Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Searching For A Dim And Distant Shore

Allen's Hummingbirds are among the most hyperactive birds in the west, so I was surprised this one had the patience to hang out in one spot for a while and enjoy the rain. Oddly, he doesn't want anything to do with people (especially people with cameras) when the sun is out. Photographed in Ventura, CA.

We have new roommates. The cold and wet weather have driven mice into our house, which is very aggravating. There's nothing like watching a tiny mouse bound around your room like some kind of coked-up pokemon character, and you know there's nothing you can do about it other than set a trap and break its back, or at least do some serious unintended maiming. It's already gotten into my food and left little pooplets for me to see on my kitchen counter. Thanks, mouse. It is also extremely loud for some reason, and its easy to hear it rummaging around amongst my things. It invokes bad memories. 

To be fair, living with wild animals indoors usually doesn't bum me out. I've been visited, or plain lived with, everything from geckos to a Parakeet Auklet to a ringtail cat. And in the scheme of things, you can do a lot worse than mice. For example, they are not as bad as the giant, super-venomous giant centipedes of Midway Atoll, nor are they as bad as rats.  Rats.......they send shivers down my spine. If you don't know my history with rats, do yourself a big favor and catch up on the story of Barnaby The Rat, my old and much-hated roommate in Arcata.

So lets see, I've got salamanders, raccoons and mice breaking into my room. What's next? Squirrels? The Mission Squirrel-Man?

Duke Ensatina, Poisoner Of Raccoons, Master of Moisture, Lord Of My Back Yard. Found clinging to my screen door. San Francisco, CA.

This studly Cinnamon Teal has almost finished his molt and is gearing up for some intense courtship over the winter. The teal hens won't know what hit them. Redwood Shores, CA.

The City was basking in sunlight yesterday, so I was obliged to bird it. I've been feeling cold-blooded lately (not in a murdery way, a sluggish way). In keeping with the spirit of El Año Tranquilo, I made sure to not go out of too far out of my way for any rare birds (that's not going to last very long), and was obliged by not finding any. But Yellow Warblers, White-fronted Geese and White-winged Scoters are all decent City birds. Today was a different story though....

For the record, I want to say that The Forgetters' "The Night Accelerates" has grabbed me like no other song in months. Their EP is a must-have for any Jawbreaker fan. Looking forward to seeing them at Bottom Of The Hill at the end of the month. 

This Northern Shoveler was shy. Probably self conscious of his massive bill. Redwood Shores, CA.


  1. That hummer shot is amazing (crazy detail and conformation)! And same re: shoveler. If I was a duck I'd wanna either look like or marry a cinnamon teal--the MOST delectable color EVER.

  2. I dont know if I would marry a drake cinnamon...I have a traumatic memory of seeing a pair mating...they are not gentle lovers.