Horse Mountain Botanical Area, Humboldt County, California
Botany Bay Plantation, a set on Flickr.
Via Flickr:Edisto, South Carolina
Though the Atlantic is more ‘tame’ than the Pacific, the tree boneyard is a testimony to the power of water, no matter the temperament.
Botany Bay Plantation, a former working plantation, is currently managed for game and wildlife. While the beach is accessible, there is a guard standing watch to ensure that no one takes any shells, since shelling is prohibited. The difference between this beach and the shelled beaches is astounding…you can nearly visibly see the difference in the sand’s composition. Beach visitors are surprisingly thorough at removing nearly all sizable pieces of shell on heavily visited beaches!
On to the Pacific! Specifically, Samoa, to the Lost Coast, to Trinidad, and near Orick, California.
I must say, I could have stopped in Utah or Nevada–such beautiful and stark scenery, but the views here are outstanding in other, and greener, ways! We’ve been lucky with the weather so far, but this area *isn’t* where the phrase “sunny California” originated. In fact, the ‘Redwood Curtain’ thrives on all the moisture that falls here, either in the form of rain or dense fog.
It was shocking to us to see waves rolling through one side of the harbor entrance that are large enough to trouble decent-sized boats. We’re still very shy when it comes to the Pacific, not wanting to meet a sneaker wave, but we’ve enjoyed the tide pools, sea stacks, and harbor seals. It still takes my breath away when a wave crashes up a tall sea stack!
An amazing feat seems to be the survival of the tide pool animals. The tides’ schedule here deviates from the Atlantic’s. There is one large and one small high tide, with corresponding low tides, so some animals won’t see water for 18 hours or so. That’s a long time to hold your breath!
Of course, future posts will cover the tide pools and redwoods and banana slugs and I am overly eager to explore more, but this summer I am taking a brief detour to New Hampshire to work a park there, so the scenery of this blog will change yet again…it feels like the middle of everywhere!
Pacific, a set on Flickr.
It seems a little surreal to meet people through social media–like listening to Lady Gaga–but I am so glad that Twitter was there to be the medium through which Beverly and I met! She is such a wonderful, nice person with great stories, knows a lot about photography, wildlife, and Black Friday deals!
We started out on the boardwalk, spotting a wren that kept dashing between the boards and popping back up to see if we had left yet. We heard a ruckus in the cypress swamp and eventually decided that it was a very large flock of robins. Seemed odd for them to be there, but judging by the noise, they either agreed or were having the time of their lives. No alligators this time. The temperature was at or near 70, so it would have been a little cool in the shade for the reptiles anyway, I suppose.
After checking out the boardwalk, we headed towards ‘Alligator Alley’, spotting some grebes, egrets, ibises, terns, and a pair of ladies catching blue crabs [they were good at it!].
Beverly under a towering live oak after sneaking up on some egrets and ibises.
Grebes are amazing to watch–one minute they are there, the next they are submerged with barely a ripple–rivaling the best submarines we’ve got!
Terns are funny to watch, too. They circle around looking for fish, but do so while making a whimpering call. They sound so timid and lost!
We walked on towards ‘Alligator Alley’ and found some other lovely birds. One was an egret hiding in the shadows. I look forward to seeing Beverly’s photos of this bird [I unfortunately set my exposure comp up and shot like that the whole day, I think starting here!]!
As we walked on, we came upon the first large marsh area with a hunting blind set up and plenty of ducks [and coots] to hunt. Luckily and hopefully, no one was there. I have truly never seen so many birds aside from Sandhill Cranes in one spot! They dotted the sky, filled the marsh, and were all so jumpy!
Farther down the path we found a lovely large fellow soaking up the late Fall rays. I assume he wasn’t heated up enough since he sat there the whole time, or perhaps he just knew how large he was!
Then we hit ‘Alligator Alley’ and they were there in force! These were a bit smaller and much more jumpy. I think there were six or seven on the far bank and close to us at least one splashed–less than ten feet away! It’s a gauntlet of gators and it’s where we turned around.
On the walk back, we spotted perhaps the same egret and the same grebes, but the ladies catching crabs had left.
It was such a fun day with such wonderful company–I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend the day!
[I learned about spot metering from Beverly…but it’s that ornery exposure comp that got me!]
It’s almost pure science! Skies with a few clouds make beautiful sunsets, and the mid- and high-level clouds are especially helpful. Read all about Sunsets here, photo examples included: http://www.spc.noaa.gov/publications/corfidi/sunset/
I’m currently working on the Berlin trip post, so until then, enjoy these!
Palmetto Islands County Park, one of the jewels of the Charleston County Park system! Photo taken from an observation tower.