Morro Bay Heron Rookery

I have made a new friend at the Heron Rookery and it is a Black-Crowned Night Heron. He is quite comfortable around me and as long as I don’t intrude on his space, he poses so elegantly and goes about the business of hunting and standing on his perch without fear. Night Herons are notoriously shy, so I feel quite amazed that he is as tolerant of me as he is. I am reminded of my relationship with Sweet Pea, a Costa’s Hummingbird that I have known for years in the desert. I get up early most mornings and head over to the rookery or the marina for a couple of hours of photography, and then I return to the RV for photo editing while Michael focuses on his research papers. We both enjoy life in our cozy 24ft RV and the setting is conducive to uninterrupted quality time to focus on our passions that we work on side by side for hours at a time.

Morro Bay has managed to coexist with wildlife and it is rather unique if you ask me. Many of the eucalyptus trees that line Main Street are filled with Black-Crowned Night Herons, and to turn the other cheek when it comes to the massive amounts of bird poop that falls below is the exception to the rule. When you park your car here, if you see a white discoloration all over the sidewalk, find another space to park your car or you will have poop on it too. Most cities would find a way to scare the birds away in favor of people, and it does my heart good to see the tables turned with animal nesting sites instead of the other way around. We have encroached so much on wildlife habitat that they have been forced to nest within city limits, but a balanced approach is necessary. The herons are very messy, so I do hope that they don’t over stay their welcome and force the city to evict them.

Michael and I also bike over to a look-out south of Morro Bay towards Cayucos every day for exercise and Callie is back walking on a leash because she became too bold when left to her own devices. She has rough and tumble playtime every day and her asthma is controlled again with a chicken-free diet and prednisone cream that is applied to the inner ear flap. We will be here until the end of the month and head north to Monterey for a month after that.

Happy Father’s Day to all the men out there who have raised or who are raising children. It can be a difficult but rewarding job, and a very important one too. Our society seems to be tearing apart at the seams, but hopefully we can vote Trump out of office and bring civility back to the United States. Vote Blue in November as if your life depends on it.

Believe in the Black Lives Matter movement; racism needs to be addressed and stamped out once and for all. BLACK LIVES MATTER!

Great Blue Heron
Heron Rookery
Great Egret siblings battling out dominance
Black-Crowned Night Heron
Great Blue Heron
My friend!
Black-Crowned Night Heron
A room with a view!
A game of cat and mouse!
Sweet Pea
Morro Bay lookout!

In the Doghouse!

I am shocked to inform my readers that Callie was brave enough to walk clear across to the other side of the RV Park and was sitting under a parked car in the street when a good neighbor by the name of Kathy recognized her and shooed her back home. Needless to say, Callie has lost her privileges to run free and must now be walked on a leash again. It was fun while it lasted and I am grateful she was discovered before something tragic happened to her. Cats are notorious for getting into trouble and Callie is no different. She is pretty street savvy though from her early years in Redlands. California, but I am not taking any more chances.

On another happy note, the photography opportunities have been awesome here in Morro Bay and just about every day I have managed to capture a baby Sea Otter and it’s mother, Osprey, Snowy Egrets, Black-Crowned Night Herons, Great Herons and Great Blue Herons, Red Shouldered Hawks, and many more. I feel very fortunate to be able to stay here for 3 more weeks because of how well the wildlife coexists with humans. We head to Monterey July 1st.

Full Moon setting behind Morro Bay Rock, an extinct volcano plug.

A Hitch in her Giddy-Up

Callie has been given the somewhat grave responsibility of being able to explore her surroundings outside free and unattended while staying at Cypress RV Park in Morro Bay, California. I realize that many people believe that cats should not be allowed to run free outside because of the danger they pose to themselves and to wildlife, and I totally get it, but I do let Callie roam a bit while parked in a safe and enclosed RV Park that she is familiar with, and I keep the door and a window open and check on her frequently. She usually stays within sight of the RV and if I don’t see her after a short time, I whistle and she comes running.

The other day I was aware that she had been gone for a while so I went out and checked on her and whistled and whistled and she was nowhere to be found. I stood outside and whistled some more and finally, she darted out from a parked truck one site over and she was being chased by a noisy cowbird that was swooping down and pecking at her as she ran as fast as she could toward me. Callie had to run across loose, medium size gravel and an old shoulder injury made it difficult for her to get to me fast enough. As she limped along at a pathetic lope, and with the bird hot on her tail, the term, “a hitch in her giddy-up” came to mind. No wonder she hadn’t come back home any earlier, she needed me to protect her from the bird that was harassing her and she was waiting for my back-up before she headed back to the safety of the RV.

It was quite the hilarious scene witnessing her being tormented by a bird and I think she viewed the whole experience with a mixture of fear and trepidation. Her desire to go exploring seems to have faded because now she parks her rear end next to the picnic table in our site and keeps a wary eye out for those pesky birds.

Chilling in the RV

Sheltering in Place

We have finally escaped the desert heat once again and this time because of COVID-19, we are sheltering in place in Morro Bay. Cypress RV Park had accepted our reservation before the pandemic hit and honored it as long as we stayed put for a couple of months. The public restroom facilities are all closed up and we are fully contained in our CLASS C RV and only go out for bike rides, photo opportunities, and grocery shopping.

Callie has been given permission to explore freely outside for short periods of time because we are nestled way far back in the park with no one next to us. The streets that border the park are quiet and there are very few cars. She is having a blast and loves sitting out in the sun with a cool marine breeze washing over her.

I have been taking lots of sea otter photos and the bird life here is especially rewarding. There is a female Peregrine Falcon named Sierra that has 3 chicks high up on Morro Rock and Great Blue Herons and Snowy Egrets are everywhere. I even captured a Common Loon that looks like it has bright white polka dots on his back feathers.

The virus crisis is far from over, and the lack of testing while opening up the country is a foolish and irresponsible move. I can only hope that most of you readers follow the science and support our first responders and health care workers by continuing to social distance yourself and wear a mask while inside buildings. Stay safe and healthy everyone. We will be enjoying Morro Bay for at least several months and I look forward to sharing lots of photos with you.

Common Loon
Mother otter and pup
Snowy Egrets
Great Blue Heron
Morro Bay
A mother otter trying to rest with a rambunctious pup.
Big Sur
My little helper!

Morro Bay

Morro Bay is probably without a doubt my favorite place to visit. I love that there is still ample wildlife and the RV Park is ideally situated for walking or biking down to the marina. The foghorn is a delight to hear and the sounds of harbor seals barking and seagulls arguing makes me smile. Today I photographed Sea Otters and Snowy Egrets and had a blast. Michael cleaned up the Tracker and the outside of our RV and I cleaned the inside yesterday. We had a BBQ last night and Michael grilled fresh halibut. Callie is getting in a couple of walks a day and there is plenty of sunshine and fresh salty air to go around. We will be leaving for Encinitas on Tuesday.

Returning South

Callie, Michael and I are returning south again after a 6-day stay at Carmel by the River RV Park in Carmel. It was a splurge and quite pricey but the grounds are beautiful and the resort well situated off the beaten path. I was able to do a lot of photography and we biked every day and visited Big Sur one day. There is construction on Highway 1 which backed traffic up for about a 30-minute delay, but there is nothing like the drive along this rugged coastline.

We are staying at Cypress RV Park now in Morro Bay and I highly recommend it. The grounds are clean and the bathrooms immaculate. The owners are friendly and Callie is able to walk around on a leash and check out the other sites. There should be ample opportunity for photographing otters and herons in the bay and I am excited about that.

Toys R Us

I have been feeling rather guilty about packing so few toys for Callie on our RV trips, so I decided to invest in a few more after taking Callie to our vet. Dr. Stephens is here in Morro Bay, and is a wonderful vet and was able to finally give Callie a diagnosis of asthma about 9 months ago. She had a bad cough for over a year and was treated for viral pneumonia for months but a cough would always return after the antibiotic was finished. We are now convinced it is asthma and not the other and every once in awhile we apply a steroid cream to the ear flap if she starts to cough.

We took her to the vet this morning because she also has a chronic itchy ear condition that won’t go away. She shakes her head and scratches at her ears and I believe it contributes to her cough when she gets a tickle in her throat. Dr. Stephens thinks it may be food allergies and put her on Science Diet- Venison and Peas. She can’t have any other food because the chicken I have been preparing for her along with Science Diet Oral Care contains chicken and chicken is a known allergen. Go figure!

On the way back from the vet, we dropped by Albertson’s to buy groceries and I picked out a couple of new toys for Callie to play with. When we returned from the vet and shopping, I wore her out with snapping a wand toy on a ribbon at her, and she played with two fur balls with feathers attached to them for about 15 minutes.

She is now sound asleep after a serving of venison and peas and a round of rough and tumble playtime.

A Story Worth Telling

I mistakingly called the crow a raven in an earlier post, but I have since learned that he or she is a crow. This particular crow is so big that surely it must be a raven, but no, crows have just grown bigger in size and weight since my childhood years. I used to live by the Santa Ana River bottom in a city aptly called, Riverside, and there was a large garbage dump alongside of it. In my youth, my sisters and I boarded horses at this mostly dry riverbed, and the murder of crows would darken the sky as they flew past us in large numbers, always heading east in the morning and west at sunset. Those crows were not nearly as large as the ones living here in Morro Bay. I also remember huge flocks of seagulls scavenging at the dump. What a memory jog! They too would fill the sky with the sound of screeching and wings flapping as they fought over scraps of garbage and debris.

The neighbor across the street, who I had a chance to speak to about this matter, feeds the crow a slice of bread or sandwich meat a couple of times a day while the crow hangs out on the telephone wire and caws a friendly greeting to him. But the seagull who has joined the crow is an opportunistic feeder and the man must discourage the relationship now because he or she is a Shit Hawk, as my salty sailor of a brother calls them, and his neighbors have complained about all of the poop. So the seagull is no longer welcome here, but the crow still is, making it difficult for the seagull to give up hope of ever acquiring another free meal.

This morning while Callie sat on the dash of the RV, she was able to watch the man shoo the seagull away and throw the slice of bread high up in the air for the crow to catch. The crow snatched the bread midflight and then flew away, delighted with his breakfast. Yesterday afternoon, the seagull happened to nab a slice of meat before the crow was able to grab it, and then landed on the street, quite smugly, to eat the stolen food. But the very smart crow was not to be discouraged and dove down one more time and snatched it back, and rightfully so, from the unsuspecting Shit Hawk’s beak!

I think that the crow is smarter than the seagull, but the two have met their match and it is an ongoing saga, with the drama unfolding on a daily basis, that makes it worthy of a story worth telling. They both hang out across the street from where the RV is parked, with the crow on the wire and the seagull on the telephone post or pacing nervously on the ground down below. Sometimes they have friends that join them and they all compete for a chance to grab a free snack. Callie loves being entertained by it all and watches the scene unfold on the dash in real-time only, as she places a silent bet on who will be the next one to take the prize.

Homeward Stretch

We are returning south to Anza- Borrego Desert State Park on Friday and will stay in Morro Bay for a couple of nights before heading to Malibu. Lara, our daughter has a job interview with Interpret LLC on Friday and we thought it best to fit it in on the way back instead of having her drive back to Los Angeles. She met the president of the company when she was at the GDC18 in San Fransisco and will now get an interview with his company. He checked out her resume when they met with her friend, Laura, and found it very interesting. Lara is fluent in Japanese and moderately so in Mandarin and we think that and her math and computer skills along with music and art put her in good standing for this marketing firm.

The drive from Pillar Point to Morro Bay was spectacular and the North and Central California coastline are experiencing a super-bloom. We walked down to the marina last night and checked out the herons that fish along the rocky shore and on the dockside and watched the sunset. Callie loves it here and sits by her personal heater in order to stay warm. We always walk down to the rock and bike over toward Cayucos. It is bright and sunny out but very chilly. There is a warming trend developing and no rain in sight. What a wonderful couple of weeks we have had.

Meet Austin from Texas

As many of you who have been reading my blog posts on Callie the cat, you know that she hates other cats, that is except the mystery cat that I have dubbed “Romeo!” So cats can’t walk into her line of vision or she screams in fear and outrage, but if a dog drops by, she can’t wait to greet it. I don’t know whether she was raised with dogs as a kitten, I adopted her as a stray at approximately 3 years of age, or whatever, but she lights up at the image of a dog coming her way. She especially likes dogs that have already been introduced to cats and knows their evil ways, because she will raise up her paw ever so slightly just to see if she can get a rise out of the dog.

Austin and his owner came around the corner to go for a walk and the elderly, senior dog, Austin had his leash in his mouth as he quietly ambled along. When he spotted Callie sitting up high and mighty on top of the picnic table, he dropped his leash and attempted to back out of the confining corner and return to where he had come from. He didn’t want to walk past Callie and to make her mad and was acting quite deferential. The owner, whose name I didn’t catch, of course, went back to get Austin and they were then introduced with a quick touch of the nose. I didn’t have my camera ready and was as surprised as Austin when Callie ever so slightly raised up her paw. Austin jerked his head back right away and Callie delighted in his frightened response.

After that, Austin refused to make any more eye contact with her and kept a safe distance alongside his owner’s legs. But Callie, on the other hand, couldn’t get enough of this handsome hunk and she was begging him to come just a little closer for her to get another look. He would have nothing more to do with her though. One shot at it was all that Callie was going to be rewarded, and she blew it. She lost her chance to touch noses again with this beautiful golden lab from Texas.