Sunday, November 7, 2010
Am I Really In Santa Maria, CA?
It is Sunday nite the 7th of November, and I am already in southern California in hopes of seeing the ivory gull that was found here this past Thursday. I left Venice, Italy very early yesterday morning, and after about 24 hours of travel including 3 different plane flights, I arrived home at 10:30 PM to find that an ivory gull was feeding on dead seal carcasses in San Luis Obispo. This is only the 2nd record of an ivory gull in southern CA which is no surprise since this gull generally lives high in the arctic.
I had missed a couple of ivory gulls on the east coast very early in the year, so I was on a plane this morning at 8 to get to LA by mid-day. I drove 3 hours up to Santa Maria where I met Wes Fritz and his friend Howard who I had seen on my pelagic trip out of San Diego in October.
It began to rain just about the time we hit the beach at 4:30, finding roughly 10 birders who had spent all day waiting for the gull to come back. Wes and Howard had seen it in the morning before going off to do other birding. We tried all 3 locations where the gull had been seen over the past 4 days, but did not locate it, so we will be back out there early tomorrow to try again.
As promised in my post of 10/27, over the next few days I will share some photos taken with my cell phone, and describe some of the food and wine my wife and I, and our friends, Craig and Renee, enjoyed while visiting Florence and Venice. The top photo above was taken in the hills on the south edge of Florence, and features the Duomo and the Palazzo Vecchio in the center of the city. The middle photo is of my wife, CKay, on our first full day in Florence sitting outside our favorite wine bar, Fuori Porta. We have been eating here now for 14 years, and have come to know the owner and the staff quite well.
The bottom photo was taken at our favorite restaurant, Buca dell'Orafo, also on our 1st full day. On the right and center plates are fried baby artichokes with pieces of fried rabbit and chicken. This is a regular fall dish at Buca, as is the ravioli in cream sauce with black pepper that you can see tucked in behind the red wine glasses. The first couple of days I had to keep reminding myself to take food pictures because when a dish would arrive at the table, I often was so intent on eating it that only afterwards would I remember that I needed photos for the blog. As a result, some of our favorite dishes of the week were consumed before photos were taken.
Tomorrow I hope to have good news on the ivory gull, and no matter what happens with the gull, I will share more photos and stories about our food and wine in Florence. Stay tuned!