Mi querida Baja-Feliz Navidad, or is that Feliz Saturnalia;)
The sigh of relief when we cross the border, the smiles at the toll booths and customs, the views of the amazing coastline from the toll road, all the signs of getting back to Ensenada. I can’t quite explain the feeling, maybe it is leaving the city behind and the endless traffic, maybe it feels more like the countries I was raised in, or the slipping back into Spanish, like comfy slippers:) Is it a pristine environment, no, it is a wonderful mix of poor and middle class, the wealthy and folks that live in shacks. It is the smell of meat being roasted over wood fires for tacos and the easy smile from kids you pass in the street, it can be the smell of the fishery in the North of town and sometimes fosa, septic but it is what it is:) There is nothing homogenous about this wonderful place called Baja. We get so hungry just driving through town, the wafts of food lingering in the air! Like dogs with their heads out the window we take in the smell and our mouths start to water;)
We’d called ahead at Estero Beach, the RV park is long gone, a spanking new concrete roads leads to lots, that are not sold and it is not finished. We miss our spot that backs up onto the estuary but are glad to be squeezed into the last small row of houses built back in the 50’s and 60’s. Of the 15 or so houses, only a few get any visitors, a few times a month, otherwise we feel we are on an abandoned street, not a bad thing:) We can see the beach and walk there in moments:) Mike has his telescope set up and waiting for that laminar air flow that produces spectacular seeing! The small trips to the corner store for fresh fruit and vegetables are so easy and so reasonable, and of course Poblano’s Tacos next door, or El Rey del Tacos up the street, or Lupita’s fish tacos in Maneadero, or the Mariscos cart just before the Estero road…sigh…so much good food, so little time;)
It feels like home:) We can walk to the beach, the cats can frolic there, at the very end they race up and down in the sand doing spectacular aerial moves, ninja kittens:) Many smiles watching them tear around and play, climbing up the palm trees and looking for crabs under the rocks and just enjoying life, they have us well-trained, whoever said dogs were smarter?;)
All the familiar birds are back. The Herons and Ospreys, known as Fish Hawks in Spanish, Aguila Pescador. I’ve come to think of these birds as travelers, just like us. They go to Canada for the Summer and head South in the Winter:) The osprey differs in several respects from other diurnal birds of prey. Its toes are of equal length, its tarsi are reticulated, and its talons are rounded, rather than grooved. The osprey and owls are the only raptors whose outer toe is reversible, allowing them to grasp their prey with two toes in front and two behind. This is particularly helpful when they grab slippery fish.
The osprey has several adaptations that suit its fishing lifestyle :
- reversible outer toes
- sharp spicules on the underside of the toes
- closable nostrils to keep out water during dives
- backwards-facing scales on the talons which act as barbs to help hold its catch.
- dense plumage which is oily and prevents its feathers from getting waterlogged
The osprey is unusual in that it is a single living species that occurs nearly worldwide. according to Wikipedia, I learn something new every day:) Love the fact it can close it’s nostrils:)
A new bird of prey I have not seen before, a Merlin (Falco columbarius) has shown up, not the wizard but this beautiful raptor;) this is their Winter range, they migrate, the last pair I saw was on an Otty Lake boat ride:) This female is slightly larger than her male companion, who I have not seen. She has the same perch every afternoon, looking for birdie numnums, yes, they are also called pigeon hawks, for obvious reasons.
and the hummingbirds:) I do miss these Anna’s as we head North and East and the Ruby Throated takes over. The feeder has been up for a week and we have quite the population already of various males and females coming to visit, but this little guy thinks he owns it:) I won’t try to tell him otherwise;) After battling a cold and flu for the better part of the week I’m starting to feel a bit more normal. With Christmas almost here we’ve decided to stay, the neighbour has offered his oven for a price…a meal…hahahaha, great neighbour (Thank you John!!!) and it looks like our Condor amigos will be here as well so it is going to be a wonderful celebration, the sharing of food and smiles, laughter and wine and good company. I do miss my family, but this is my Baja family:)
So tonight, on this eve of Christmas, we want to pause and wish you and yours a wonderful holiday, in what ever religion you care to celebrate, or none if that be the case. May it be full of good food and friends, even family;) and peace, in our often less than peaceful world. Saludos amigos y Feliz Navidad:)