The conversation went something like this, "Where do you want to go today?" It was my son's day off and we were in his home town, Los Angeles, CA. I had given it no thought, but my instant reaction was to check a local birding website to see what hot spots for birding were recommended. There, I read about a field trip that had taken place the day before at Rockweiler Beach where Snowy Plovers had been seen.
I asked my son if he knew where this beach was located. "Its under the LAX runway." I had to consider this. A beach under the runway?
El Segundo is both a community in Los Angeles, and the name of the coastal dunes that border the Santa Monica Bay. It is on these dunes that the native Seacliff Buckwheat grows, the host plant for the El Segundo Blue butterfly during every stage of its life-cycle.
Our next stop was nearby Rockweiller Beach and it actually is located in the flight path of airplanes coming and going on the LAX runway system, flying low over your head as you walk the beach.
The shorebirds don't seem to mind and neither did I once I spotted them. Marbled Godwits, a life bird for me, and Willets were foraging in the tide. The godwits were probing in the wet sand, the willets chasing the ebbing tide and running back to higher ground ahead of the next wave to eat their prize, sand fleas. I couldn't have asked for a better wildlife morning.
To learn more about the amazing El Segundo Blue Butterfly, visit: El Segundo Blue Butterfly--A Story of Survival at Vickie Henderson Art. There you'll find two video clips that describe this butterfly's fascinating survival story, as well as, its unique relationship with other species. For more sketches about my California visit, click here.
For birding information in the LA area, visit the Los Angeles Audubon website
And for artists interested in the sketchbook used, the above sketches are created in a Moleskin sketchbook with pencil, ink and watercolor. The paper is designated for all-media but does not work well with watercolor because of its delicate nature and a surface that tends to cause beading. Even though the result can be satisfactory, the process of working on the paper is not enjoyable for me. The fun of watercolor is its movement and fun is one of my requirements for sketching! However, the book has a smooth surface that works well with ink, graphite, color pencils, etc. and of course journaling.