Farmington Bay
May 20 2024

You can't wait for a miracle. You can't expect a handout. You're not going to get what you want taking a shortcut, or making a substitution, or cutting a corner. You'll only play yourself if you play it safe. The right thing to do is to spend a couple thousand dollars on a brand new mirrorless camera and an outlandishly big telephoto lens. In fact, that's not even that much by wildlife photography's standards. The real 'birding extremists' will show up to the spot with glass worth more than your car.

Money can't buy happiness. Money can't buy anything — do anything — but with the right attitude, I can take money and use it to buy nice things which in turn can make me very happy. In this case, I have been absolutely delighted. Over the last two years, on well over a hundred occassions, I have left my house and gone to some location with the specific intent of looking at and for birds. It's awesome. Once in a while, I can get really close to a bird, and I try to line my iPhone camera up with the eyecup on my binoculars to snap a pic. Sometimes it looks okay. This is an entirely different thing.

Around this time last year, I officially recorded my first sighting of a Barn Owl on the nature trail here. The owl kindly made its first reapparance for me in the exact same spot today. Crouching down as low and close to the creek as I could get, peering through grass and twigs, angling my big long lens (oh yeah) up high into the trees, I managed to get a shot that was, frankly, good enough for me. I thanked the owl for her time and continued on the trail.

Out along Glovers Lane, I watched from my car as one of the resident roadside kestrels exhibited its unmistakable hunting behavior. Hovering into a headwind, thirty or forty feet in the air, tracking some unsuspecting rodent, the American Kestrel suddenly reminds you that it's a member of the falcon family. At what turned out to be just the right moment, the tiny-but-mighty kestrel divebombed the ground and disappeared into the tall grass. I rolled down the window and snapped a shot of it when it returned to the fencepost. Only later did I notice that I had also captured the kestrel's freshly-caught dinner. Either eat or be eatin' I always say.

Band Name Ideas
March 29 2024

  • Franciscan Hardcore
  • Swallowed Pit
  • Thrust Into You
  • Fabulous He
  • Gary & The Painters
  • Twink Death
  • Peter Piper
  • Internal Affairs
  • The Rebates
  • Hairpin Schultz
  • The Scarab
  • Rest Stop
  • Killslip
  • The Whole Enchilada
  • 10 Beers
  • It's A Video
  • Roundabout Pony
  • The Eel Within

August 15 2023

An increase of one thousand feet is equivalent to moving
a hundred miles northward and therefore

many steps back into Spring

many steps back into Spring

Ranking My Favorite Albums
July 01 2023

  1. Last One Down Is A Rotten Fuck - III
  2. Superslug - Echolocator
  3. Bodo Bejér - Forgive, Forgive
  4. Glorious Gizmo - Another Flight Around The Humcunkump
  5. Craigular - Neck Silence
  6. Rebecca Routledge - Pleasure Campaign Vol. 1
  7. Pester & Mortal - Ancient Cream
  8. The Effect - Unkflation

Sooty Shearwater
June 18 2023

It's like when you wake up before your alarm is supposed to go off. That's how my day started, at dawn.

Sleeping outside can make you more aware. Light, sound, wind. Life, and the way time passes outside of 'our world.' That world is what? Human dominance, isolation, artificial light, control. This world, outside, once informed every part of our existence but can now be so readily ignored. Suddenly, sitting around a campfire, you are filled with questions: What's the difference between twilight and dusk? Does the moon spin, and in which direction?

I was first up at camp, just the way I like it.

I haven't been to Lake Casitas since elementary school. My friend's dad, who would take us fishing here during summer break, told me once that I had "great boat manners." I think I was just a shy kid. He drove an old manual truck— I don't remember the model but it was probably American-made— with a grenade on the shifter knob.

"Ha-wheeer!" An ash-throated flycatcher, Myiarchus cinerascens, right next to me, above me actually, in the tree I pissed next to last night. I don't recall the lake being this beautiful. Maybe I've never seen it in this light. It's just after 6 AM and there are some pretty clouds floating low, caught in the fingers of the man-made reservoir. Maybe it's the water level; what a winter we had. "Casitas is absolutely gorgeous when it's full," or at least that's what my fisherman friend says at dinner a couple nights after this moment. There's a raptor sitting in a tree down there. Oh... another red-tailed hawk.

The Santa Barbara Channel is only a few hundred feet deep for the twenty-five or so miles between the mainland and the northern group of islands. But on the seaward side, the continental shelf immediately drops off, to a depth of about six thousand feet. The fishing is good here too, I'm told.

The captain spots a large group of bottlenose dolphins up ahead. "The life of a dolphin seems pretty simple: you look for food, ride the waves, and make more dolphins, not in any particular order."

Later on, the boat stops so the passengers can admire a sunfish, the largest bony fish in the world, basking at the surface. I catch a glimpse of it— I've seen a few before so I'm not rushing across the deck— but then my eye focuses on a group of about a dozen birds passing in flight. They are quite dark, with silvery flashes on their wingtips. Flying low to the surface, wingbeats faster than a gull's but slower than a cormorant's. "Finally," I think to myself. The Sooty Shearwater, Ardenna grisea. It's a lifer.

Like the Scripps's Murrelet or Santa Cruz Island bird's-foot trefoil, sometimes a feeling is endemic to a time and place. It is difficult work to chase down a feeling.

Two Lists I Made Recently
June 13 2023