Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Beach Report: The Week after Easter

During this week after which many just celebrated the rolling back of the stone from the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth, it seems that it should be easy to believe in miracles. But in this paradise, the beach is a morgue without hope of resurrection. Scores of dead birds lie in the sand, the impeccably white breasts of western grebes turned skyward, the dark shapes of cormorants that you hope are just piles of kelp. A pelican lies on his back, pedaling, pedaling and then falls still. Domoic acid poisoning is what neighborhood chitchat and a search of the web tells me. Demonic, spellcheck wants to write. That seems about right to me.

Domoic acid, or red algae, is a naturally occurring toxin, the articles tell you. A few months ago a friend who grew up here, surfing and fishing and boating told me that was an oversimplification. Man, no doubt, has his hand in this somewhere.

The sea lions will probably be next. 


Today, Anacapa in the distance.

Today, a bit later. The islands have disappeared.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Bird of the Day: Dark-eyed Junco

The houses are very close together here in beige-world and are separated by block walls. I hung a big mirror outside my dining room to mitigate that walled-in feeling. The bird, one I've never seen or heard before here, really likes swinging on a trailing tendril of the ivy geraniums. He likes to admire himself in the mirror too.

Take a close look at the photo. There's a shadow bird in the background--not a reflection of the junco, but a stained glass window ornament of a hummingbird, hung in my neighbors kitchen window. I'd never noticed it before since I try to avoid looking into my neighbor's windows.

I heard the junco before I saw him. What I heard is the third line of the SONG under the "songs and arm call" button.