California is in a state of drought, and that's on top of our typically dry summer weather. Around here, it is unheard of to see any rain during the summer months. The native trees are adapted to this, and have hard shiny leaves. Our live oaks have leaves like holly, right down to the prickly spines. Nature is tough.
Last Saturday morning, Robb and I were out in a park in Monterey and actually heard the pine cones exploding up in the trees. It was that hot!
And that same day, a freak thunderstorm blew through, dropping very little rain, but sparking hundreds of wildfires. I have heard that there are over eight hundred separate wildfires burning, as a result of the lightning strikes.
Our air quality is, as you can imagine, terrible. I walked out of the apartment yesterday morning, and the neighborhood smelled like a campfire. My throat was actually burning by mid-morning, and I was having a little trouble breathing.
This bird has nothing whatsoever to do with the fires, but I took its photo on Sunday. It is a Brandt's Cormorant, and it is doing its mating display, presumably showing off its splendid blue throat (and yoga skills). We saw hundred and hundreds and hundreds of these goose-sized birds on the Coast Guard pier in Monterey. I really will write about them in more depth, soon. They're really fascinating.