Archive for the ‘ocean’ Category

Tennessee Valley

Monday, November 10th, 2014

Gorgeous cliffs at Tennessee Valley beach in Marin, CA. Otters and Owls. Dangerous tides and vast ocean views. Love it.

Cross Country

Friday, March 19th, 2010

field in Maryland

I first landed in Maryland on my venture west. I drove through New York and Pennsylvania and spent the next morning taking in the countryside. The pictures above are from that morning. An old corn field and some red fox tracks in the frozen mud of the field.  Well, part of it was a corn field. A bunch of woodpeckers making alot of noise, perhaps Red-headed? And a giant flock of Grackles, swarming the sky. There was also a huge flock of crows that stretched across the sky at evening and during the next morning. Probably going to and from their roost.

DAWN-MD – Audio sample from Maryland, USA.

here is a sound recording fom that same field.

Tennessee Sunrise

Next i landed in Tennessee, surely one of the most special places ever. Driving through Virginia was incredible. The Shanendoas are magical and i wanted to stop and just explore, but another part of me just wanted to drive. I can’t beleive how cool Tennessee is. The smokeys are so amazing and Nashville is unbelievable, the people, the music, the land, the southern warmth. Just awesome. i listened to gospel the whole way through and was converted. Thats that!

I got the sense that Tennessee is a great gift to the world.

Here’s an audio sample from Tennessee. Recorded in the same horse pasture as where the picture above was taken:

DAWN-TN – Audio bit, Tennessee.

Arkansas Swamp

After i hit Tennessee i turned and headed west! Woohoo! That night I got to Arkansas (Tennessee is a really long state!) Driving over the Mississippi was awesome. Trees of some sort growing out of the water and tons of white egrets. there were these strange little mud- minture, animal houses of some sort in the mud of the swamp. About two inches high and 2” across. Like some sort of insect house in the mud. It had a hole at the top abouthalf an inch wide that ran all the way down into the ground. Pretty cool little huts.

Open Road in Texas

Texas was next on my pathway. Texas had the nicest rest areas. The one i saw was huge and fancy, kind of like some fancy outdoor arena. Everything in Texas seems to be huge. The cars, the wide open land, the people. Some hellish cattle lots though, which was really horrible. the worst part was that the one i saw was the same on that was there when i drove through there six years ago. Texas was Frigid! It was mostly the wind. there are just no wind blocks and everything is so open, the wind just rips across un-blocked.

Here is an audio recording of roadside Texas. The bird is a Western Meadowlark, one of a few that was  serenading my morning:

DAWN-TX – Texas audio sample

Albuquerque New Mexico

Nest stop was the high desert of Albuquerque, New Mexico, a truly majestic place. i was fortunate enough to visit a friend there were i could rest and recuperate for a few days.  He showed me around the desert which is a tracking heaven! Unbelievable. here is a buck rub on a small sapling in the desert:

Antler rub, New Mexico

Male deer will thrash up saplings in the spring by rubbing their new antlers  in an attempt to remove the velvet fuzz that covers them. I guess it itches pretty bad which makes them want to rub. Tracks of Coyote, Bobcat, Skunk, deer and many more.

MRNG-NM – audio sample, New Mexico

(Thats a Canyon Towhee trilling)

Albuquerque was bloody cold. It was warm once i hit Tennessee and I thought it would be warm there on out but I was mistaken. New Mexico is high and dry. It was snowing on and off most of the time i was there. Or rather a kind of hail thing. It was weird as it would often be completely sunny and be hailing/snowing at the same time. Usually from a cloud that covered only part of the sky. The cool thing there was that it was so expansive you could see a couple different weather events as you looked out across the landscape. Snowy, sunny, snowy, etc.

Back on the road. A long drive, an incredible, undescribeable drive, going through some of the most beautiful landscapes, to California. My body started to hurt at this point from being stuck in the same position for a week. My elbows started to hurt. weird. Desert. cactus. wildflowers. bikers. green rolling hills. Rollercoaster like road. Oil mines. Incedble land. beauty. excitement. Pacific Ocean. California. It felt awesome and weird to be back in California. Awesome cause it was beautiful and weird cause this was the first time i had driven solo across the counrty, so suddenly i was on the other side of the world.

i drove to Morro Bay a stunning seaside tourist town north of Los Angeles and baptized myself in Mother Ocean. A Volia’ :

Amazing Morro Bay , California, USA

MROBYCA – some seaside music

Ground squirrels scampering among the rocks, Black Oystercatchers calling loudly and feeding at the waters edge, Brown Pelicans, Surfers riding the waves, a Sea Otter floating so contently in the channel on his back feeding on something i couldn’t see, And a huge stunning tan-brown dome rock rising right out of the water. Gulls nesting all along the cliff edge and sparrows singing lush-ly.

Awesome. I drove up Hwy 1 along the coast and soaked in the expanse of ocean. Picked up some young hitchhikers who were also headed to the bay area. The girl was quite the talker and informed me of a great number of things. Many words. I was glad for the company. Got to San Francisco late that night and woke up the next morning to watch the sunrise on the bay. Gulls, a harbor seal, A kingfisher  (which was awesome seeing as i had never seen one there before) and of course the everpresent homeless people, of which, technically, I was, this time, one of.

Thanks United States of America! The trip was truly stunning and life changing. I feel alittle differnt in a way that I can’t quite pinpoint yet having driven across the county. Some sort of Independance or something like that.

Teeming with Life

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

It is  a crazy world out there. Northern Rock Barnacles (balanus balanoides). A crustacean and a fascinating creature. I was at the beach, looking at them under the surface of the water, when i realized that they were moving- they all had antenna-like wisps moving in a “scooping” fashion throught the current. These little plumes, kind of like a peacock tail, moved in and out of this little crustacean in a rhythmic, undulating pattern. I was shocked. I had never noticed this before yet have walked around on these little guys all my life. I knew they were alive but not this alive! I guess they feed by filtering something from the water. ….. and that would be “planktonic organisms and organic matter” floating in the current. The antenna are called “Cirri” and are actually their legs? strange and incredible. It is a crazy world. I was struck at how rich the salt pond i was exploring was. Simply teeming with life. Unbelievable.

Hugest Mink Ever

Okay, so then i walked a little ways down the breachway and was blown away again. This time by witnessing the tracks of the biggest mink ever. At least the largest that i have seen. He was a beast. The mink (mustela vison) is related to the weasel and lives in aquatic habitats. This was the first time i have tracked the animal in a salt water system so the rich abundance of marine life must keep him plenty healthy and robust. At first i thought i was looking at the trail of a small dog, until i recognized the characteristic “lope”, a gait it often uses to get around, stretched out in the sand before me. He was so large he actually left impressions in some firm sand. Staggering.  For a size reference look at the mouse print in the middle-left of the bottom mink picture above (you should be able to get a blown up view if you click on the picture). Its a little difficult to see, but that’s the hind foot of a mouse heading in the opposite direction of the mustelid.

deer trail along edge of pond

A deer trail skirting the edge of the salt pond at sunset.  The trail paralleled the waters edge  and was partially underwater at times.

Who made these tracks?

snailtrails

That’s right.  Snail. Or more specifically the Common Periwinkle ( littorina littoria). If I had just seen the prize for the biggest in species, than this was the prize for the slowest.  This is ten minutes of trail right here. But i watched him move. He was actually moving his body one side at a time: left, right, left, right, like a human being with legs except in slow motion. It’s a whole different world for these guys.

The breachway had some cool rocks in it. Mergansers, Grebes, and Gulls chilling out on the current, fishing or following me around ( hoping I’ll feed them! -gull-).  See the snails mixed in there?

Walk at the Beach

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

Went to the local beach and walked about. As i was standing on the rocks taking this picture of the sunset a merlin (falco columbarius) flew right in front of the camera in close pursuit of a small song bird.  The poor little prey let out a sharp cry which alerted me to the chase in the first place. I dropped the camera to see the song bird catapult itself into the crevice of the rocky breachway i was standing on. The raptor hovered in front of me for a moment looking angrily at the rock crevice where its possible dinner had flung itself into, and then flew back into the marsh.

It could have been a sharp shinned hawk. It was a small raptor, but it was more black and white streaked and not very bluish or grayish.

Would have been the perfect bedtime snack. Too bad.

Vulpes vulpes, the red fox. He hunts along the dunes at the beach in search of  the  cottontail and other creatures that make their homes there.  Unclear tracks but you can still see the distinguishing trademark: the chevron or boomerang shaped bar at the bottom of the front track, which in this photo is the track on the bottom. See that crooked darker line? Thats it.

“Goldenrod”  ( solidago canadensis) at sunset. The fluff is what’s left when the cheery yellow flowers disappear with the summer warmth. Recently read that when Henry Ford wanted to produce a cheaper version of the rubber tire for his ford automobile, he asked inventor Thomas Edison (The person who made the light bulbs we use ) to come up with something cheaper than the rubber they were having to import from overseas. After a little while the prolific  and hard working Edison came up with a cheap rubber made from our very own native plant, the Goldenrod.