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Rocking horse people eat marshmallow pies © Robert Sommers 2017

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Barbara Dane

Bolsa Chica


Ken asked me weeks ago if I was interested in seeing one of his favorite singers, Alice Wallace and her band, perform up in Orange County and do a little birding at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Huntington Beach.

At 1449 acres, Bolsa Chica is the largest salt water marsh between Monterey and Tijuana on the California coast.

I had never been there before so I said yes.

Since I'm not much of a drinker and pretty much hate crowds I grudgingly assented on the post birding activities, I could always sleep in the car if the music or scene was really bad.

But I watched one of her YouTube videos yesterday morning and she was pretty darn good so what the hell?

I'm a little worried, have had a scratchy throat for a few days and don't want to be real sick when I get on an airplane next week. I met him behind the Art Center at noon and after a fast chili cheeseburger at Chili Coast in Vista we started our quest.


After an uneventful ride into Orange County we arrived at the northernmost parking lot and visited the nice woman at the Interpretive Center. We devised a plan. I would hike to the south, stopping at the large palm grove where owls and other large birds were said to typically roost and Ken would drive to the south and set up a nikkor 200-400mm telephoto zoom he had rented and the heavy gimbal head and tripod.


Conditions were frankly less than optimal on this afternoon, a strong wind damping the appearance of some of the Reserve's inhabitants. And I have to be honest. I have birded allover our fair land and I have never seen so much trash and refuse littering a wetlands as I did yesterday in Bolsa Chica.


It reminded me very much of Bufadora in Baja. Sort of shocking to see the neglect and sheer volume of litter, especially on the northern banks. I could never imagine people in San Diego putting up with it at San Elijo or the people in Riverside thinking it acceptable at San Jacinto. But as we all know, Orange County people are a bit different.

For a supposed birder, I am real weak on shorebirds and gulls as well as many other types. This should be a good experience and opportunity to learn for me and it was.


I made my way to the tall stand of trees. An eponymous friend gracefully soared overhead. I saw several large nests in the palms.

I was pretty far removed, the trees protected by a large chain link enclosure, but did manage to espy these two juvenile blue herons high up in their nest in a phoenix canariensis.


I encountered many more birds in nests as I made my way around the perimeter. I was starting to really enjoy my afternoon.


Walking back along the trail I saw a mother coyote stop and give the look, very close to me, her large teats quite swollen. She darted under the fence and into the scrub, where her pups were obviously safely hidden away.



A beautiful brown pelican played in the light chop to my left.

A snowy egret gracefully alighted on a nearby bank.

It was about this point in my walk that I saw my first tern.







Bolsa Chica is one of the largest tern breeding grounds anywhere and these guys are just magnificent. Fast, agile and beautiful.

There are many different terns, Royal, Caspian, Elegant, Least among others. I would be lying if I told you that I could tell them apart.


So very fast, not easy to shoot. I filled two cards with shots, will take a while to filter and process them all.


The sheer numbers of terns were astounding, at times a real boil.


Saw lots of different shorebirds, some geese, gulls, lbbs. A white faced ibis or two. Too much to even share right now.


I am going to assume that this is a doublecrested cormorant but it may be something completely different.










An eared grebe that was really pretty.

You can see how badly I need a new lens.☺


Mike and Liz joined us near the end. They found the geese. We all met afterwards at Don the Beachcomber for dinner and drinks. Felt a little guilty after the afternoon but had the duck anyway...

Alice Wallace is great, a yodeling chanteuse with a big voice and a bigger heart, not to mention a great band. She had a super guy on sax and clarinet last night but the whole band was terrific and I look forward to seeing her again.


Memorable day.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Got a Lot on My Head

Expedient and unsatisfactory

My brother is really sick. Stage four colorectal and liver cancer, he may not be around forever. It's killing me, I can't tell you how inseparable we are.

I wouldn't even discuss the matter publicly but Buzz likes to see his name on the blog, sort of takes after our late mother. Anyway I am traveling to Toronto next week, checking in as it were. I am really looking forward to spending time with him. Wish he was feeling better.



I made my reservation through Expedia. After I booked the air flight, the Expedia rep on the phone said that she could suggest a good hotel for me. I booked it on her say so. Toronto Furnished Living on Pembroke.

Wrong.




I have never seen online reviews like the reviews posted for the Toronto Furnished Living Shithole.




My brother asked me what the hell I was doing, the area being overrun with trannies and drug addicts.

Of course the booking is nonrefundable and can not be cancelled. And I have learned something very valuable for the future. Do not trust Expedia.com. They do not adequately vet their properties and it appears that they could not care less.


Sarah Vaughn

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Little Wing

Look to the sky

© Jon Harwood
There's certainly been some interesting signage of late in Fallbrook. Jon Harwood took this shot of the guy who was at the Avocado festival.

Guess he was pretty aggressive, calling out everybody equally, nonbelievers, christians and failed to respond. He looked to Heaven and Earth and evidently only saw the wrong brand. Bargained for salvation and got hisself a lethal dose.

We had a similar protester at Palomar College during the Women's March, the lord directing him to get real nasty in everybody's face. Cops eventually excommunicated him.

And this billboard was recently installed above the 7- Eleven, Jesus, your only way to God. Only way, huh? Sounds pretty emphatic.

I recently finished the Travels of Marco Polo and Marco recounts trying to explain to Kubla Khan, and I certainly paraphrase, why there could only be one god and in fact it was the one that he himself had grown up with.

And the Emperor finds this highly amusing, presiding over a dominion that accepted all faiths including Mohammedans, Christians and Jews. But the Pope wanted Marco to baptize everyone in their path and sent some priests along for just such a task, which was majorly rebuffed. I will go back to the library and copy the passage for you one of these days because I found it quite illustrative.

Wondered to myself if polytheism wasn't merely a dodge to tell the rabidly devout to just mind their own business.

I still can't for the life of me figure out why certain religions including Islam and Christianity, think they got the only route available to whatever they consider salvation. Or could even give a rats ass about what anyone else thinks?

The Buddhists don't try to convert anybody, neither do the Jews, or the Unitarians for that matter. Why are some faiths still seeking spiritual scalps? I find it rude and overbearing personally, not that that matters.

What is the rationale for the need for some adherents to display these sorts of messages? I tell you what. If I am off base and end up in hell, you can throw rocks at me and say I told you so.

Judy Henske

Peregrine falcon, Torrey Pines


Rosalie Sorrels - Rock Salt and Nails

Beehive Blunder


The recent ABC/Washington Post poll regarding President Trump is both interesting and frankly a bit disheartening. Trump has the highest disapproval rating for any president since World War II but 96% of his supporters would vote for him again.

It illustrates that despite the incessant gnashing of teeth by the left regarding Trump's real and imagined deficiencies, it doesn't mean diddly to his supporters. They love him.

So perhaps democrats, liberals and progressives should save their breath and energy. Find a new way to try to resonate with the uneducated white folk that make up the bulk of his base.

We have to come to grips with the fact that we are now a deeply divided people, perhaps more divided than we have ever been since Vietnam or even the Civil War. Find a way to talk to each other again, and foster responsible governance.

And that certainly doesn't mean that we should simply accede to his agenda. There are many areas where he must be fought every step of the way. Like on issues concerning the environment and the Interior Department.


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Some of my most cherished moments of the last several years are the many trips I have taken to photograph the Utah back country. President Trump announced today that he is going to try to roll back Federal Monument status for both Bears Ears and the Grand Staircase of the Escalante. In fact he wants to review such designations for the last three administrations.

No President since FDR has ever tried anything like this and he was stopped. Some very good comments here at the Deseret News.

Let's look at the facts. This is not state land. This is federal land, owned by the people of the United States. You and me. This is not so much about local or state's rights as it is a case of locals plundering and selling their birthright to energy interests that want to exploit public resources and despoil the environment.

It is ironic that the 1906 Antiquities Act was authored by a Republican, Teddy Roosevelt. Old Teddy would be rolling over in his grave today if he saw the audacious blunder his successor was trying to make.

Slate has some good info about the land grab.
...no president has even tried to revoke a national monument since 1938, when President Franklin Roosevelt wanted to reverse Calvin Coolidge’s designation of the Castle Pinckney National Monument in South Carolina. The attorney general at the time, however, decided that the act “does not authorize [the president] to abolish [national monuments] after they have been established.” In the 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act, Congress again affirmed that only it had the power to revoke or modify national monuments, says Mark Squillace, a University of Colorado Law School professor and expert on the Antiquities Act.
Some presidents have managed to shrink monuments. Woodrow Wilson, for example, shrunk Washington state’s Mtout Olympus National Monument to open up more than 300,000 acres to logging, but he didn’t face lawsuits over the decision as Trump almost certainly will.
The Trump war on the environment is in full swing. From pesticides to dirty water and air. If you are content to sit on your hands and say nothing I really think you take some ownership of the policy. And a share of responsibility for what comes next.


Once the wild places are gone, they are gone.

Tiger by the tail


Don Rich was a fantastic guitar player. I really like his voice as well, really captures the Bakersfield sound. A musical prodigy who started fiddling at the age of three, he was known for a clean sound and wide smile. Buck Owens discovered him in Tacoma and made him the center spoke of his band, but Rich's life ended tragically at the age of thirty two in a motorcycle accident.
"He was like a brother, a son, and a best friend. Something I never said before, maybe I couldn't, but I think my music life ended when he died. Oh yeah, I carried on and I existed, but the real joy and love, the real lightning and thunder is gone forever."Buck Owens

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Monday, April 24, 2017

Steam punk and clown

vicious, you hit me with a flower...