Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Morro Bay Flora and Fauna

Misreading a pamphlet at the condo led me to believe these birds were called Marbled Godwits. This of course meant any time I saw one, I said, "it's a godwit, God Wot!" Initially the birds were shy about having their photos taken. Reexamining the pamphlet revealed that many of what I thought were godwits were actually curlews. I believe it's curved beak, curlew, straight beak, godwit. Once I got the name correct, they let me approach more closely with my camera. Obviously they thought I'd been talking to some other bird.
Some of these are repeats for those of you on Facebook, but this photo makes me so happy I wanted to post it again. Meet my beloved Julia. On the flight out I'd gotten to see her brief scene as the bridge instructor in the move Julie and Julia, yet another kiss from the universe as I headed off on my adventure. Even though auditions and rehearsals prevented her from staying overnight, Dear Julia willingly made the seven hour round-trip to come up from LA for a visit. Our friendship spans twenty years, three plays, at least two theatre companies, and two cities, not to mention a handful of fun trips to Maine, Eastern Washington and now Central California.
When Homer told me we'd be renting a Mustang convertible during our stay, I figured we simply HAD to work up some Beach Boy numbers to sing in the car. Once I was actually in the car I realized how badly I needed a hat. Melissa's hair was long enough to tie up, but my barely adequate option was to tie the layers most likely to get in my eyes on top of my head. I looked like a Star-bellied Sneetch. This was not the only time I was to think of Dr. Seuss during the trip. I also discovered that singing of any kind in the car would be difficult, because from the back seat I couldn't hear squat. It was still way cool.
See what I mean? Doesn't she look positively glamorous? Like she's supposed to be in a convertible? Not at all Seussian. I did have some killer shades, it's true, but that didn't really mitigate the Sneetchness.
Layover in San Fran for what we agreed was some 'cozy food.'
This image made me think of Greg. It was also one of many plants that made me realize Dr. Seuss had spent his career drawing stuff he saw outside his window. Truffula trees abounded.
This shot makes me think of Jeaux, for some reason. I think it's the quality of light I so often like in his photos.
Homer, Melissa and friend Jeremy are all watching Jeremy's son O play in the waves on our first morning.

O is a year and a half, I believe, and was charming company, as were his parents. Before I get into that, I have to tell you a story about Homer. When he and Melissa first started dating, she mentioned once that they were getting together later that night, but first, "Homer has his ukelele lesson, then he has to go to the Austria Society, to do color commentary on the Foosball* tournament they're having."

I knew right then I was going to like this guy.

So, Homer had brought one of his ukeleles, the travel one (yes he has more than one, wouldn't you?) and as it turns out O had gotten a baby ukelele for his birthday and was quite fond of it. So Homer cracked out the uke and played a few tunes, to O's obvious delight.

O's parents, by the way, have been teaching him sign language, so he has a means of communication while verbal skills are still developing. So when Homer ended one song, O signed "more." Mom Tyra interpreted, and Homer obliged. At the end of another song, O signed "please." Homer played another tune. When Homer began putting the uke away, O signed "thank you."

This sequence was, quite possibly, the cutest thing I have ever seen. Box of puppies cute. Box of puppies playing with some kittens cute. Cute cute cute.
This guy is not cute, but I was pleased my camera was able to capture him, and get such a clear close-up. There were lots of vultures all around the area. I see them, or their close relatives, all the time in Indiana, but the sight of them soaring still give me a thrill. Seeing this ugly mug was pretty thrilling too.
This shot will probably require enlarging to make any sense of it. On our last day, before we left for the airport, I took one more walk on the beach. It was exceptionally windy that day; in the video I shot (also of these birds) you can't even hear the waves, the wind was so loud. I think these birds are sandpipers, but will bow to better informed readers. Here you see them sheltering from the wind in piles of seaweed, but they were also able to do so in human footprints. I didn't notice them at first, hidden as they were in the shadows of the footprints, but when I got to close suddenly the shadows began drifting away from me. It still doesn't really look like anything on the video though, so you'll just have to settle for my recounting.

*Apparently Foosball is huge in northern Europe. They take it very seriously. Who knew?


Jeaux said...

Curlews are so picky. Ahem.

That’s it. Julie and Julia goes in my queue. And on my to see list. In fact this whole post sounds like a movie - a Hollywood actress, a uklele-playing cook, a signing toddler, and the Star-bellied Sneetch tearing around in a Mustang convertible... did Ben Stiller direct this epic?

From what I could make out after the embiggen, the sandpipers seem to be raiding the remains of a clambake. I’m positive if trufula trees grew in Cape Cod, Greg would grow one. I can see why the bench reminds you of me, the lighting, the wide angle effect, and you definitely captured my morning hair. I can see we’re going to enjoy your new picturer Sam. We am.

Java said...

Has the camera been named Sam? Good name, imho.

Shore birds have some characteristics not found in inland varieties. I like the little sandpipers hiding in the seaweed.

Greg said...

Sam I Am, you mean, Java?

Perhaps the truffula would take to growing in a sunny window. It's certainly quite frankly, are all the pics you seem to be capturing lately.

I'm just thrilled this trip was such a tonic for you! : )

And so nice to see a photo of more than just Homer's Eye after so long, lovely eye tho it may be.

Birdie said...

Did you ride the Pacific Coast Highway in your convertible? That is my dream road trip. Someday...

Hey, where's the Sneetch photo? Everyone else is in the post.

I've had a couple of friends teach their toddlers sign language. It really lowers frustration levels in children whose ability to understand exceeds their ability to communicate. And yes, it is way cute.

Marta said...

oh sigh. that's all.

love, m

tornwordo said...

Oh I have to see that movie now. Maybe tonight. I love vultures too.

Melissa Riker said...

Oh it warms me and brings me back to the span of beaches to read this post sweetest Patrick.....

We took some pictures of the vultures too - I suppose it can't help but be noticed that surrounded by all of that incredible beauty, it is still nature at work (the sea lions the beach were plenty reminder) and everyone has a job....for some the job is to: NOT BE CUTE.

Unlike O and his antics or the "meep meep" birds (genus: Meep species: Meep). Just plain cute.