Montana de Oro

June 30, 2020 at 5:00 am (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, California Central Coast, California wildflowers, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, San Luis Obispo County, Wildflowers) (, )

Mountain of Gold

When I first came to California in 2015, I fell in love with Montana de Oro State Park. I was living in Apple Valley at the time and had a job that gave me a 3-day weekend twice a month, which I took full advantage of.

Now that I live much closer, I feel fortunate to live so near to the most beautiful part of the California coast.

Morro Rock

There are several easy trails in the park, and the one my friend and I took was a little ways before the campground. It seemed popular with surfers, who were also out early at the end of May during this Time of COVID.

Desert Christmas Tree, Pholisma arenarium

We are both into wildflowers and birds, in addition to beautiful landscapes, so our journey from the parking lot to the beach took a little time.

We didn’t see any snowy plovers here

We did see several other kinds of birds, though.

Wrentit in song

The overcast light helped tremendously by not filling our subjects with hot spots and deep shadows.

The Bluff Trail is everyone’s favorite, I think. It’s easy and it takes you to some marvelous overlooks.

The Point Bouchon Trail wasn’t open. As with most things COVID-19, we were lucky we had open spaces to wander safely, to help us keep our sanity.

Despite the bright overcast all morning, we both added some color to our skin from the relaxing and beautiful outing.

Photos and text copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre
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Website:  CindyMcIntyre.com
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Contact:  cindy at cindymcintyre.com

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Lagniappe

May 28, 2020 at 7:03 pm (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, California Central Coast, California wildflowers, Nature, Nature photography, San Luis Obispo County, Wildflowers) (, , )

Western bluebird male

Lagniappe often means “a little of this, a little of that.” Since I have many hangers-on images that didn’t quite fit into a themed blog, I’m tossing them all in here like a stew.

Mrs. Western Bluebird

This sapsucker-drilled tree has a cavity just perfect for this pair of western bluebirds.

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Big Sur

May 27, 2020 at 7:16 pm (Birds - California, California, California Central Coast, California wildflowers, Monterey County, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildflowers) ()

Nacimiento-Fergusson Road overlooking Big Sur

I’ve driven the challenging Nacimiento-Fergusson Road from Fort Hunter Liggett to Big Sur two or three times before, but last weekend was the first time I’d started in Big Sur going home.

The N-F road had been closed by the Los Padres National Forest because there were complaints of too much traffic on the Pacific Coast Highway (State Hwy 1, aka Big Sur Highway) during the COVID-19 lockdown. The campgrounds had already been closed and folks were availing themselves of road pullouts or wherever they could to camp.

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Southern Monterey County

May 21, 2020 at 8:33 am (Bird photography, Birds - California, Butterflies, California, California Central Coast, California wildflowers, Monterey County, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildflowers) (, , , )

Nacimiento-Fergusson Road at Fort Hunter Liggett
Same view same time last year

The Los Padres National Forest re-opened the Nacimiento-Fergusson Road and I had a hankering to explore one of my favorite areas in Central Coast California.

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Morro Rock-Otters & Birds

May 11, 2020 at 5:45 am (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, California Central Coast, California wildflowers, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, San Luis Obispo County, Wildflowers) (, )

Mom and baby sea otter

Photographers like me like to go out early in the morning when the birds are active and the people aren’t. Marilyn and I headed out to Morro Rock, part of Morro Bay State Park on Saturday, with a stop at my favorite California viewpoint off Hwy 46.

Looking toward Morro Rock, well hidden in fog

As is typical of summer, the coast is often shrouded in fog on mornings when it is sunny and headed for hot weather in Paso Robles.

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Estero Bluffs

May 8, 2020 at 6:23 pm (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, California Central Coast, California wildflowers, Nature, Nature photography, San Luis Obispo County) (, , )

A partial fogbow

Estero Bluffs is one of my favorite places along the California coast. The best trail for me is this one, by the windmill. On this morning, it was the second trail of the day for my friend and me.

Windmill and oaks

The fogbow was a bit of magic that added to the beauty of the oaks and windmill.

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Carrizo’s Mini-SuperBloom

May 1, 2020 at 8:02 am (Birds - California, California, California Central Coast, California wildflowers, Nature, Nature photography, San Luis Obispo County, Wildflowers) ()

I’ve been to my beloved Carrizo Plain National Monument twice this Spring hoping the late rains offered up another Superbloom such as last year’s.

A field of goldfields

For the most part, nope. In early April, though, my friend and I were treated to a small herd of pronghorn does and a Bell’s sparrow lifer for her.

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Shell Creek Wildflowers

April 30, 2020 at 7:51 am (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, California Central Coast, California wildflowers, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildflowers) ()

Lupine, purple owl’s clover, California poppies, tidy tips

There’s a street famous in these parts for its bounty of wildflowers. Shell Creek Road is off Highway 58 between Paso Robles and Carrizo Plain National Monument.

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Love of Carrizo Plain in the Time of COVID-19

April 7, 2020 at 8:00 am (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, California Central Coast, California wildflowers, Nature, Nature photography, San Luis Obispo County, Wildflowers, Wildlife) ()

Pronghorn females

I have visited Carrizo Plain National Monument about a dozen times and this is the first time I saw pronghorns. I guess it helped that it was not a people-frenzied super bloom year, as last year was, and it was also in the midst of the Safe-at-Home era of the COVID-19 pandemic, so running across them was more likely.

Two pronghorn does

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Monterey County Wildflowers

June 12, 2019 at 5:00 am (California, California Central Coast, California wildflowers, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildflowers) (, )

Harlequin lupine, Lupinus stiversii

We have had six months of pleasantly cool weather with plenty of moisture in California this year, and the Memorial Day weekend was a perfect time to look for tiny treasures in the Los Padres National Forest and environs of southern Monterey County.

The harlequin lupine (above) was perhaps one of the most interesting flowers I found, and it was only in a small patch of ground. They aren’t rare, but I guess they’re also not common.

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