Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Today is my last full day in California, and the last day of my week-long birding "staycation". I've been spending every moment not dedicated to relocation-related bureaucracy out in the field, getting my last fix of Western birds. Knowing that I won't be back for a while makes even ordinary birds seem precious—which, of course, they have been all along.
On my last visit to Bolsa Chica, I was greeted by a huge swarm—"flock" doesn't seem like the right word—of peeps. They flew in formation, their collective mass constantly changing shape and density, for about 5 minutes before landing on a mudflat out in the distance. What made them decide to land there? And which of them made that decision for the group, and how?
There were the usual large number of herons, egrets, and cormorants. Here, some Double-crested Cormorants hit some interesting poses:
Monday was my self-designated Day of Decadence: a morning farewell visit to San Joaquin, followed by a huge bowl of spicy beef noodle soup at a Taiwanese hole-in-the-wall, followed by a massage and herbal bath at a spa in Mission Viejo (courtesy of a two-year-old gift certificate I finally got around to redeeming). At San Joaquin, there were shorebirds in abundance in the front ponds. The back areas were not so birdy, but butterflies were everywhere:
I've more or less made peace with the fact of my move, and have been started to look forward to it. But when I called up the Los Angeles Times this morning to cancel my subscription, I felt like crying. As always, I had to remind myself that this move is the right thing to do, professionally and personally, and the right option is rarely ever the easy and comfortable one.
Things I'll miss about So Cal: Bolsa Chica. Jacarandas in the spring. Steve Lopez. Townsend's Warblers in the winter. Real Chinese food. And of course, my family and friends—and most of all, Glenn, who will be staying behind for his job. Hell, I'll even miss Huell Howser.
Things I won't miss about So Cal: Earthquakes. SigAlerts. Overpriced real estate. USC.
And then there are all those Florida birds to look forward to—and I hope to continue writing about them once I get my new job and home under control. It could be fun.