Sunday, February 26, 2012

Staycation


With a short drive to the Pacific Ocean, I had a relaxing and picturesque day at Moss Landing Beach and Elk Horn Slough with the kids during their vacation week.  The lighting at the beach always seems to be right and the contrasting elements of white surf and darker sands sets up so well for photography.


The waves kept coming and Ella asked, "Why are there waves at the beach?"
"Well," I said, "It's because of the moon pulling on the ocean water with its gravity."

Once we were settled in the perfect spot, Ella got right to work digging random holes in the sand.

A good kind of kid fun with shovels and sand in February.  It's a warm winter in California this year.  This summer will probably be torturous with heat and drought.


Leaving my dreadful thoughts of impending summer doom to be blown away by ocean breezes, I watched the sanderlings dash back and forth along the shoreline seeking small crustaceans and snail like critters in the sand.


As the tide receded the feeding frenzy began.  I was lucky a group stopped right in front of us to work on this section of shoreline habitat.  With my long lens on I got some interesting pictures of these little birds in action.


The small flocks foraged along the beach front while my kids played against the dunes behind me.  Everyone was entertained.

An occasional stranger was welcome among their midst.  This curlew was swept away, down the beach with the little birds as they dashed from some invisible threats within the waves.  I think I heard him squawk, "If they're running, I'd better be running too!"


Wyatt the builder was about constructing a small fortress with drift wood and seaweed.

He was able to recruit Ella to harvest dead sticks in the dunes and I watched them gallop back and forth on the low hill behind me.  I reminded them, "Pick out only stuff that is dead already!"

And Ella was observed taking a moment to draw letters in the sand.


Wyatt had no problem building a metropolis with little bits of this and that.




We packed up after about and hour and a half since we had been out canoeing in Elk Horn Slough for the hour and a half before beach time.  On the way back out to the road we stopped and watched the sea otters for a time.  They come into the protected and more quiet waters of the slough during the day and sleep in rafts.  They are sure cute in action, but I found they are not so easy to capture well on my camera.  They just look like a furry mess! 


And as we were ready to depart, a white crown sparrow popped out of the bushes to wish us good bye.  But upon reflection of his aggressive chirping tone I almost think he was saying, "GO HOME!"  And so we did . . .