After our January trip north into the world of snow and freezing temperatures, we spent a good deal of time relaxing outside in sunny Southern California over the next couple of months.
Okay… relaxing in between all the chores living in an RV requires, like waxing, repairing, cleaning….
We greeted our neighbors, like the lizards who live in the bushes behind our RV…
…and a few who live down the street, like this one:
We celebrated the pair of Hooded Mergansers who decided to raise their young one in the RV park where the mother could swim lazily with her juvenile offspring (mommy is on the left):
And on another pond, on another day, we watched this Great Egret stalk its fishy lunch…
…while yet another day, this Osprey stalked its own fishy lunch from overhead:
We gave a wave to the Western Scrub Jay that likes to hang around our site…
…and when it didn’t show up one morning, we spotted the reason why on a lower branch — this beautiful Coooper’s Hawk:
California Quail raced past us…
…while Red-Tailed Hawks flew over us:
With all the activity going on in a nearby tree, we decided it had to be the local pick-up spot for our feathered friends:
They started showing up late in the afternoon, before dusk, almost as if they were on a schedule, mostly finches. Here a couple of males hope to get lucky (House Finch on the left; Lesser Goldfinch on the right):
For a few weeks, about once a day, we were rewarded for our patience with the amazing song of the California Thrasher:
These birds are only found in California and a small part of northwestern Mexico, so we feel pretty lucky to be able to see them regularly. And if I can figure out how to upload the video I made of it, you’ll be able to hear it, too. What makes the song especially amazing (in my opinion) is that it comes out of such a long, curvy beak.
Ripening berries in a nearby hedge drew this Swainson’s Thrush…
…but this Mockingbird didn’t seem as interested in the berries as it did in its own reflection (so we guess) in our kitchen window, sitting prettily on a branch…
…before flying straight into the window:
Sometimes it would balance on the edge of the windowsill and peck at the window until we scared it away. Poor thing! We tried everything we could (from making loud noises to taping stuff on the window to distort the reflection) but it was pretty determined!
We never knew what might visit us next. It’s like everything in life: stay open to the possibilities, and you’ll be rewarded with something unexpected.
And for a few days, here and there, we were especially rewarded for looking up:
American White Pelicans! Seems we were smack underneath their regular flight path between the Pacific Ocean and the Salton Sea. They flew so high it was hard to get a clear shot, but one day a few of them came closer:
Another surprise was spotting this Black-Crowned Night Heron trying to catch a few winks in an evergreen tree:
Of course, watching overhead, we see plenty of metal birds, too. And for a few days we were buzzed by military jets and circled by a big military plane we dubbed The Refueler (the proper term might be “tanker”?). Sure enough, it was exactly that:
We found out the President was 30 or 40 miles away at a summit with international leaders and knew we’d been witnessing part of what it took for the military to keep them all safe 🙂
Moral of the story? Don’t forget to look up!!