Monday, March 30, 2015

A lengthy postcard

I'm thinking I'll start making my own postcards. Should this one be "Wish you were here" or "Come back soon!"?

Sitting in the backyard with Gradka, with the tulips, grape hyacinth, speedwell, Lenten roses, narcissus, and those weird little bell flowers that spread like mad all in bloom, along with the cherry and plum trees in flower, it’s hard to imagine why I ever want to be anywhere else. It’s pretty darned blissful back here with various songbirds doing their songbird business. And yet, only yesterday, I was wishing we had another day in Newport since, as is so often the case on trips, the last morning dawned sunnier and warmer than any previous day.

 Because, you see, Scott and I spent the last few days in Newport, Oregon, where I’m happy to say we found the million common murres we had hoped to see again, along with a mess of other fascinating birds. And Poseidon was welcoming and playful, only pretending to try to knock us into the surf while the selkies and sea lions were just as inviting (selkies) and loud (sea lions) as ever. In short, it was an excellent mini-break.

A small sampling of the murres that were gathered around Yaquina Head on Friday. Come Sunday, you had to look long and hard to spot a few stragglers in the water.
 The timing, in some ways, could have been better as it seems that it was spring break for Oregon public school students so there were a lot of families about, making it not quite the quiet off-season visit that we had expected. But the murres were on the rocks and in the waters off Yaquina Head on Friday but not to be seen at all on Sunday so, had we delayed, we likely would have been disappointed. I just didn’t count on getting into the pool at the hotel and any thoughts we may have entertained about going to the aquarium were quickly dismissed. 
Any mention of Mrs Parker naturally leads to cocktails.

 Families with kids aren’t that interested in exploring the mudflats on blustery afternoons nor do they really take an interest in the Basket Slough so it was, really, all aces, “all aces” seeming to be the bizarre bit of slang I’ve picked up from god knows where. I don’t think that Dorothy Parker uses it in any of her reviews and that’s all I’ve read recently. A mystery.

Pelagic cormorants building a nest under the Newport Bridge
A nonbreeding (I think) common loon.
It's always educational to travel with Scott. On this trip I learned that he's pretty bright when it comes to figuring out where to cross unexpected bodies of water, after we ended up on the wrong side of an unexpectedly eager Beaver Creek at Ona Beach, as well as some tricky estuary business on the mud flats by the Hatfield Marine Science Center. We also learned that I automatically start walking like a long-legged shorebird (the Greater White Legs was my name, briefly) while Scott likes to maintain contact with the ground, even when it's under water.

I have, I’ve realized, written too many TripAdvisor reviews in the last twenty-four hours to be able to write anything sensible here so I’m going to toss up a few photos and then see about settling in with a book, perhaps. (A Lulu-printing of “Antosha in Prague” is due here any day which makes it hard to commit to starting anything new but I definitely get twitchy if I’m not reading something. First world problems yet again.) Odds are I'll milk this trip (and gosh, more photos) for a few more posts anyway.

Two photos for Alex:
View from the hotel balcony
See also, making my own postcards. This is the Yaquina Head Lighthouse from above.


  1. Oooh, lighthouse! I foresee another stunning calendar gift this Christmas.

    Is that a Western Gull or a more interesting Slaty-backed Gull? I can't tell.

    Glad you had a good time despite the inconvenient presence of children. Honestly, there ought to be warning signs.

    1. I could probably do an entire calendar of just that lighthouse -- but, happily, I won't do that. The gull was just a common western gull; I think that's pretty much the only kind we saw on the trip; it's the "view out the window" aspect of the photo that made me call it to your attention. (I had hoped for some Heerman's but maybe it was the wrong time of year or wrong part of the coast or both; I'm too lazy to be a successful birder.) -m.