Help! I hate to be all movie-of-the-week worried about the ducklings growing up in the ever-shrinking and increasingly scummy pond here in the Cove, but I visited them yesterday and things look iffy.
You can see why the ducks mated and nested here - the pond looked fine at first. But the tides have been low so no new water is coming in, and what's left has turned stagnant. The water is vanishing, seeping into the sand, I suppose, and evaporating. It's a strange, dark color, and has grown a greenish scum on top.
The ducks, meanwhile, sit on a rusty metal box most of the day. No swimming at all. So how long until the ducklings can leave this place? Are they going to make it? Our LA Observed email isn't working at the moment, so if you really do know about birds, you can reach me at " vdt90265 [at] yahoo dot com ".
Yeah, the photo's a little flat and everything's far away, but that dark line on the water just behind the trawler, that's the portable shark tank. The Monterey Bay Aquarium shark researchers returned this weekend and the tank - they're still setting it up - appeared this morning.
Kind of hard to see - I'll get a better shot this weekend - but we now have a small flotilla of ducklings living in the creek.
One of my reptile neighbors up at the barn, enjoying a moment on the sun-warmed metal of the mower.
We live at the edge of the continent here in Paradise Cove. Our street ends at the bluff and from there it's a sheer drop to the Pacific below. Some mornings, you can see all the way to downtown. Others, a wall of fog creeps up the cliff, seeps down the streets, mutes light and sound.
These days, in this fretful, restless heat-soaked spring, you never know what wildlife you'll see. Coyotes panting in the grass, great white egrets dancing on the roof, a trio of ducks on the deck, working out the two-boys one-girl mating math. And now, a dozen double-crested cormorants roosting in a eucalyptus tree. (As usual, thank you to Bill Schmoker for the ID)
You have to stand still for a good, long time to see them all, but bit by bit, with a flap and a rustle and a sigh, they reveal themselves. This one took off just a second after I focused the camera, flew so close I felt the breeze from its wings.
Lots of flying to and fro, loud clucking and cackling (which actually sounds more like gackling) and the occasional snowy feather drifting down. Can't wait to see the chicks.
So hot here yesterday - thermometers hit the high 80s all over the Cove. Not too bad so far today, though there's the kind of hush among the birds that often precedes a scorcher.
We've had a pod of dolphins hanging around the Cove for about a week now, gliding slowly through the kelp beds where a lot of fish live. At dawn they come so close to shore, you can hear them splashing. They'll head up to Point Dume and down to the Malibu pier, but mostly they linger here.
Today, for the first time, we saw these babies, little dorsal fins breaking the surface, tiny bodies popping out of the sea. The adults move slowly, keep the small fry in the middle, keep the dolphin cycle going for another year.
We're often the only ones on the path at dawn, the running, snuffling dogs telling me all about where the coyotes were last night, the stooping, singing birds telling everyone where the hawk is perched right now. It was a breath of wind that gave this bit of important news, turned up a leaf to reveal clustered droplets left behind by morning mist.
There's a tree-filled arroyo next to the beach path. A creek runs through it and on spring and summer nights, about a million frogs audition lustily for a chance at a one-night stand.
Right now the whole thing is rimmed with wild mustard, and every time the dogs dash down into the depths on a Very Important Mission that has to do with national security and coyote poop, they come back covered in yellow.
On Maisie it looks just right, a sweet sprinkling of blossoms, like maybe she's the prom queen. And Jake somehow overcomes the fey factor, muscles through and manages to look handsome with a dab of mustard on his noble head.
Why, you ask? (She asks, too - just look at the face.)
Thank goodness that one of my least-favorite errands (Home Depot) takes me on one of the prettiest drives in California - up Pacific Coast Highway north of Malibu. It's how you get to Las Posas Road, which is how you get to a truly depressing spread of big box development.
But before you arrive, there's a wide and wild stretch of untouched coast, all windblown, wind-tossed shades of blue. It's California how it used to be, and now I'm thinking I should be showing you pix of that instead of this this field of artichokes. But the field was so strange, both sides of the highway, artichokes as far as the eye can see. And when you get out of the car, the humming of thousands of bees.
This full page ad ran in my Sunday New York Times, but nowhere in my LAT. They can make those brushes as clunky and chunky and manly as they want but baby, it's still blush.
On Friday we had a shot of Maisie, in action but out of focus. Today, she's crisp and clear and standing still. Which doesn't mean there wasn't any action. Can you see that tongue? (Can you miss it?) It bobs as she pants, her eyes gleam, her haunches tense as, the instant the shutter clicks, she's off and running. Her legs may be unnaturally short, but she is unexpectedly fast.
Oh how I wish this photo was in focus, the little dog flying through the air, those legs, those ears, the perfect vertical she forms against the earth. She caught the ball much more handily than I caught the shot.
This isn't the shot I planned to post but my capricious computer has suddenly, of its own volition, started using Photoshop to upload and archive my pix, and though I'm told it's a wonderful program, I find it utterly impenetrable and now can't find anything when I want it, so here's a sunrise moment, if not the sunrise moment I had originally wanted to share.