Blog

Broad Beach during the August 2020 fires.

Flora and fauna musings from the Pacific Flyway and beyond

Dum spiro spero.

There’s much to observe in our environment. Learning about the ecosystems we inhabit is a lifelong curiosity.

As a new Californian, I am curious to know the names of the plants and animals which grow and live in this part of the world. Malibu’s marine layer climate provides a razor-thin margin of moisture which supports an array of life. This will capture some of my learnings. Feedback is always welcome.

Turning to Terns

NOTE: Identifying terns can be tricky, and for this post I am indebted to Chuck Almdale who graciously shared his knowledge.  After an absence of several months, and newly returned from their wintering grounds in Central America, the Elegant Terns are back at Zuma Beach. With their distinct tufted crest feathers and yellowy-orange beaks, theyContinue reading “Turning to Terns”

Consider the Mussel

With a hat tip to M.F.K. Fisher, author of “Consider the Oyster,” why do California mussel shells change color over their lifespans?   It’s not unusual to see dozens of half-inch long, pale gray striped shells on the littoral beach, along with a few adult shells. Typically, the shells have parted with their other halves. Mature mussel shellsContinue reading “Consider the Mussel”

Garden Snails

Overnight rain brought a hatching of garden snails.  Normally active at night and at dawn, perhaps the rain beckoned them in their whorled shells to saunter over sidewalks in search of groceries. Their iridescent paths and meditative pace have always delighted me when walking after a rain shower. Garden snails are non-native to California. It is believed they arrivedContinue reading “Garden Snails”

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