We made it to the beach this week to see the hole in this rock at Natural Bridges State Park near Santa Cruz, California. Seriously, I was not so impressed with this doughnut in the sandstone for some reason. What do you think?
I did like seeing the comradeship shown by the three birds sitting on the bare rock. I love that in the animal world there is none of the fighting over land like we humans seem to find necessary. This brown pelican, cormorant and seagull can all share and the world is still spinning on it's axis.
The heavy bomber-like bodies of the brown pelicans gliding over the shoreline brought no threat of confrontation. Just peaceful thoughts and noises.
And, the sounds of children digging in the sand were barely audible over the churning of the waves against the land.
The strands of seaweed provided botany education for Ella. She wanted to know what the bladders were at the end of the strands. The little balloon-like pods filled with air allow the seaweed to float in the ocean providing buoyancy in the surf.
Then we walked away from the shoreline to visit a grove of eucalyptus trees.
These non-native invasive plant species have taken over acres of land in California. But amazingly something good happened along the way.
There is something in this tree. Can you see it???? Look very closely before scrolling down.
Did you find them? Here's a hint: They float through the air like liquid butter.
Monarchs! Thousands of monarch butterflies winter in the eucalyptus trees at this beach. This particular grove of trees is slightly sheltered by the shallow drainage they occur in which provides protection from the wind.
Here is a mature eucalyptus being climbed by English ivy (another non-native WEED). However, the monarchs actually feed on the ivy nectar. But the ivy will eventually kill the eucalyptus trees.
The monarchs gather in clusters on dangling branches in the mid canopy of these trees. They sleep in groups for warmth until spring comes and they fly away to lay eggs on milkweeds plants throughout the coast and inland. Then they die. Their whole life cycle is about six to eight months.
Finally, do you know what this picture shows below? I will follow up with the answer next time.
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