Central Coast

Hello Wild Women!

While I was preoccupied with business during most of my visit to the SLO area, I managed to get some observations in ALONG with some great new insights for observing manzanita (I believe Andrea has made that available).

Most of my photos were taken while I was engaged in other activities so they're through a dirty truck window or fast snaps. I also realize that I behave like I have a long lens (thanks for bearing with me, LOL). And some of the macros are poorly focused because I was either precariously balanced or freezing (went from 90 on arrival to 60s/30s high/low).

Let me say: ruby-crowned kinglets! I'm no longer a virgin. My first spot was driving up a dirt road lined with scrub and poison oak. It was hot and termites were swarming. Little birds were at the edges of the road having a field day. When I stopped the car, they got bolder. I saw several ruby-crowned kinglets, not knowing their ID. Then one popped its color and I thought another species had flown in. Then it disappeared (not). Going through the photos later was funny as I slowly realized it was the same bird.

The one that got away: I didn't have my camera on me when I ended up on a ridge at eye level with two soaring golden eagles. What an amazing experience (NOT DOCUMENTED...head banging on wall).

Homo sapiens observations: It's virally hot out there...and having been in several rural zones, I can tell you that people are either duped, over it, or think Covid-19 is an urban affliction. The behavior I saw was downright dangerous... from sidewalks and outdoor cafes (which I avoid) to trails.

Hope you all are well-stocked and safe. I am so enjoying your observations.
xo Tracy

Publicado el noviembre 12, 2020 03:50 TARDE por redrovertracy redrovertracy


Great post Tracy! Yes, golden eagles are a challenge...I’ve seen them a few times but have never gotten what I consider a great photo. And the ruby crowned kinglets seem to be everywhere. I’m wondering if the yellow rumped warblers which also seem very abundant this year and the kinglets which seem also abundant are because there are fewer overall warblers around.

And yes, what’s up with the lack of precautions on Covid. Even here I see it but I know that in many areas of the country they never really locked down and now they’re paying the price for it unfortunately.

Publicado por naturephotosuze hace más de 3 años

Ruby-crowned kinglet crown is always a thrill. I have very few observations. Did you know that Kingbirds also have a ruby crown but very seldom show it? I've only seen it once and was completely floored. https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/18750408

Publicado por kimssight hace más de 3 años

Kim, great info on the kingbirds. I think I saw it once on a kingbird and I actually thought it was injured! Not sure I even kept the photo as I don’t like reminders of injured animals.

Publicado por naturephotosuze hace más de 3 años

Great post and plenty of wonderful observations. The Manzanitas observation Tracy mentioned is https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/64522521, which piqued the interest of an advanced level, self-described "hobby" botanist who offered an incredible list of pointers how to photographically approach these trees. This is one of the remarkable iNat exchanges of knowledge that are so helpful to the community...

As to the Ruby-crowned Kinglets, only males have that ruby crown, and it's the only way to tell genders apart. Of I think 11 or so obs, I have one. But since two of them moved into my back yard recently, I hope I can add one more sometime soon.

Just back from a wonderful low tide excursion with @scubabruin. She knows her way around tide pools and spotted an interesting mini lobster/cockroach creature on Feather Boa kelp, perfectly camouflaged... She hasn't posted it yet, but look out for it. (Here it is: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/64826356.) Humanity was mostly masked, but several dogs ran free and chased the birds away, so we're low on that. But it were a couple of hours where I forgot most that worries us these days, so blissful, peaceful, the generosity of the ocean, the wide wide wide Broad Beach... in really sweet and wonderful company. Thank you Laura!!

Publicado por andreacala hace más de 3 años

Oh, to get a golden eagle photo...I've seen them while driving up the 395 in the eastern Sierra, but no pics to show :(

Ruby-crowned kinglets are so darn cute! I actually have several observations of them, though I'm not sure I have more than one or two with the red crown visible. They do frequent my yard and Serrania Park, so I've gotten a chance to record them often enough.

Tidepooling with Andrea today was a blast! Thanks for joining me :). Very few folks on the beach, so it was easy to social distance while also poking around the kelp and rocks for awesome sea creatures. We did encounter a couple of teen surfers who quickly got engaged in our observations. I was able to put my aquarium docent hat on for a little bit and teach them about anemones, sea stars, and iNat. After that, we found at least 11 navanax, a couple of sea hares, lots of ochre stars, and the as yet un-ID'd kelp crawler (isopod). Oh, does anyone know what the godwits are searching for under the sand? It's not sand crabs, but thought maybe bean clams. They were not close to the water line as the tide was quite low, but the sand was still pretty wet.

As Andrea mentioned, very grateful for a few hours of ocean exploration calm and tranquility. Kind of felt normal for a while and I am glad for the terrific company as well. Thank you, Andrea :)

Next outing is likely to be Sage Ranch, so chime in with possible days/times. Also, Andrea would like a San Pedro tide pool excursion and I suggest we do that for the king tides next month. Who's interested?

Publicado por scubabruin hace más de 3 años

San Pedro! I'm in

Publicado por kimssight hace más de 3 años

Thanks for filling us in on your tide pool outing. It sounds like you found great stuff incliding that weird creature..
Can’t wait to find out what it is. That’s what I love about nature...you never know what you will find. I’m stuck dealing with an external hard drive issue...all my photos are on it so I won’t be posting anything except maybe a few archival things for a few days. I will be keeping up with what you all find though. So where in San Pedro are you planning to go? Also, does anyone know any great or good tidepooling areas north of pt Mugu but still in Ventura county?

Anyway, thanks again for sharing all your great finds and knowledge! Also, if you want to know a fairly reliable place to see golden eagles, try the area near the Bitter Creek condor refuge. There are often a pair up there though getting good photos is difficult.

Publicado por naturephotosuze hace más de 3 años

The only place I've done tide-pooling in San Pedro is Point Fermin, and I think Tracy was there with me last year at an NHMLA event, right?

I know White's Point is also good, but don't know the area very well. That is also where a lot of folks have been stripping the tide pools of the occupants recently, so I wonder about the ability to find observations as well as if there may be too many people. Tracy and Kim, do you have opinions on this?

I'm going to look up Bitter Creek, never heard of it. Thank you Suze.

Publicado por scubabruin hace más de 3 años

White's Point/Royal Palms Beach and Cabrillo Beach are where I've gone. They do get very busy with people on weekends. And yes, they get stripped

Publicado por kimssight hace más de 3 años

White point is good for tide pools in general but the last time I was there...before they arrested all the people for taking animals, it was very crowded and it was a weekday. I was pretty turned off in general by the bad behavior of people there. I don’t think I would go there again unless I hear it’s less crazy. Point Fermin gets busy too but less so since you have to walk down that steep hill so it keeps some people away.

I actually have a good tide pooling book I picked up at a sale at King Gillette a few years ago that talks about each location and what can be found where. I’ll dig it out and give you all the name of it in case you’re interested.

Publicado por naturephotosuze hace más de 3 años

Susan, when you mentioned walking down a steep hill to Point Fermin, my first reaction was "no you don't", but now I see what you are referring to versus where I've been. The few times I have gone there, we actually parked on Bluff Place and walked down to Cabrillo Beach then entered the far eastern edge of Point Fermin via a nice little wooden path. Tide pools there were fabulous and not too busy when I have gone. I'd recommend giving that a try as a great alternative to a steep hill climb (which I would not enjoy either).

Publicado por scubabruin hace más de 3 años

Hello again,
Looking at December king tides, the peak days are Sunday, 12/13 - Tuesday, 12/15 and the low tide times are 3:43pm, 4:08pm, and 5:17pm, so given that it gets dark pretty early, I'd say Sunday is our best bet. However, we could also opt for Friday, 12/11 when the low tide is still pretty darn low with a -0.3 ft at 2:27pm. Sunday is a -1.5 ft low. Going further out in time, there are similar tides and times starting Sunday, 1/11 - Tuesday, 1/13.

Andrea, that Sora is a lovely little bird. I've never seen one before, so now I've got another on my list :). Thank you.

Publicado por scubabruin hace más de 3 años

Kim, yes, I was at Point Fermin for the bio blitz last year. That's also where I met Laura. Found a baby octopus that day (what a thrill). And Laura was on fire with nudibranch sightings. I'm up for another Fermin exploration...would love to explore more around Sunken City.

Agree with Suze about staying away from White Point/RP as it's both crowded and sadly decimated.

I was at Abalone Cove yesterday. Not too many people but most were unmasked. Diversity was so-so. I suppose if I'd seen a nudibranch or sea hare, I'd nix that comment (LOL).

Publicado por redrovertracy hace más de 3 años

Thanks so much for the tip on Point Fermin. We actually were there to photograph the peregrine falcon family and then decided to go down to the shore. I’m glad to hear there is a better way and not too crowded.

On another note, I think in general tide pool diversity is down...probably a combination of our warming more acidic seas and the bad behavior of people. A few days ago I saw a four year old carrying around a large sea star. I actually went over to the mom and asked what they were doing with it as I saw a pail there. She said, they were looking at it...I said it wasn’t good to detach them and that they were barely recovering and endangered and she said “we know.” But I guess it was more important for her son to have something to play with.

Oh, and I’m still waiting to see my first nudibranch...or I should say photograph one...I saw one once but it was too treacherous to try and get a photo.

Publicado por naturephotosuze hace más de 3 años

P.S. Tracy, I was at Topanga beach Friday...I know not in your neck of the woods but I must have seen at least 8-10 sea hares.

Publicado por naturephotosuze hace más de 3 años

I finally finished posting the Broad Beach observations, including Marbled Godwits with their prey, https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/64934249. Sandworms, Genus Alitta would be a possibility. Yesterday, I spent a bit of time on Topanga Beach, but cut my time short because there were too many people and the tide pools seemed picked clean. Susan, did you find much besides the Seahares?

I've put 12/11 to 12/15 in my calendar for tide pooling in the San Pedro area. Let's see what the weather will be like, because if the Sunday is a cold, overcast day, the beach could be quite deserted.

Publicado por andreacala hace más de 3 años

Yes, the beaches are still crowded although Friday was not bad at Topanga. I did find a few other things but it took a lot of looking...two bat stars and two sea stars as well as a few mollusks. I probably won’t be able to post for over a week as I’m waiting for a new hard drive to come in and then I have to back up my current 8 TB Hard drive which typically takes a few days.

It’s getting so I hope for cold miserable weather to keep the beach crowds And the collectors away.

Cool post of that godwit Andrea!

Publicado por naturephotosuze hace más de 3 años

Can't wait for the sea stars @ Topanga!!

Publicado por andreacala hace más de 3 años

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