Go fly…a kite

DSC_2395_aMeet a White-tailed Kite.

These birds have a fairly limited range in the US, and we’ve not encountered them before. I’m told the paper-and-wood toy we fly was named for this bird…

Besides looking quite elegant, they have interesting behavior when they hunt…they “hover” above a field, and look down for their prey. Because they perch in lone trees in open fields, I’ve had quite a time catching them in action. Here’s a sequence of hovering.
DSC_1208_aDSC_1214_aDSC_1216_aDSC_1225_aDSC_1226_aDSC_1233_aOne day I got real lucky, near the end of the day when light was beginning to dim, when I stumbled upon this pair of kites. They seemed nearly oblivious of me…probably because they were in the midst of an aerial mating dance!
DSC_2479_aDSC_2480_aIt’s been a lot of fun to watch these birds…nearly every day, because they hang out along a stretch of road that we frequently travel!
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Fog

The North Coast of California is a land like no other.

It’s not even like northern California just a few miles inland from the coast. Start up into the low hills in July, and even at altitude the temperature rises to 90 degrees.

The coast will be 60.

And it might well be foggy.

The fog might be low or it might be high, it might be patchy or it might be everywhere, it might be a faint mist or it might be so thick you can cut it with a knife, it might be there at dawn or it might roll in at dusk, it might be just off-shore or it might just catch in the inland hills.

It’s usually beautiful.
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Low tide

The tides around here produce a swing of about 8 feet in depth, and leave some pretty obvious marks at low tide. (click any photo to see much more detail!)
DSC_4661_aDSC_4671_aLow tide can make for some beauty on the beach…and not just rocks are left high and dry at low tide.
DSC_4702_aDSC_4726_aBoth of those rocks above will be completely submerged at high tide.

The rising tide affects other things. Here, the Little River “pours its heart out” into the ocean at low tide. Notice the ripples on its surface breaking back from the direction of flow…does the force of flow underwater exceed the ability of the peak to move with the flow?DSC_4650_aThe sandy beach is wide and flat here at low tide. As the tide comes in, the wash of each wave will run 100 yards toward shore! In the final picture below, the entire sandy beach you see will be underwater at high tide…and then some, because the hillside I’m shooting from is so steep, the vegetation on it blocks the view of its base.
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Spring’s a-poppin

A-drippin would probably be more accurate.

The weather here on the North Coast has been remarkable for the past six weeks. Where there usually would be two or three days every week with some rain, there have been almost none.

We’ve told you about the fog. Oh yes, daily fog that leaves things dripping.

But a dampening fog isn’t the same as a good shower…or two days of rain.

You probably heard that the California governor declared a “drought emergency” after 2013 was the driest calendar year in 119 years of California rainfall records.

Well this area is beginning to do its part to refresh the water table…it’s begun to rain again.
DSC_2694_aAnd look what’s been waiting!
DSC_4516_aDSC_5267_aSome early birds already busted out…
DSC_2714_aDSC_4514_aAll because of a little…
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Splashing

The waves continue to draw us in.

No, no more baptisms.

It’s the constant rumble from a mile away, the crash up close, the thunderous boom when there’s a wall of rock standing in the way.

Of course, the spray is pretty…
DSC_2439_aDSC_2126_aThe challenge for photos is to find a place where the rocks are in the intertidal zone AND there’s a close vantage point that is safe from surf…like where the gulls sit!
DSC_1733_aDSC_1803_aDSC_1583_aThe boys were clearly safe behind these rocks, but it appears Ryan wasn’t convinced…

Actually, he was just being Ryan…he cannot stand in one spot for more than 30 seconds without stooping to explore the ground upon which he stands!

Some scenes require breaking the rule to move in close…
DSC_2380_aI had to climb down and around a massive rock in order to get some context for this shot. You’re still missing a lot of the scene because I couldn’t get off to the side. My toes got sprayed for this one…
DSC_2570_aAnd some scenes just require a long shot…
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