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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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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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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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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Carrizo Plain Just Gets Better!

April 3, 2019 at 3:21 pm (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, California Central Coast, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, San Luis Obispo County, Wildflowers) (, )

I have viewed wildflowers in many parts of the country, from the giant lupines in Maine to the sub-alpine bouquets of Mount Rainier, the bluebonnet and paintbrush fields of Texas, and the superbloom in the California deserts. But I have never seen the type of expansive floral bounty as I have in the Carrizo Plain National Monument.

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Carrizo Plain Wildflower Feast

March 26, 2019 at 8:30 pm (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, California Central Coast, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, San Luis Obispo County, Wildflowers)

Phacelia

For some reason, people seem to think the purple wildflowers are the most desirable, or at least the best colors to set off the sunshine yellows of the goldfields and hillside daisies at Carrizo Plain National Monument.

State Hwy 58 bordering Carrizo Plain

Me, I’m a fan of yellow. Lemon yellow. The most brilliant yellow that has carpeted the hills and fields of this area. I do love it when a smattering of purple shows up, however. Yellow, green, purple. Sometimes goldenrod where there are the fiddlenecks. If I could get orange California poppies added to the quilt I’d be in wildflower heaven.

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Carrizo Plain Wildflowers-March 3

March 6, 2019 at 6:44 am (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, California Central Coast, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, San Luis Obispo County, Wildflowers) (, , )

Yellow hillside daisies at Carrizo Plain National Monument

It only took a week and a little more rain and cool weather, and the yellow splashes on a few hillsides spread like wet paint splattered on the landscape. While most of the wild color occurs just outside the Carrizo Plain National Monument, it is clearly visible from Soda Lake and Seven Mile Roads.

I love clouds that add depth and an ever-changing light show, and because the plain is skirted by two rows of hills, the clouds were held back just enough to allow sunlight to dapple the soft hills.

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Carrizo Plain Winter Birds

March 3, 2019 at 6:00 am (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, California Central Coast, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, San Luis Obispo County, Wildlife) (, , , )

Prairie Falcon

Last week’s visit to Carrizo Plain National Monument yielded some nice birds as well as a herd of at least 100 Tule elk about a half mile in the distance.

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