I'm slowly learning my way around, and we've finally gone to the grocery store and started cooking our own meals. We've discovered that food prices here are a lot higher, and that all these cool local-produce stores are great except when you just want to buy something simple; you end up either not finding it or paying a lot more for it. We need to hit someplace like Trader Joe's where we can get staples for a little cheaper, Matty thinks. Any advice from you other Californians would be appreciated!
Here are some first views of Sonoma County:
Not too shabby! It's incredibly beautiful here--just breathtaking. The sunlight seems so much brighter here than back east, or maybe it's just in our heads. It's definitely drier and not as lushly green, but it's still beautiful.
This morning we decided to see the beach, so we drove to Bodega Bay, about 45 minutes away--a little longer than I thought it would be, but the scenery was gorgeous. I'll show you some shots from the drive home later; first, here's the bay:
Brown Pelicans aren't lifers (I saw them in Texas), but they're so cool:I also saw a bunch of White Pelicans but didn't get a shot of them flying over me.
But this California Gull is a lifer, number 203!
What the heck are these little guys?They were flying in little flocks, fast as lightning, banking and turning as one, and uttering little squeaky cries the entire time. Here, I happened to catch a bunch of them as they took a little rest. They were not at the seashore, chasing the waves, so I know they're not Sanderlings; their behavior and flight was totally different. But what are they? Are they lifers?
They also had a little birdwalk marshy area at this one beach we went to (the name of which I no longer remember!):
A Snowy Egret showing off:
A tiny jellyfish no bigger than the front of my foot, but look at his spots!
Some kind of kelpy stuff?
Looks like someone threw up blood here, but it's another sea plant:
And isn't this red seaweed pretty?
There were tons of dead jellies on the shore, some as big as a foot across like this one:
Matty found a Dungeness (I think?) crab shell:
Hey--I actually know this one--Bull Kelp:
Thanks to the Audubon Field Guide to California for that ID!
Way out in the water, I saw what looked like some kind of cormorant: Couldn't get any closer.
And check out this lifer, a Western Scrub Jay! I think I heard one of these guys calling back when I was in Texas in February, but now I've seen one and can count him! (and sorry to the lady who was stuck behind me while I snapped this pic--heh heh) Aw crap--I just checked my list and found that I DID count him in Texas. Hmph. What a dummy.
More lifers--Western Gulls!
And this sparrow--any guesses on ID?
Here are some pretty flowers:
That last one is some kind of lupine, like a Texas Bluebonnet only the wrong color.
Another shot of the Brown Pelican.
What a wonderful day. Lifers were Western Gull, California Gull, Western Scrub Jay (which I first thought was a Pinon Jay, until I learned that they're all blue and they aren't found by the beach), and (I hope) those unidentified peeps. I saw some plovers of some kind, but I couldn't get good enough photos to even see field marks, much less ID them. But I bet they were lifers too! Still, that's at least three more, combined with that Lark Bunting I saw in Colorado, so my ABA total is now a whopping 204! My goal is 300 by the end of the year--I'd better get cracking.