Toad in the Hole April 2004 Archives

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April 27, 2004

Chimney Rock

Since we've passed the official whale season, when you can't just drive out to Point Reyes Lighthouse or Chimney Rock but have to mess around with a shuttlebus, and since we hated the idea of missing the whole wildflower season there, we dragged ourselves out yesterday. Good thing, too.

Iris and blue-eyed grass seemed most plentiful, with linanthus and goldfields and that funny Calochortus tolmei and paintbrush, several lupines, still a little of the white wallflower, mule ears, um, um... flowers galore, anyway.

Man, it was hot, even right there on the ocean, barely a breeze. A couple more of the old Monterey cypresses near the ranger's residence were down or splintered. It's hard to see them go, whether they're supposed to be there or not, mostly because they're refugia for the lost landbirds and the resident owls. There was a Eurasian goldfinch hanging out there last fall with the local goldfinches. Jumpy, aggressive little bugger, as I recall.

Someone was seeing whales -- someone claimed to have a blue. Never caught up with those, but the elephant seals were still on that beach just south of The Willows (this is birder jargon, sorry) and a handful more were snoozing on one of the little beaches under the cliffs that the path skirts. I believe we're seeing a range increase here.

There were Pacific loons migrating north, all slim and elegant flying over the point; a couple of common loons all dressed up for breeding; a red-necked grebe in breeding plumage, an outfit we hadn't seen since, probably, 1980 in the Midwest.

And one of those crises of, well, credibility rather than conscience: There was a kingbird on the wire by the parking lot. "Have you ever seen a kingbird here before?" asked Joe. Come to think of it, no. And a kingbird with no white at all on its tail, in April, among other oddities, and a soft, non-nasal, non-harsh muttered song.

A tropical kingbird. Now this was worth calling in to the hotline.

However, it moved up the wire (giving us a good look; still no white on the tailfeathers) and chased... an identical bird. TWO tropical kingbirds. Riiiiight.

So they didn't get reported, though we're both sure of what we saw and heard. Sometimes it just isn't worth the cross-examination.

Nice birds, though, and we hadn't seen those in a few years either.

Posted at 03:43 AM | Comments (2)

April 26, 2004

Domestic Forensics

So Joe made breakfast this morning, working around the fact that we were out of milk among other things. He came up with eggs, waffles with date butter, and grapefruit. The grapefruit was oddly warm for something that had been in the fridge. The OJ was OK, though. I fretted about the fridge and sat down to finish my coffee and scan email.

While Joe was in the shower I opened the fridge. No light. Uh-oh. I asked him if he'd notice that the light wasn't going on -- figuring, of course, that therefore the fridge was dead.

He told me he'd taped the fridge light switch down, because he'd decided that the problem was that the light wasn't going off when the door closed. (He was right. There was a bag of lemon pasta on the top shelf, just ubnder the light, that had been sort of partly cooked on top, and the fridge was running when I went back to it.)

OK, it's a classic problem that can't be solved by direct observation. How do you know the light goes off when you close the fridge door?

As happens, he'd noticed that the cover on the light was hot when he first opened the door. The cooked pasta just confirmed it. Duct tape fixed it.

Then we drove out to Chimney Rock on Point Reyes and saw two tropical kingbirds, among other things. I'll list those in the next thrilling chapter.

Posted at 03:07 AM | Comments (0)