Fire and rain

The extreme weather along the west coast has certainly dampened our exploration.

On many days we have not been able to walk around with Ross & Ryan…which means we look for churches with porticos, since there are no Home Depots or Lowes within a hundred miles!

Actually, it has caused us to explore some new roads and areas we missed last year while here…and we’ve discovered some gems to revisit when it’s dry and we can get out to walk and shoot!

In the meantime, the rain means clouds, and clouds mean…well…gray skies and dull sunsets…

Except when there’s a break!

Here’s a remarkable sky from a recent evening.

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The fun side of bad weather

You might’ve heard about the weather hereabouts….

We arrived on the North Coast just as this special weather pattern arrived…sheesh, it’s been wet & blustery….

Ah, but that wind sure does some great things to the waves, and you know what happens at sunset with clouds….

I maneuvered down to a spot on the shoreline behind these rocks at low tide near sun down. Wow, had to lift the tripod several times to avoid getting its legs in salt water!

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I’ve got my eye on you

We’ve run across all kinds of interesting things to show you….too little time to get them ready!

But we ran across the sweetest little bird the other day, and had to share it immediately.

DSC_7457_aNorthern Pygmy-Owl.

Never sure if he’s coming or going….

DSC_7439_aQuite small….sparrow-sized!

DSC_7459_aHe (or she) was sitting alongside a very narrow trail out to a rocky overlook, but was separated from the trail by a thick hedge. He apparently felt unnoticed and safe there, but Robyn’s keen eye for birds found him immediately, and we had great fun taking his picture.

He continued to hang around, and we pointed him out to several other people who happened along.

Dreadful weather…very strong winds with periods of driving rain. He waited patiently.

Birds of a feather

Just a few miles south of our park is Arcata Marsh, an interesting collection of large fresh water and salt water marshes/ponds/lakes located in the Pacific Flyway.

The technical name of the place is Arcata Wastewater Treatment Plant and Wildlife Sanctuary.

Ummmm, those “fresh water” ponds/lakes are actually waste treatment areas….but that’s a story for another day.

The fresh water areas are constant in their water levels, but the salt water areas are completely transformed by the tides four times a day…from a very large bay to mud tidal flats and grassy fields.

Fresh and salt water attract different groups of waterfowl, and high tide tends to attract different birds than low tide.

We spent low tide the other day with some Willets and Marbled Godwits…at least that’s what I think they were.

DSC_6447_aDSC_6534_aAlthough they frequently forage one by one, we’ve noticed these two types of birds usually hang in quite large groups….and then they do the hey-everybody-turn-and-look or the skittish let’s-all-fly-at-once.

DSC_6488_aDSC_6489_aIt’s quite the jumble as the whole flock tries to land. I was amazed at the complexity of their wings…look at the various layers and shapes across their necks and backs as they land!

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I am a rock…I am an island

Trinidad Bay offers so much. One prominent feature is Pewetole Island, covered with Sitka Spruce.

DSC_6655_aA colorful little island that jumps straight out of the water, its steep rock walls offer no encouragement for exploration. Even at low tide, when rocks in the bay offer steppingstones to its edge, there’s no reason to try!

DSC_6697_aIt takes much of the pounding of the ocean waves for a good stretch of the shoreline, and that produces numerous rock formations between it and the shore.

DSC_6771_aMostly, it provides color and some perspective for your view out to sea….

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