Friday, January 1, 2016

An Eeping Elk, and Other Holiday-time Sights

My sister came to visit for Christmas (yay!), and Paul and I got to show her all the awesome things about Northern California. There were rainy hikes (and later, hikes with sunshine!), trips to the beach, a sunset over the Pacific Ocean, and lots and lots of food. :D I didn't take many pictures during this awesome and relaxing family time, but I do want to share some of the cool creatures we met while exploring.

In Redwood National and State Parks, we drove slowly past a herd of Elk browsing next to the road. How nice of these Elk to pose with their statue (note also the wonderfully fuzzy trees in the background):

One young Elk was very vocal, which was a cool surprise. (We thought surely the sound was coming from a bird... until this big mammal showed us otherwise.) I'm not sure what all this Elk's "eep"-ing meant, but I'm hoping it was more of a chatty communication with the rest of the herd than a pitiful cry. Either way, the second Elk in the above picture didn't seem to have much patience for the young Elk; it got a little kick as they moved on:

A couple of days later, from the trail on Trinidad Head, we watched the ocean and were rewarded with a glimpse of a migrating whale (or maybe two) in the distance:

A whale! See it? (Right there!) I'm not exactly sure of the species, but it's most likely a Gray Whale, since they migrate south in big numbers down the coast around this time. I've been very much hoping to see a whale while we're living here, so I'll take it!

A couple of Wrentits (not a wren... not a tit... it's a Wrentit!) briefly showed themselves in between long foraging sessions deep in the bushes:

These birds are apparently very good at skulking, and I was happy to get to see their funny round bodies and little beaks. This Wrentit was after some dangling red berries:

I had actually had another brief encounter with a Wrentit a few days earlier while walking near the dunes. Hello funny bird!

A handsome Hermit Thrush was dashing around an open area at the top of Trinidad Head, pausing every few feet to stand up tall and survey the ground for morsels:

The Hermit Thrush seemed to be having a successful hunt, and I was happy to admire its wonderfully dappled chest and its rusty tail:

At the shore, a trio of Black Oystercatchers were foraging in the waves:

Oystercatchers are such strange-looking birds, and after getting to know American Oystercatchers during my time in Connecticut, I'm glad I got to meet this western species:

It was so wonderful to be able to explore with my family around the holidays. The past few months have been very busy, and I haven't been able to get outside nearly as much as I would like. But I am looking forward to a whole set of new adventures and opportunities in the new year. Hello, 2016!


  1. Very interesting and great pictures! You really should post more often so we can enjoy it!

    1. Thank you, and I'm glad you enjoyed these sights! Hopefully time will be more on my side in the upcoming moths and I'll get to post more frequently....