out on the deck..
Moments later, a lovely Snowy Egret appeared on the hand rail. At first it was rather timid but the flapping herring on the floor of the pier was a strong lure. Food can inspire bold behavior.
Speaking about bold, is there a pier without a Rock pigeon population?
Well then, how about adding a Macaw into the mix.
The daily bucket is open for you to share what is happening in your neighborhood or on your adventures away from home.
The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group. It is a place to note of any observations you have made of the world around you. Insects, weather, meteorites, climate, birds and/or flowers. All are worthy additions to the bucket. Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment. Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located. Each note is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the patterns that are quietly unwinding around us.
"Green Diary Rescue" is Back!
After a hiatus of over 1 1/2 years, Meteor Blades has revived his excellent series. As MB explained, this weekly diary is a "round-up with excerpts and links... of the hard work so many Kossacks put into bringing matters of environmental concern to the community... I'll be starting out with some commentary of my own on an issue related to the environment, a word I take in its broadest meaning."
"Green Diary Rescue" will be posted every Saturday at 1:00 pm Pacific Time on the Daily Kos front page. Be sure to recommend and comment in the diary.