Friday, June 12, 2020

Ocean Tides

Not social distancing.  The CDC recommends wearing a mask if you decide to get that close:)  
As the desert heat overtook Tucson, we made an escape to the much cooler California coast. 

Black Oystercatcher
We found some open and lovely spaces to keep away from the crowds. And when we encountered groups of people, we wore our masks. 

It was a much needed mental break from the day-to-day routine. It was also great to see that in many parts of Southern California that 90 percent of the people wore facial masks and observed social distancing.  It wasn't until we got closer to the Orange County border that we noticed more people not wearing them.  La Jolla was a great example of people NOT wearing masks or observing the 6 foot rule. 

I love it when people paint on the beach.  So nice to see. 
We sat in our chairs and watched the waves crash against the shore.  As the tide began to rise, the cold waters began to erase the footprints on the sand.  The waves hit the ending beach point of the nearby estuary.  Ocean waters rushed into the salt marsh with great vigor forcing the inland river to rise. Slowly the sand eroded around us and the beach disappeared. 

The Snowy Egret has yellow feet
Hundreds of terns flew over the "sweet spot" where the river and ocean met.  There, they collected tiny fish from the waters. 

California Sea Lions
The sun filtered through the clouds.  And often the clouds won their gray battles. 

the beaches of Torrey Pines
It was during that night of the ocean tides entering the salt marsh that I noticed a pair of Gull-billed Terns hunt over the tidal rivers of the marsh.  At one point, I saw a bird collecting nesting material. 

My only 2020 lifer so far, the Gull-billed Tern!
This has been such a strange year.  We have a fire on our mountain in Tucson. Then there's the George Floyd protests amid the rising number of covid cases in AZ.  And then my summer job was cancelled.  No summer school.  We don't even know how school will start up with the cases on the rise again.  My Panama trip was cancelled yet airlines want everyone to get back on a plane like it's okay when clearly it's not. There's a lot of mixed messaging happening. We talk about all lives having value and yet we are allowing our elderly to die at elevated rates over money. Basically, we're all on our own even when they annoyingly say, "We're all in this together." No we are not.  So watching terns at an estuary was a welcome mental retreat.  

California ground squirrel
You can see people wanting to get back to normal.  California state closed the parking lots to national and state parks making access to the beaches almost impossible.  I know little tricks to avoid the public craziness, but even I had challenges on this adventure. We figured it all out and had a great time. 

Snowy Plover
Snowy Plovers were in good numbers as were terns and other shorebirds.  It was a lot of fun doing some ocean birding and getting out of the Arizona heat.  I actually felt a spark of excitement on this trip after observing the tern.  The road is calling for me again.  In the next post, I'll cover ID points for terns and some other fun observations. 

Our first day on the beach was a welcome moment.  Like a mental sigh of relief. I didn't realize how much stress I have been carrying inside of me. Ocean breezes, cooler temps, awesome birds and lots of people watching.  Life finds a way to go on even during a pandemic.  Until next time....


  1. Your posts reflect so much of what I am feeling right now too. I am glad you are finding some escape. I have yet to see a way to get out without endangering myself, but mainly my husband who is older than I. Just floating along, hoping this will end, may lead to letting too much time just fly by. Scary.

    1. It's difficult. I find myself happiest in my car where I know it's safe. And when I'm not there, I'm at home wishing I were elsewhere but know it's not the time, especially now with cases on the rise. Every day is one big nightmare of a blur. I miss teaching my kids. I miss the travel. But you take lemons and make it into lemonade and do the best you can.

  2. Sounds like a lovely break. Sorry to hear Covid is rearing it's ugly head again. All we can do are enjoy those special moments and hang out and wait.

    1. Agreed! When you're not of the public consensus and their thinking, you just sit back and have to watch it all play out. You knew it would happen but there was nothing you could do to stop it. Society has to figure this one out and pay the price. I just stay out of their way and get work done around our place. I am enjoying that part.

  3. So pleased you got away for what sounds a lovely break. Your photos are lovely. We can't stay nights away from home at the moment over here. Lockdown is easing though and today many non-essential shops are opening (I won't be going though!!). Take care.

    1. It was a nice break. I wish things were stricter here with people. We know it's serious and therefore we stay away from most dirty Americans and keep wearing our masks. San Diego was great though. Everyone was responsible. And it varies from place to place. I think we should mandate EVERYONE wear a mask if you enter a business. Unbelievable how stupid some people have been acting here. You're smart! My friend in this post is English and we just shake our heads. I hate the US right now. Just look at our wonderful covid numbers across the country. Lots of stupidity. So we have to be smart and let them all get sick. But we have to stay away from them:) I'm looking forward to November.


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