If you’re a migrating bird, why not choose Southern California for your winter layover?

I almost went for the obvious and titled this post, “The Super Bowl is for the Birds.” I only watch the game with one eye, and that eye isn’t fully on alert.

There’s football–and then for me, there’s almost anything else!

Of course, here in the United States it is Super Bowl Sunday.

I enjoy any excuse for gathering with my family, and I never begrudge others the pleasure of THE game. I just don’t share in the interest.

I’m discreet. I can sit here with a laptop while the die-hards enjoy THE game, parked in the back of the room, still comfortably near the food, but not occupying a hold down on television viewing prime real estate.

My mind is elsewhere.

I know it was only yesterday Punxsutawney Phil  gave us the good news that spring is just around the corner. I performed a celebratory happy dance in response and then somehow jumped right into dreams of summer.

My summer is ocean and beaches and the time to fully enjoy.

Yesterday morning I was planning to meet Aimee and the girls at a little preschool function.  Freeway closures for a movie shoot necessitated a slight detour.

But the change in route proved interesting. Sitting at a traffic light I was mesmerized by a flock of sea gulls. No, not the 80s band, but a flock of at least three dozen California Gulls. We live inland; not on the coast.  It’s not unusual  to see an occasional lone gull.  But a flock? Unusual.

Once in rapid population decline, they must be making a come back.


I would be more than happy to have my information updated by anyone in the know, but I think this gull may belong to the Heermann’s Gull family. He is distinctly different form the California Gull, sporting predominantly gray coloring.

3 pelicans in flight

Heermann’s also play well with Brown Pelican’s, which thanks to aggressive conservation measures are plentiful on our local beaches.

Once again, I do my best to determine the species of birds. Because Southern California is winter home to many migratory birds, I don’t always recognize the new faces.

I believe these little guys are a member of the curlew genus and may be Whimbrels. Whimbrels are waders in a very large family, probably not originally from California, but a frequent visitor.

The best way to learn is observation, but I don’t live at the ocean. I do use the guidance of books and museums.

During our recent trip to Santa Barbara we spent some time at the Natural History Museum and enjoyed the shore bird exhibit. I was particularly interested in identifying a Cormorant. This isn’t a bird I know, but after reading about the Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island  I developed a greater interest.

Fish Eaters Cormorants

The woman, rescued after 18 solitary years on San Nicolas Island, wore a dress made of cormorant feathers. She had sewn the feather dress together using whale sinews. The birds (above) between the pelicans and the gulls are identified as cormorants.

There are some 40 species of cormorants and shags, but I don’t believe I have ever seen one other than behind glass!

We did have a very special little visit a month or so ago from a young Canadian Goose. He apparently temporarily lost his mother while on his migratory vacation to Laguna Beach.

If you find yourself separated from your flock, Laguna Beach is a nice place for your layover. The weather is mild, there is plenty to eat and the crowd is happy to see you.

I hope if I’ve labeled the birds incorrectly you’ll inform me! I do want to learn. There just isn’t enough time to learn about everything interesting is there?

Enjoy some warm thoughts this week. Spring is coming!

And for those who aren’t watching the Super Bowl, it just got interesting as they lost power in half the stadium. A delay could interfere with my Sunday evening Downton Abbey viewing. Now I’m paying attention!