Yes, I admit I was having fun at Buffalo’s expense. I was very briefly in California with perfect (lucky!) timing to avoid the March snow
storm in WNY, and having finished my work at 2:30pm I hurried back to my hotel, swapped my suit for jeans and a T-shirt and headed south from Ventura down the Pacific Coast Highway, also known simply as “Route 1”.
I was on my way to the beautiful hill roads in the Santa Monica mountains — an area I have been lucky enough to get to know quite well over the past few years — but it would take a better man than me to simply drive down “the PCH” without stopping to admire the views!
At one of my stops, I found and photographed a couple of California Ground Squirrels (Otospermophilus beecheyi), an interesting but skittish creature that lives in a communal burrow, but each of which allegedly has its own private entrance tunnel.
Nearby, I saw and photographed a small bird, in scrub, but for the life of me I can’t find anything quite like it in Sibley or my other bird books. The nearest thing I can think of is a female towhee, but that doesn’t fit, either. Can anyone help me out with the I/D, please?
Around 5:40pm, I reached Decker Canyon Road and headed off up one of my favourite hill roads in that area. (All of them are enjoyable but they are narrow so great care has to be taken on the many blind curves, in case someone is coming the other way.) By that time of evening, the temperature was still in the mid-70s….. a little different to ‘back home’ in Buffalo!