Yesterday, the 18th, was my mom's (29th) birthday and her best friend, Judy, called me a couple of weeks ago with a plan. The plan was to surprise her at work and take her away for the day. So, I called her boss and asked if there was any way we could pull this off and have her take a personal day without my mom actually knowing. She said yes and so the plan was on. And then the plan was off with the weather being what it was for the last week. And then when the weatherman said it was supposed to clear out on Wednesday...it was back on! :) So, my dad took the day off of work, he and Cole and I piled jackets, bird books, binoculars and snacks into the car, picked up Judy and headed over to Mom's work yesterday. We came in singing "Happy Birthday" and I videotaped us going in. And then Dad told her what we were doing and she was SO excited! She quickly shut everything down and we got the heck out of there! We headed up to our fav coastal spot...Carp(interia)...and had lunch at the Cajun Kitchen...SO tasty! We actually ran into Judy's brother and sister-in-law, Ted and Sue, and they joined our table.
After our great meals, we headed over to the Salt Marsh Bird Reserve and walked around for about an hour or so.
We saw the usual birds...Great and Snowy Egrets, a cute pair of Ruddy Ducks, a whole slew of American coots, a beautiful Green-winged Teal, good 'ol Mallards, many Buffleheads and a couple of Great Blue Herons.
Just as we were turning around, Mom called out "Hey guys...I see something HUGE! It looks like a little boat in the water, but I think it's a bird. Seriously, it's really big guys. Come check it out." Judy and I were like, "Sure Mom, okay...we'll come over and look," thinking "Yeah, sure. Whatever Mom." But low and behold...she saw a bird we had never seen before in the wild. It was an almost-adult Mute Swan. They are mostly on the East Coast and around the Great Lakes, so to see one in the wild on the Pacific Coast was certainly a treat. We were able to get right over it on the birding path and take a whole bunch of pictures...here are just a few. :)
And while we were checking out our Mute Swan, we looked overhead and saw this beautiful Sharp-Shinned Hawk. Another first for me. :)
After birding, we headed back to the car to open presents. Probably not the best setting to open presents, but my mom was able to sit down, which was necessary. :)
Then we decided to head up to Lake Casitas and check out the lake area and campground there. They have a pretty amazing campground up there, complete with trailer and boat rentals, a camp store, many playgrounds and nice picnic areas. Just after the sun set, we found a cute Great Blue Heron wading in the shallows looking for dinner. Speaking of dinner, we drove back down to Carp and ate at one of our fav restaurants, The Palms.
We had a great dinner and then headed home, tired from our fun all-day adventure! Happy birthday to the best Mom around...you are such a great woman, wonderful mother and awesome grandma. I love you SO much Mamua. :)