I like to get out on Christmas morning. It’s a very soothing time to be out, because no one else is. You have the streets to yourself. Last year I went for a ~30 mile run. Injuries suggested I try something else this year, so I biked out to Refugio.

I got off to a later start than I would have liked — it was cold this morning and I wanted to wait for the frost to disappear.

It was still cold (well, cold to be riding a bike) when I set out, but by the time I reached the far end of Goleta I had removed all my extra layers.

I was a little surprised at how much traffic there was on the 101. After the empty roads in town, the freeway seemed to have a normal traffic load. I guess no one goes for short trips on Christmas morning but a fair number of people probably drive a 100 miles to go see Grandmother. Or something.

Rather to my surprise I passed some lupine blooming. It’s the wrong time of year for lupine. But then there were more blooms. So I stopped and took a picture. A bit later I saw the median was just covered with blooms. Odd.

When I got onto Refugio Rd, everything was very calm and still. Almost no one was on the road, and it was very quiet. Peaceful.

I’ve never really taken time on Refugio Rd. It’s rather pleasant, but I’m usually trying to see how fast I can get out and back. Today I was taking it easy. So I even got off the bike and climbed down into the creek when I saw the holes etched into the rock face above it.

Then I turned round and popped in at the beach where I watched the waves for a bit (and ate something). Not many people were here either. But there were lots of seagulls☺

I turned back home then. No more pictures because I was heading vaguely into the sun now.

Until I got to Goleta Beach. From the bridge I could see the slough and along beside it, were night herons, spaced regularly ~10ft apart or so (click on the pictures to make them bigger — sometimes you need to click twice to see the full size).

So I stopped on the bridge to look at them (and photograph them), and then biked a little further down the bike path, and stopped to look at them again. As I was watching from this vantage, a tern came flying up the slough, straight toward me.

It looked all white and beautiful as it came on. Then suddenly there was a whoosh, the tern was gone, the night herons were all alarmed and a few flew up. My eyes moved to look and only then I could see the hawk carrying the tern in its talons.

White feathers falling.

I’ve never seen a raptor catch another bird before. Impressive.


One Response to “Astonished”

  1. georgeruns Says:

    But, unfortunately I didn’t have the camera out at the essential moment.

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