Back to the Ocean…Part 2

I was craving a Barbarella’s breakfast, a cafe in La Jollas Shores, my uncle’s favourite with a wonderful outdoor patio. We had to wait as they only opened early, before 4 now, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It took forever for a Friday to come along! Mike was craving their huevos rancheros with a layer of beans on the crispy corn tortilla, me, their eggs benedict are supreme and those roast potatoes, best I have eaten. It also meant a long walk before on the beach at La Jolla Shores, the ocean, the waves, the pier, yes I love this pier. I had to wait awhile for a trio of giggling young women who were trying out their best sultry looks with it in the background…selfie madness. Our first part of the week was wet and stormy so we simply stayed in Santee and rested. It felt delicious not to move. Had forgotten how loud it could be here, but hey, no gunshots, just the planes, helicopters and cars, including one ancient individual who looked like he might be part dwarf from Tolkien, part Hell’s Angel, who rides around on a electric chopper, yes, only in California, with a chihuahua riding between his legs, blasting rap…I am still trying to get the shot! Ha!

We’ve been to Santee Lakes Campground so many times I could find my way around blindfolded I think. It is a wonderful spot for bird watching, so many ducks, so many people on the weekends, but during the week it returns to it’s sleepy lovely self, except for the electric chopper and crazed running fathers pushing baby strollers, OK, one was shirtless, he was very much worth watching! Ha! Down girl! It freaks the cats out..”What ARE they running from?” The incredulous look on Groot’s face as he studies the horizon after they run by expecting some kind of monster that was making them run is priceless! His tail gets big, he prepares for the worst, it doesn’t help that none of them look like they are having a good time! Or even acknowledge you…such a weird Southern California thing. I can walk by and pretend you don’t exist, and you don’t. It feels like you are invisible. Is it fear, you can’t meet someone’s eye? or Can’t be bothered is my bet. either way it’s odd. Perhaps they are automatons going about their robot work;) Groot still gets his fair share of “He is beeeeaaauuuutiful!” remarks, he digs it, I know he does!

Anyway enough frigging humans, ducks, I do hope you like photos of ducks, and birds, and more ducks! Ha!

I was moseying along on the path around the lake at my normal look at everything pace when a couple stopped me, she had binoculars, he had a camera and asked me if I’d seen the woodpecker? I must have looked perplexed as he added, a Lewis Woodpecker? He’d seen it on ebird. I said I had not but would keep my eyes out for it while muttering I wouldn’t know what one looked like anyway! πŸ˜…πŸ˜‚ I walked around all the lakes and could see him and his wife on my way back with several other photographers and he waved me over and here it was…a Lewis Woodpecker, a lifer they kept saying pointing to the tree it was in. And yes, my first time seeing one of these beautiful birds and somewhat out of it’s normal range and territory they informed me. These birders! They waylaid me for well over an hour chatting cheerfully, Mike was worrying I’d been kidnapped, he saw a police car come into the campground…city fears, nope, just birders I told him, it was a form of kidnapping I guess! I do feel fairly safe here, am I naive? Nah, after dealing with foreign ports and harbours as a kid I have pretty good spidey senses!

The concentration of water fowl here is remarkable, there must be thousands, literally, of Coots. The Double Crested Cormorants fly over regularly, hunting and fishing in packs at times. They have a favorite sycamore tree they perch in. There is a group of White Pelicans as well as Egrets and Herons. And those reflections with the yellowing sycamore leaves turning the water to gold is priceless, or just a sky reflection. The fact that most of these birds are used to humans makes photographing them a piece of cake. I would have to stalk our wood ducks at Long Lake wearing camo to get close! Ha!

The birdlife isn’t just the waterfowl either. The surrounding trees and shrubs are full of berries and fruit, and bugs! Cedar Waxwings move in flocks from tree to tree, the Cassin’s Kingbird (we called them the “pew” birds, for the sound they made at 5 a.m. in Baja, right..outside..our…window…yup…loud!) sit on the wires waiting for a tasty snack to fly by. California Scrub Jays chat away and I saw a new bird, a Lark Sparrow sitting near a beautiful female Phainopepla, say that three times quickly!

What astounds me are the people out walking, power walking, or pushing their children around in strollers, or groups yacking away that miss all this, they have no idea of what is around them. They are either so involved in talking, my God they can talk, and loudly to each other, or on their phones, yes, walking and looking at their stupid phones, all this beauty nature has to offer doesn’t even register in their sad little minds. Automatons….my word for the day it seems! Even screaming birds have no interest for them! Ha! A pair of Red Shouldered Hawks, perhaps it was an adult and young, sat in a sycamore tree yelling, it took me a few moments to find them but there they were, beautiful birds of prey. Then there are the incredible flocks of Ravens, they chastise the cats and pretty much yell at everybody! Such intelligent birds, at least they notice the humans, not vice a versa, we are doomed you know;)

Maybe I’m just anti-social, Ok, a bit, OK, alot Ha! If they don’t notice the blatant obvious, how can they ever expect to see the sublime beauty in the smallest things? The bushes here, Toyon (yes Karen, I promise to try eating one! Ha!), Jasmine and Natal Plums are covered in fruit. Huge rosemary bushes that flank the fences are full of honey bees, and they have their phones, maybe they are looking at nature photos on them, probably not, most likely Amazon…

The Sycamores are absolutely stunning, the camp hosts and workers here may not agree, that is a lot of leaves but it seems they have an arsenal of leaf blowers from small electric ones, to body backpack ones and a gigantic one a foot and half wide they can aim and tow with their golf carts to clear the leaves off the road, and sites…sigh…if I could go back in time and take care of the guy who invented these…if only…death to leaf blowers…just sayin’. Rocket is terrified of them, smart cat!

Then there is the host of quick LBB’s and LYB’s…little brown birds and little yellow birds! They forage among the fallen sycamore leaves, driving the cats crazy as they flutter from bush to bush, just out of reach! Butter bums! Ha! Yellow rumped Warbler, actually a subspecies Audubon’s Warbler, sparrows and others I haven’t managed to photograph. Parents, teach your children to see the small things. I’m thankful our mother infused us with curiosity:)

I saw an Osprey flying around and watched until he landed in a tree by the lake. The resident Ravens were not pleased, three or four of them swarmed him/her but he was determined to stay, preen a bit among the harassment. It was an amusing encounter. Three people walked by me, not a single one of them looked up, I was flabbergasted at the lack of any interest, maybe part of our cultures sickness. Mike was watching an interview with Guillermo del Toro, the Mexican filmmaker and he said humanity was going through it’s tantrum stage, I’m not getting what I want wailing brat stage I thought but it made me think. Why the lack of interest in our natural world, our world, it is OUR world, nature is everywhere and no one seems to see it here. I guess that is not fair, some do, but so many sadly don’t. Breaks my heart.

Enough ranting, sun has come up, today is a brand new day. I’m not quite done with San Diego so looks like there will be a part three! Stay aware of life around you, be kind (I’m working on that, sarcasm is sooo easy!) Ha! Stay Tuned!

Hey! Hi up there!

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