Weedpicker has escaped the cold of Ohio for a week-plus trip to sunny California to visit Shark-girl, my daughter who is an aquarist working at Aquarium of the Pacific. We toured around a bit in Santa Monica and enjoyed balmy 70 + degree weather. Of course I am smitten with the botany, but have little knowlegde of California plants. There may be more non-native plants growing in California than there are native plants. These warm zones can be a botanical challenge.
|Bird of Paradise|
|Santa Monica from Ocean Ave.|
|Fully equipped BSBO backpack.|
A fully prepared urban birder takes a backpack equipped with layers of clothing, water, sunscreen and bird field guides. One surfer even commented on my nifty BSBO back pack, expressing some awe that I was a "birder" and continued to ask me about warbler migration.
Heermann's Gulls breed to the south of California in Mexico and migrate north for winter. Their population is considered near threatened, and 90- 95 percent of them all breed on one island. Isla Raza has recently been protected in an attempt to stabilize their numbers.
|One Heerrmann's in a sea of Western Gulls|
Another "life gull" (since I have never been on the west coast before) was the stately Western Gull.
It is a large-bodied bird with a dark mantle, yellow bill and distinctive pink legs.
It is of no small concern to me that I have arrived at a stage of birdiness that I enjoy sorting gulls on the beach. Who knows what depravities I will succumb to next?
I am headed back to the beach today, maybe I will get better photos of the sea lion "surfing" just off shore. Maybe not. Either way, it is all an adventure to me.