Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Last Tuesday evening was the first meeting of our Women's Book Club. There are some women in our church who are interested in reading a book as a group and then meeting to discuss what their thoughts were regarding the book. Our first book for discussion was titled "From Dark to Dawn" originally written by Elizabeth Rundle Charles and originally titled "The Chronicles of the Schoenberg-Cotta Family." "From Dark to Dawn" was edited and revised by James & Stacy McDonald. This book is an historical fiction of a family who became acquainted with Martin Luther in his youth and became friends. Each journal entry is chronicled with each family member's depiction of what it was like to be a Christian in the years preceding and following the German Reformation. The timing of our club's meeting to discuss the book was perfect since yesterday we celebrated the anniversary of The Reformation, as we do each year.
The book was originally published in 1863 and the time line for this historical novel was the 16th century. So the English language in the book, at times, seemed a little "foreign." But this edition provided a glossary in the back of the book, along with a timeline graph of the 15th and 16th centuries. Inside the book jacket it says, "Mrs. Charles masterfully marries historic truth with intriguing fiction in a way that draws the reader into the days of knights, plagues, indulgences, and political upheaval....leads the reader to contemplate the same theological truths that led to Martin Luther's famous posting of the 95 Theses."
I highly recommend this book for those who are interested in church history and would prefer reading about church history that is presented in a more "personal" presentation, even if it is fictional.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
As for flora around the area there really wasn't that much. This is sacred datura, aka western jimson weed. It closes up in the daytime/sunlight and actually blooms at night. Click on the link to read more about this plant.
Overall, we really enjoyed this birding festival. There is such a variety of geographic possibilities which gives one a wide variety of bird species to be found. I recommend this birding festival to anyone who plans on visiting central coast California in late September. And almost guaranteed great sunshiny weather.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
The photo below is what greeted us at 7:30 on Saturday morning at Waddell Beach. It was so different from Friday morning's beautiful sun shiny views. Cold, gray, and foggy. We were supposed to see or hope to see shearwaters, petrels, and/or marbled murrelets. But as you can see visibility was to be desired. The black "dots" you see out in the water are not birds of any sort, they are surfers, crazy surfers.
[Click on the images for a larger view]
The afternoon was back in Watsonville for a couple of workshops we signed up for. Both were given by Jon Dunn who has been an editor for all 5 editions of "Field Guide to the Birds of North America" published by National Geographic Society. The first workshop was "Honing your birding skills - identifying large shorebirds." The second workshop was "Honing your birding skills - identifying small shorebirds." Mr. Dunn had a slide presentation for each workshop with excellent photos he has taken of various shorebirds. I personally feel that more advanced birders probably enjoyed the presentations more than I. I felt much of what he presented was "over my head." I also feel that it would have been good to have some type of handout to point out the differences between similar looking species. Each workshop was only 90 minutes long, so we were home bound by 5 p.m.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Nevertheless, birds around here were few and far between. Most of the birds we saw (while still looking for the birding group) were what I would find locally in the Silicon Valley -- lesser goldfinches, scrub jays, house finches, etc. Below is a scrub jay hanging around this "water tank." It was fun watching all the finches darting in and out of the "spout." That's the area below the scrub jay where the tank is showing white where it was dry and black where it was still wet from the water spilling out. Visit Red's blog to see more photos.
Friday, October 10, 2008
As we walked down the trail we saw several birds in the pond. They all looked like the bird in the photo below. This was the best shot I could get. I recommend going to Red's blog to see better photos. Anyway, Red has informed me that this is a red-necked phalarope. And there were at least 30 of these birds in the pond. This is apparently their winter plumage and definitely a lifer. Now I wonder if I would recognize these same birds in their breeding plumage.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
As for sea birds we could have seen Sooty or Pink-footed Shearwaters, or Ashy or Black Storm-Petrels. But anything we saw flying out and about beyond a few hundred yards was quite difficult to identify. Even some of the good birders were finding it difficult to determine what was out there. Meanwhile, closer to us within our eyesight we saw many brown pelicans among the many gulls.
Once everyone felt they saw all they wanted to see at and around the beach the group headed for the next stop, Moon Glow Dairy.