There were about nine of us on the bird outing. Some were experienced, or at least a lot more experienced than I am, and were able to identify birds immediately, spot them where I would not have thought to look. Everyone expressed delight - two bald eagles in a tree! - when we saw something really special. We also encountered deer and a fox. Unfortunately an introduced fox type, not, for example, the San Joaquin kit fox.
I am torn about such things. I recognize the damage introduced species do to the native population, yet abhor hunting as a means for getting rid of them. I feel hunting does more damage than it can possibly do good. I have read of the different methods for ridding offshore islands of pigs, and I suspect some kind of birth control method is the best. I really hate the idea of killing any animals at any time. I think my perspective is from the point of view of the individual animal, not always the species.
Not that I abhor what happens in nature as a matter of course. Animals kill and eat each other. This is not repulsive to me.
Among the birders was a couple with a car that had the license plate: KAFKA F8. Paul and I had to wonder about that. The couple's name is Kafka. And they are related. The "Fate" part came from their experience living in Los Angeles, dealing with the freeway system. Certainly if ever there was a Kafka-esque place, it is the Los Angeles area.
This couple lives in Arroyo Grande, moved there recently, and Mike Kafka works near the bird store. It all started when they bought their first bird feeder. Does this sound familiar?
We saw different types of pelicans above Santa Margarita Lake and in the bay near Los Osos and Morro Bay. The fresh water and the salt water types. The white pelican, which we saw at the lake, has a wing spread that rivals the condor's, according to our guide. The condor and the pelican both seem to me like ancient species, from the Jurassic age. It is like being taken back in time to see these wonderful creatures. I have not seen a condor, but a couple have landed at the Santa Margarita Lake park.
A few years ago I had little hope for the condor recovery program, but I do feel a little more hope now. A little. Some of the re-introduction efforts seem to be working.
The central coast of California is one of the top birding areas in the nation. There have been spotted here over half of the bird species present in the entire United States. The yearly bird counts put this area consistently in the top five, and in 2002 the Los Osos count was over 20 species above any other.
Our kayaking, in addition to the diversion offered by the rudder situation, included paddling to Morro Bay. In my other treks I have not gone all the way in (others have). It is terrific, working our way between such interesting boats, watching people in restaurants on the water, who are watching us, and of course watching the birds, otters, and seals. If I ever get Mary and Joey out here we'll make this trip.
Right now, though, I think I'll take a painkiller for this right arm.