Thursday, June 26, 2008



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.


ArtGekko said...

Cool bird, but those funky blue eyes are a little eerie! I like the way his tail is flared like a ruddy duck.

Quite the display of flexibility. I'm sure plenty of cormorantettes were swooning!

Anonymous said...

Hey there- also very hot and dry here in PA.

It's one month since we had any rain, but at least day time temps have cooled down to the 80's after it had been 103 for a week and killed all my precious heritage tomato plants I had planted the week before. The corn growth here is stunted, so the nationwide harvest is going to be slim, wether there was flooding in the corn belt or not this year. The weather is getting dependably weird. This coming month we are going to buy a new furnace for the house, and I only wish it was going to be for something other than fuel oil.

Lots of little baby robins flying around here testing out their new flying skills. Less exotic than your blue throated birdie, but still very cute. They do a good job on all the bugs hereabouts.


Heather said...

That bird... looks like it's gotten into the Spice Melange.

And the air quality... ugh. My family in SLO county has all developed bronchial troubles from all the smoke. Their doctor says she's seeing lots of it these days.

Romi said...

Ugh. Isn't the smoke awful?! We could barely see across the street yesterday. :P

Anonymous said...

Yoga skills...or Karma sutra? It is the love dance, after Thought of you guys as we drove the 152 through San Jose and smelled all the smoke. We couldn't even see across the water. We stayed in Santa Cruz and were a bit apprehensive to 'camp' (if staying at a KOA is considered camping!) amid all the fires. We didn't have to worry though because the marine layer kept the smoke at bay (no pun intended!) and we had a good time. Hope the smoke clears for you and the fires don't do any property damamge.


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