Friday, June 14, 2013

Cambria - a day of animals

Today was a day of wildlife surprises.  We decided to go for a long walk through the Fiscallini Preserve, through the Cambria neighborhoods, and then to Main Street for some Linn's Olallieberry pie.  The pie was worth the 7.5 miles walk and hopefully the walk countered the calories in the pie, or at least some of them.
I had all my camera gear and was hoping to see some wildlife in the preserve.  There wasn't much, Just the same seals that we saw the other day and I would have to climb down some cliffs to get good shots of them.  Julie did see a four foot snake slowly inching across the path.  Not the surprise animal we would prefer to run across but he was completely uninterested in us. A passerby thought he was a gopher snake.
I put the camera back in my pack and we started into the neighborhoods, at which point we saw wildlife everywhere.

A word of warning, the last photo (after the heron) is pretty gross.  You may chose to skip it, or at least not dwell on it.  I included it because I thought it was interesting and unique.

This neighborhood is full of deer.  I guess they prefer the taste of people's yard plantings to the dry grasses and pine trees of the preserve.  Mom and her two little ones started very close to us but I had lazily decided to put my camera away. Live and learn.
Across the street and up the hill were two young bucks, both sporting their nice soft, fuzzy antlers. We ran across more deer as we kept walking and all seemed familiar enough with people so that they just casually walked away from us.
As we peaked the hill and headed into different terrain, we saw a half dozen Acorn Woodpeckers.  I believe this is a life bird for me but I have lost track.  The picture was taken from a long ways off and cropped a lot, but I didn't want to spend time chasing them for a close-up.  Just enough to identify them later.
We went out to dinner last night and finished up in time to get back to the house to see what was looking like a pretty poor sunset.  Foggy with no clouds to catch the sunlight makes for a very dull view.  Still, I grabbed the camera and walked across the street to see if I could get a decent shot.

Almost immediately, I saw this Great Blue Heron on the bluff right above the ocean.  He was dead still, probably hunting bugs or small rodents in the grass.  I very, very slowly crept towards him, taking pictures as I went.  When I took this shot, I was standing about 12 feet from him.  He was still absolutely frozen.  I began to believe that someone had placed an incredibly lifelike statue out there to screw with people like me. Then he turned his head.
I watched him for a while and saw him catch something, but I couldn't tell what. Too bad the light was so low that his sudden motion was impossible for me to freeze.  Herons can stand like statues but they strike like lightening when they are ready.
I took one last heron silhouette to capture my only sunset picture of the evening.
Now the gory photo, so stop here if you want to.

This was actually a surprise we discovered the morning before on Moonstone Beach.  A dead seal had washed up with the high tide.  It was interesting that its body was intact (but only for another day or so) but its head was down to the bare skull.  The good news is that it washed away with the next high tide.  If it sat in the sun much longer, it would have been an unbelievably disgusting mess.
We ended up seeing a lot of wildlife, just not what or where we expected. That's what makes it and adventure!

This morning we leave Cambria and head up the coast for a quick night in Carmel, then back to Park City.
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