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Cooper's Hawk

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Talking Santa Margarita Blues

I drove up to Pasadena today to pick up some paintings from John Moran Auction for a friend. It was 114º degrees in Temecula, about seven degrees cooler in Fallbrook.

I was talking to my friend Morty from Phoenix, only 105º there today, told him he was a real pussy. Just hot as hell out there. Sucks the very life right out of you.

But beats the hell out of being flooded out of your home in Houston. As much as I can't stand Texas politicians, I feel terrible for the poor people living there.

It has been a hard re-entry from New Mexico. I can blame the heat, my advancing age or sheer indolence, take your pick, but I am still not unpacked.

One of these days I will get the shop in order, I suppose.


Yesterday was a birding day. Beth, Ken and I decided to drive down to the Tijuana River Estuary on the border. None of us had ever been there before.

Somebody on the Yahoo birding site saw a painted bunting, albeit a palish female, yesterday morning and we thought that we would have ourselves a look.

Left Fallbrook to her beautiful patchwork sky.

Tijuana hillside in the distance
Somehow we got our directions crossed and ended up at the Border Field State Park, which looked pretty much permanently closed and lies within a dirt clod's throw of Mexico.

We walked a couple miles of trail, some of it quite sandy to beach and back.

A nice walk but kind of underwhelming. A few species, no great shakes. This pretty hummingbird, which is nothing to scoff at.


Popular mythology notwithstanding, we saw no trash and an empty, foggy beach. The native scrub was actually very pretty, in an alien tundra sort of way.

Was refreshing to see a stretch of beach on the west coast yet to be overrun and despoiled.


Only people we encountered at all were on horseback. Although I imagine that we were on some covert border patrol video the whole time. Hi Mom!


Amazing how many horses are actually stabled in the Tijuana River Valley. Place was cool. Didn't get any worthwhile shots all day, short of the hummingbird, this was a day Ken shot circles around me. Good thing I'm not competitive.

Saw some shorebirds, the odd gull, phoebes, vireos nothing too memorable.

Think these two birds are willets.

We stuck in our coordinates and found our way to the visitor's center, which was closed.

A ranger was kind enough to give us a map and we took a short hike and snapped a few pictures.

I may need to fine tune my D7200 camera with the Sigma 150-600 C again. Having trouble acquiring focus when capturing birds in flight. Think that I am front focussing again too.

Ken nailed it with the Nikkor 200-500mm and the D500. I think that he is probably a better photographer and that his camera combo is much better suited for bif.

I would love a new camera, the D850 would surely fit the bill but can't even think of buying one in my current state and so soon after my nikkor 400mm 2.8 acquisition.

Will just have to limp along.

Speaking of limping, saw a slightly wounded mourning dove on a post as we left.

Our last stop was the Tijuana River Community Garden, the largest community garden in San Diego County with 138 plots, which doubles as a butterfly and bird sanctuary.

Very cool but no trace of the bunting, even after a call or two.

We made it home. And it got me to thinking. I do a fair amount of traveling through our fair land.

And I never see bird life anywhere like I see in my own front yard, the Santa Margarita River Valley host to many of San Diego County's national leading 500+ species.



Caught this red tailed in the cañon on my way home the other night.

No place like home Auntie Em.









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