Saturday, May 1, 2010

Things That Don't Suck


Since I'm completely and utterly debilitated and depressed about the oil spill, I thought it would be good for my sanity and state of mind (and perhaps yours too) if I tell you of all the happy things I've seen in the last week. As dead and empty as I feel inside (not to mention full of rage) about this absolute bullshit that has happened these things make me stop banging my head against the wall for a minute. I'm having an incredibly difficult time handling this. If you don't want to read the whole post, at least look at the highlighted words because we saw a bunch of good stuff. My World

Last weekend we (me, Zac and my brother who was in town) saw 5+ whales off the coast. Freaking sweet. Usually they are so far out (not that we see them often, pretty rare) that the binos hardly help. But this time there must have been a pod that was snarfing the good stuff about 150-200 yards offshore. So damn cool. At least one was a humpback and the others were gray whales. Pretty fantastic sighting.
While we were watching them, a gorgeous adult bald eagle flew right over our heads (and before that, an osprey did the same thing). And at the same time, I spotted a California ground squirrel (I'm pretty sure that's the right species) gathering material for his nest. Uh...super duper cute. Yeah, I said cute again.

I already posted about the mass amount of harbor seals that we saw last weekend. In addition to the babies and the 30 or so mentioned in that post, we saw ~50 more the day after sunning at low tide on a rocky coast.
We did a great hike at Redwoods National last Saturday and in addition to being mesmerized by the trees worthy of worship, we saw a Ruffed Grouse (life bird for me, year bird for Zac...ah! so nerdy I know!), thousands of millipedes mating, a banana slug eating a millipede (pictures in another post) and about 30 frogs. I'm having a hard time identifying them, but I think they're Foothill Yellow-legged Frogs.
We also saw 4 different elk herds. Nice! We checked out tide pools one afternoon and saw a lots of ochre sea stars, several gumboot chiton, other tide pool stuff I don't know, and tons of anemones (pictures to come), a river otter and yet more harbor seals!!
Bird highlights (photos later) of the past week: Sage Thrasher (roughly one sighting a year here, so that was pretty cool), Marbled Murrelet, Black-headed Grossbeak. We saw another Macgillivray's Warbler today and a couple Bewick's Wrens, a few more Bullock's Orioles, like ten million (wait, not quite that many, but an obscene number) Western Grebes. Oh yeah, also the Allen's Hummingbirds were out on a riot today or something - holy buzzers everywhere!
(Black-capped Chickadee below)
And! The Osprey this morning (7 of them) were out in full force also, as were tons of migrating Common Murres and massive shorebird flocks. And some Wandering Tattlers (might be my one of favorite names for a bird, and their vocalizations remind me of my own at times).

And lastly, many many harbor porpoises this afternoon and one California sea lion.

27 comments:

Woody said...

Well, this is a very fine collection!!! It puts things into perspective that even if things are really, really bad in one place that there are other things of beauty to behold elsewhere. Thank you!!

Rambling Woods said...

I am glad or I guess sad to know that I am not alone in this awful feeling of dread and sadness over the oil spill. I alternate between ticked as heck and then really sad. Crap this is going to have an impact for years and years. The guys in charge should be in jail at the least and why or why did the administration not step in sooner, if that would have helped...I couldn't even watch the evening news...damn...Michelle

Rambling Woods said...

Oh nuts..I overlooked your neat post. I think that is what I am going to have to do to save my sanity. My pond may be flawed but so far there is no oil slick..of course there is always time for that. Maybe some moron will decide to wash his big riding lawn mower in it...Michelle

Martha Z said...

This is much better than thinking about what is happening in the gulf. That is now out of our hands unless we have the knowledge and resources to help mitigate the damage.
The job for us is to help see there is no next time.

Costea Andrea Mihai said...

hello!! impressive portofolio!! superb captures!! :)

jason said...

Wonderful collection of things that don't suck, Jill. Fantastic images! And I hear you on the spill. It's weighing heavily on me. I'm to the point of not wanting to read the news.

Carolyn Ford said...

I hear you about that oil spill! It's unbelievable how the circle of the "save the Earth" and now let's "destroy the Earth" concepts overlap each other. But...your wonderful day of "escaping" the news must have been the best! The whales...up so much closer than usual, must have been there to cheer you up. That squirrel, with a mouthful of grass...simply priceless!

Kathy said...

We all are sick about this tragedy. I grew up next door to the Louisiana wetlands and I want to throw up when I think too much about it. I can't even watch it on TV. More lessons learned.

Clytie said...

Wow, what a collection of beauty you saw! I too have been horrified by the oil spill. This brings hope to my soul.

Pagan Sphinx said...

You have a wonderful collection of critter shots here!

Yes, the oil spill is so discouraging and depressing. It's easy to either get very, very angry or pretend it didn't happen. Neither is good but it feels increasingly clear that we can't stand up against this horror on behalf of our planet.

SquirrelQueen said...

The little California Ground squirrel (that's what it looks like to me too) is so cute. You are really making me miss the North Coast area.

Love the shots of the baby seal in your other post. That was one very relaxed baby.

Carver said...

Fantastic post. It is such a sad and disheartening time that it is healing to see nature at its best without man screwing it up.

Sylvia K said...

A fantastic post/photos indeed, Jill! And I couldn't agree more! I think there are many of us that feel sad, angry, disgusted, disappointed. This will have an impact for years and, frankly, I wish we could string all these guys up -- preferably by their private parts. The pictures I have seen just break my heart!

Sylvia

SandyCarlson said...

Thanks for these. I feel as you do, and I appreciate your words and images.

ewok1993 said...

It's infuriating really, but I hoped these images made you forget about it for a millisecond.

eileeninmd said...

Jill, I am feeling sick about the oil spill too. It is very sad. I would like to see all the drilling stopped. The government should be looking for an alternative fuel. Your post of things that don't suck is wonderful. As usual your photos are awesome!

Rinkly Rimes said...

The thought of the oil spill is wretched, even to an Australian, but your shots have cheered me somewhat.

noel said...

aloha,

what a beautifull area, i love all the wildlife you have shown.

I agree, its sad to see the state of events happening with this disaster.

thanks for showing us your world today

biobabbler said...

1. wow. so glad I found your blog.
2. SO glad to see the pic of squirrel with mouth crammed full of grass.

I saw that for the first time (that I remember) very recently, when I went to check on my chickens (perchance to count?) and surprised a gray squirrel, who was busily CRAMMING INSANE amounts of grass in his/her maw. Cracked me up. In response to my presence, he turned his fuzzy gray back on me and continued to mash the load into his face, and shortly thereafter I saw him ascending a nearby pine.

SO CUTE. I laughed out loud.

Anyhow, great work capturing it on film. Psyched to see your future posts.

J Bar said...

So beautiful.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Frostbite and Sunburn said...

Great collection of things that don't suck! You've cheered me up with your week of nature's best.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Jill: Thanks for sharing all the neat captures that make you happy.

MyMaracas said...

You left out raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, but that's still an impressive list of wonderful things.

I'm astounded that sea floor drilling is allowed, now that I know there is no way to plug a well in a disaster. What were they thinking?

Living In Williamsburg Virginia said...

Oh wow, you captured some beautiful shots! Very nice.
Darryl and Ruth : )

Marites said...

gee wow! you have some beautifully amazing photos. I would love to get near those whales. I love the California ground squirrel photo! such a great capture of him doing his own thing.

LadyFi said...

Fantastic photos! And yes - so depressing about the oil spill.

ksdoolittle said...

Oh, I feel better!! The oil spill has me feeling sick. I try not to think about it, so was delighted to get lost in your lovely post! You saw so many wonderful things. Wish I had been there with you. ~karen