June 14, 2009

Animal House

Good morning and greetings, Beach Boys fans. That’s right, “God only knows what I’d be without you,” my favorite cyber audience. Now, “east coast girls are hip, I really dig those styles they wear, and the southern girls with they way they blog, they knock me out when I’m down there. The midwest farmer’s daughters really make you feel alright, and the northern girls with the way they kiss, they keep their boyfriends blogging all night.” But rest assured, sports fans, “the west coast has the sunshine and the girls all get so tanned, so it’s the “California girls” who are driving this runaway train. And thank you, the dedicated readers of this blog, for all the “Good, good, good, good vibrations.”

Now that I got that important salute to the beach girls of the Golden State out of the way, we can move on to today’s risky business. Or in the words of Rebecca DeMornay, “Are you ready for me, Ralph?” (That was my salute to Tom Cruise.)

So today on NBC we are going to take a walk on the wildlife side. One misty morning in early June, I was driving home along the boundries of Natural Bridges State Park. And who do I see loping down Swanton Boulevard but none other than Mr. Wile E coyote (photo #1). It was like a dog day afternoon, but it was morning as watched him stroll along the wet grass, searching for a snack of perhaps a tasty gopher, a wandering kitty cat or a chocolate-filled croissant. When I took this shot this wild dog was less than ten yards away and didn’t seem the least concerned with me or my back seat companion. My dog had a stunned look on her face, or the same expression that most of the free world exhibited when John McCain selected Sarah Palin as his running mate.

After a while this prarie wolf tired of me watching him like a mental patient, so he took off on a run and ducked under the fence back into the park. I then drove home, made myself a vegan cheeseburger with some organic sweet potato fries and started work on my memoir, “Every Day is Saturday.”

The next shot takes me back a couple of years to the sands of Four Mile Beach, where I caught this elusive juvenile bobcat (photo #2) less than 100 yards from the water. It is very unusual to see one of these creatures in the sand, no less putting on sunblock-it happens about as often as a Republican politician says something positive about Michelle’s Obama’s hubby. Ten minutes after I took this shot, I thought this wild cat was going to attack me. And as many of you out there know, multiple puncture wounds can really put a crimp on the day.

A couple of days after I shot the coyote beautiful, I was Pablo cruising down Western Drive when I saw doe (a deer, a female deer) and her two fawns trying to cross the street. It was fascinating to see the mother make sure her two children looked both ways before they crossed and then waited to make sure that they were safe before she went. This was then followed by ray, a drop of golden sun. They were photographed on the hillside by me, a name, I call myself.

Moving along, a couple of years back, my daughter and I were returning from a fact finding mission at Its Beach when we came across this Vietnamese potbellied pig (photo #4) and her lovely owner. She was just taking her prize dwarf breed of a domestic swine on an outing, and afterwards were going out for some Chinese food. I believe she told me that they slept in the same bed, which she said wasn’t a problem because she didn’t snore. Sometimes a playmate would come over and they’d all sleep together. You guessed it, the old pigs in a blanket.

Back in late May, I had just finished running Summer, my golden retriever, when we came across a turtle (photo #5) in a field by Antonelli’s pond. I figured it had crawled over and was lost so I brought it home to show my daughter and to later have it race the rabbit that lives next door. Aimee quickly built a shelter for it in our backyard, fed it some chips, salsa and guacamole, as we figured we’d see it in the morning.

Well, for the next two days, no Yertle, not turtle. I figured it had James burrowed somewhere and it was history. Later that morning, I received a phone call from my frantic wife, who informed me that there was an animal in the house that was tearing and shredding the furniture and using the spam filter on my computer. Summer was upstairs barking and shaking and wishing she was a German sheperd. I rushed home and raced inside expecting to perhaps find a raccoon enjoying a Trader Joe’s four cheese pizza. But not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

I then looked out the back at the sliding glass door to see the turtle standing outside wanting in. At this moment the realization came over me that perhaps this was not a wild mutant ninja turtle, but someone’s recently emancipated pet. I then brought him down to the local pet shop and discovered that he was a red eared slider, who much like myself is semi-aquatic and can only eat in the water. It was a good move not releasing it into Antonelli’s Pond as it is much more voracious than native turtles and would have wiped out the fish population faster than you could say, “Entourage.” So we dropped it into the big tank at the pet shop and it immediately dove underwater and starting synchronized swimming with a box turtle from the Bronx. Last I heard it was sold to the Sultan of Brunei and has its own chef and waxer.

For our final photo we return to West Cliff Drive. Last year I photographed these cormorants building their nests along the edge of the cliff. We followed them as they laid their eggs and then gave birth do some of wildest-looking chicks I’ve seen since my freshman year at Syracuse University. We’ll have a blog on this later in the summer when they give birth. It’s a fascinating process to watch and I saw my first egg the other day. If you want to check it out, it’s on the cliff right before the entrance to Natural Bridges. Tell them Geoff sent you and that Eli’s coming.

One more note. This past Friday, on my morning walk with one of my newest friends of Swedish descent, we spotted a beautiful little creature popping its head out of the hole in the park at Natural Bridges. It had a white ring around its face and incredibly beautiful golden tan fur. It was not scared of us or man’s best friend who was with us and was very curious to check us out. Of course, much to my dismay, I was not carrying my camera because this would have been a perfect addition to this blog as it was less than 100 yards from where I photographed the coyote. It would have been the perfect Glenn closure.

I thought it was a ferret, and my fjord-loving, morning companion later emailed me to let me know that it was a black-footed ferret, which I found rather odd since none are located in California. Later that afternoon I went over to the Visitor’s Center at Natural Bridges and poured out my heart and soul to the ranger, who told me to get some therapy and that this beautiful beast of burden was a southwest long-tailed weasel. Right before I spotted him, I could swear I heard a little sound. That’s right, (and you may see this one coming,) pop goes the weasel.

On to the late night comedy experience. “Boy, this is a weird story. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor is at LaGuardia and she breaks her ankle. This happened, like, two days ago. And in a 5-to-4 ruling, the current justices have voted to send her a get well card. In Iran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is in a tight race. This guy is everywhere trying to drum up support. On Sunday, he was on the Iranian talk show, ‘Eliminate the Press.’” –David Letterman “Speaking of Republican icons, Nancy Reagan this week was in the capital to unveil a statue of her late husband, Ronald Reagan, and she had lunch at the White House with Michelle Obama. I’m not sure she really knows who Michelle Obama is, cause she told her to really dust, not just move things around.” –Bill Maher

“Earlier today, President Obama spoke at a town hall meeting in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Yeah. Yeah, half of the Wisconsin crowd had never seen an African-American, and the other half had never seen a skinny person.” –Conan O’Brien “President Obama is proposing a new national healthcare plan that’s both inexpensive and accessible. He’s calling it Have Your Surgery In Mexico.” –Jimmy Fallon “President Obama gave a big historic speech yesterday in Egypt. President Obama impressed listeners by beginning his speech with the traditional Islamic greeting, “Salaam Aleikum.” Yea, it’s very cool. Yea it was especially impressive because a year ago, President Bush opened with ‘Shalom Amigos.’” –Conan O’Brien

“I am Stephen Colbert, and I am reporting for duty. Folks, right off the top, I want to thank the USO for bringing me and my show to our brave men and women in uniform in Baghdad, Iraq. Thank you so much. I have to say, this place is great. I’ve always loved the beach, but I hate the ocean, so this is perfect! You know, folks, a lesser man would try to pander to you. But I’m not going to do that. Besides, you would never fall for it, because you are the sharpest, coolest, sexiest fighting force in the history of mankind. You know, it’s my first trip to Iraq. I don’t know why I haven’t made it here before, but it’s hard to explain to the people back home just how hot it is here. Let me put it this way: When Saddam Hussein got to hell, I’m guessing he asked for a blanket.” –Stephen Colbert

That’s my salute to the animal planet. Congratulations go out to the Orlando Magic, whose blunders and missed free throws in a critical game 4 allowed Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers to capture their 15th NBA title last night. Which means, with the exception of the upcoming NBA draft, we basketball fans have nothing to look forward to, except Karl Rove perhaps being indicted. It all comes down to what my wife always whispers in my ear before we go to sleep, “Basketball is life, the rest is just details.” We’ll catch in the lockeroom. Aloha, mahalo and later, Laker fans.


  1. Wow! I think it’s safe to say there is no other blog in the cyberworld that combines these kind of pictures with non stop humor and musical references. Very cool coyote and bobcat photos – didn’t know bobcats lived at the beach (or that they used sunblock for that matter). Sorry you missed the ferret but by now I think you should know to always carry your camera as you are a professional nature photographer and clearly nature shows her many faces in all sort of unusual places. As always thanks for catching me up on the late night humor – particularly liked the Nancy Reagan joke. Good riddance to the Orlando Magic who sadly wiped out a great playoff run with some inexcusable errors in the finals. I guess it’s on to baseball (watched the Yanks beat the Mets 15-0 yesterday which surely brought some very mixed emotions to NY fans) at least until football season starts. Anyway, keep up the great work and we’ll have fun, fun, fun till her daddy takes the computer away…

    Comment by Mark Teixeira — June 15, 2009 @ 7:34 am

  2. Laughed out loud when I got to “me, a name I call myself”. Love the larger photos. And the turtle was very, very scary making a racket against the sliding glass door – especially when Summer was growling… Thanks for rescuing me.

    Comment by Pokrashauntus — June 15, 2009 @ 8:00 am

  3. Love the turtle story and I laughed out loud about the muntant ninja turtle part. Great blog, great pictures and great game last night.

    Comment by Aimee (a.k.a. the turtle shelter group leader) — June 15, 2009 @ 3:13 pm

  4. That was the best therapy session I have ever had! Oh and just to let you know, I saw your friend the bobcat crossing Delaware, last saturday, heading into Natural Bridges park. How about that?

    Comment by checkstand#10 — June 15, 2009 @ 4:22 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Follow Sunrise Santa Cruz on Twitter
Sunrise Santa Cruz in the news!