Saturday, January 13, 2007

Comet chasing

The former Navy base on Alameda would be an ideal place to catch the sunset, but for one little hitch:In the decades that civilians were barred from this well-paved expanse of shoreline, the least tern decided that tarmac is perfect nesting material. The endangered bird was undisturbed by humans and unruffled by the jets taking off just yards away.

Now the Navy base is closed, and for a while you could get out to the point for some fabulous views of the city and bay, but now you'll have to content yourself with photos through the chain link fence.

(It's interesting to me that in English the sign says, "This bird is endangered and protected by federal law" while the Spanish only says "This little bird is in danger of becoming extinct.")

So anyway, the beach farther down proved OK for sunset viewing, too:We had lots of company, too, in the form of sea birds, mostly gulls, but also sandpipers and flocks of swallows. Not many people, though; it was quite chilly.

We were there hoping to catch a glimpse of Comet McNaught, which was about to pass between the Earth and sun and thus was supposed to be visible just after sunset about where the sun went down. We waited and waited and had just about decided we wouldn't be able to see it after all (and I wasted a bunch of battery power taking photos of little birds) when at last it materialized.It's possible you can't even see it in this photo, but really, it's there! The photo gallery on the comet page above has some great images. I have to learn how to use this camera better for stuff like that.

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