Sunday, August 30, 2009

Just wanted to share some pictures of my friends. First is a Spiny Tailed Iguana, then a Hooded Oriole, blossoms on a Pitaya Cactus and a Jewel Moray (not my pic) that I mentioned a few posts back.

Big hurricane coming Tuesday. Right now it's heading directly our way and is a category 4 and supposed to be a 5 by the time it hits Cabo. We should get some action from it here also, especially if it turns east and heads up the Sea of Cortez...then it's going to be a ride. It may yet head out further into The Pacific and not effect us much at all....I'm sure there are a lot of folks hoping for that!

As I sit writing this now it is 4:00 pm Monday and I can feel the edge of the hurricane. Nothing tangible, oh heavy, dark cloud buildup, but no great wind or rain yet. I will try to get some pictures but again my lens is not meant for wide scenic shots.

The trailer is "ship shape" and I have my stores in, so........ta da.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I'm going native! Had fantasies of "Night of the Iguana" last night, alas no Ava Gardner. The little palapa in one picture is where I start my swimming laps. You can see the path thru the rocks used to get to deeper water. The other shot is of yet another of nature's passing art works.

We are all still waiting for the rains to begin. Every day the word is, “Otra vez es muy calor y no lluvia” (very hot again and no rain). Pretty much every afternoon we have wonderful dark thunderheads just a few miles to the west of us enshrouding the mountain tops but they never quite reach us. I enjoy sitting in the late afternoon under the palapa and marveling at these great expanses of water rising in the air and the “thunderous” dynamics of it all (lightening has always fascinated me, especially in the desert where there is little to no danger of fire). Fortunately the town does have a sufficient water supply so no one is endangered by the lack of rain as yet. The desert waits.

I have found that the pair of Ospreys (they mate for life) that have lived in our area for as long as I have been coming here begin their evenings hunt around 3:30 pm and continue (depending on success) until around 6:00 pm. That is about the time I go next door to do my evenings online stuff and where I sit outside is exactly where the Ospreys hunt. Needless to say I am often distracted from my writing. I will take my camera with me next time and see if I can get a good picture. They are truly one of the most magnificent birds on our planet.

The other day I watched one of my Cactus Wrens in a tussle with one of my Grey Thrashers over the rights to a Cerruelo plum. They really went at it for about 10 seconds and then parted, no apparent damage done even though both birds have formidable beaks.

I was stung again by a scorpion the other night….in my bed! I was asleep and woke to something crawling on my thigh so I swatted it as usual and was rewarded with the very obvious sting of a scorpion on my hand. Then I brushed it off but got stung on my thigh in the process. I jumped out of bed, turned on the light and there it was. I grabbed some tissue and smushed it (it was a small scorpion). I now wear shorts to sleep! Hurt for about 10 hrs and then gone but boy do they pack a wallop.

No Sea action in awhile but plan to go kayaking in the next few days.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

This crop circle turned up in England at the beginning of the month

Why is it here on my blog? Perhaps because I see in these amazing works a power of good that is badly needed on our planet at this time. So be it, eh?

I have developed an ear infection from that dive I made some weeks back. Nothing serious but the doc told me yesterday that I have to stay out of the water for a week....yeow! On top of that he also noticed a small lesion on my forearm and thinks it may be basil cell carcinoma. Not surprising with all the sun I get. I may go in for a biopsy and excision if it doesn't improve in the next week. So it appears that my years health chalenges are not quite over. I am beginning to feel like one of those "older folks" characterizations where all I can talk about is my health. On that note I think I will make this my last mention of such things on this blog.

I have discovered that flies have an equally irritable buddy in the form of gnats. Because of the heat and humidity the insects are of course having their time. Great for them....inconvenient for us. I actually went into town the other day and bought a fly swatter and the fly population has suffered accordingly (at least in my immediate vicinity). I feed the corpses to my friends the red ants who spend all day looking for chow. No I don't carry the corpse to some central ant location and watch. I simply flick the irritating creatures on to the sand in front of my lounge and I know that very soon a red ant will come upon it and deliver it to the family.

Not much else going on in the natural world that I have seen or experienced, nevertheless it seems that every day I discover some small new bit of it's presence. The other day I swam over the top of a Jewel Moray Eel while doing laps. Beautiful, harmless and relatively rare to see. Oh, and a flight of snow white pelicans (American White Pelican, a summer visitor here) against the azure of the sky and sea.....way cool.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Had to do this. I took this in the morning as I noticed that once again the dragonflies were on the move. I guess we have to be talking about millions of them having migrated by during the last two weeks. Hard to get a shot of one because they DO NOT LAND TO REST! So here's the best I could do with my inappropriate camera setup (hand held 300 mm digital). It's the only lense I have....great for Whales and some other things but a bit hard to catch dragonflies adequately.

Yesterday I caught (no pic, just watching) 3 Desert Iguanas chowing on my Hibiscus plant. They are not climbers so I have plenty of blossoms for them to eat down below and the branches are too delicate for the Spiny Tailed Iguanas to get up on. What was special, and scientifically interesting, was that there was a male, a female and a young iguana all there eating at the same time. The young one was mimicking the techniques of the other two and they "seemed" to be a family. But that's like the ant tussle the other day. How much am I anthropomorphizing? Reptiles don't form family units. Frankly, I don't care (about the anthropomorphizing)....never did (drove my professors and colleagues up the wall). It is this kind of anecdotal information that gets thrown into the "scientific" circular file...."mores the pity" as James Burke might say.

We have had only one rain since I arrived Jan. 4th. The desert is thirsty. I can't wait to see all the critters and plants do their dance when we finally get some.

I just finished a delightful science fiction book entitled "Star Songs of an Old Primate" by James Tiptree, Jr. (an interesting story in HERSELF). What I wanted to share from it was this:

"But it is also friendship beyond imagining, he has never known anything as wonderful as this communion, not sex or sunsets or EVEN THE MAGIC HOUR ON HIS FIRST BIKE". I don't know about you all, and there is no reason why anyones NEEDS to share this feeling but I know some of you do remember that "Magic Hour" on your first bike. It was for me as she goes on to say, ".... as if everything is all right now, will be all right forever---griefs he did not even know he carried are falling from him, leaving him light as smoke".

If you have been there....remember and smile....or cry or both.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

This is a Blue Footed Booby (not my pic) and is on the site because I saw one the other day when I was out with Vicente looking for Whales and/or Whale Sharks. They are not particularly rare but it is the first one I have seen down here. We also have the Masked Booby (again not my pic) and I think I saw one of those too but not sure. They are both very regal birds and remind me of the incredible Albatross (they are related) I saw when making the passage to Hawaii as a crew member on the sailing schooner Dariabar in '98. We were literally in the middle of The Pacific and this Albatross comes out of nowhere and flies along side for a hour or so.....breath taking. It is really wonderful to meet up with these "Royal" Sea Birds. They are a hoot!

The village was so very quiet this morning. Now Ukiah, my home town for 35 years, is relatively quiet (as U.S. towns go) but this was uncanny. Even the roosters and dogs were quiet; just stillness. A peace so deep I was reminded of childhood moments so secure and safe and loving as to be ethereal. This was after my earlier experience as a child in a war zone of course. That got me to thinking about children and that led to suffering (not mine but to that of the millions that are affected daily due to the arrogance of man whether because of war, greed or just plain evil). And that reminded me of a Hindu wisdom:

You are not a man until you give your love, truly and freely, to a child

You are not a good man until you earn the love, truly and freely, of a child

It does not have to be your child, any child will do!


Thursday, August 6, 2009

A few things I wanted to share along with some pictures. I have been waiting to get a shot of one of my favorite reptiles, The Desert Iguana, and I got my chance this morning. I had come in from doing my laps in The Sea and was lounging under my palapa reading when I caught some movement nearby. A closer look with the binocs showed it to be one of these iguanas. I watched as he moved over to my Hibiscus plant and then proceeded to chow down on the blossoms. This was just like my Spiny Tailed Iguana and the Yuca Vine blossoms the other day. The "Reptile People" are back! Of course they are eating all my blossoms but that's what they like and I love having them in my space, or should I say I love being in their space.

The other thing has to do with a strange ant behavior I observed yesterday (no pictures). I had placed a recently swatted fly (my most hated creature on the planet.....excluding some ignorant and evil people) on the ground to watch the ants make use of this good sized morsel. Three of them began dismembering the fly and worked cooperatively and diligently. Then along comes a 4th ant (same species, size etc) and immediately gets into this violent wrestling match with one of the original three. I mean a tussle! At times they broke apart and then with renewed vigor began again. Rolling, thrashing....the works. I couldn't help but think, "these two really have a personal grudge". Of course that can't be in the insect world....personal grudge, no way. Well they kept at this for a few minutes while two more ants joined in the cooperative dismembering without taking notice of this wild melee taking place right next to them. Finally the two broke up and then proceeded to find a place to help out, knocking into each other occasionally but no more tussle. Very strange!

Having thought that the great dragonfly migration was over, I woke this morning (Friday) to yet another mass exodus. Same species as far as I can tell and again no alighting anywhere. This time I counted an average of 55-60/min....extraordinaire. To think of the numbers that have passed in the last few weeks truly "staggers the imagination" if one really thinks on it.

You can probably sense, and appreciate, the real delight I am having in being free to simply enjoy and examine the nature around me. Baja is a distinctly different, biodiverse and magical expression of the life force. Now all those classes in Ornithology, Mammalogy, Zoology, Herpetology etc are paying off; even with the occasional sting of a Scorpion or Agua Mala. I am being very careful on both counts. I always shake out my shorts, shoes, towels for scorpions because I have had them in all these places (no stings though), the one sting was while making up my outside bed....way worse than a Yellow Jacket I assure you! I also wear a scarf over my head and a light long sleeved shirt when doing my laps. Agua Mala stings are right up there on the pain scale. I had a bad one a few weeks back and do all I can to prevent a reoccurrence of that particular experience.

We also had quite a blow here last night. Around 1:00 am a major thunderstorm struck really fast out of nowhere. Wind gusts got up to 80 mph and we received a fair amount of rain. The locals call them picito-Chubascos (mini-hurricanes). They blow through in a hour or so but are only 1/2 the strength of a full on Chubasco! I've got some rockin' and rollin' coming.