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Old Feb 21, 2010, 7:31 PM   #1
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On our way to San Diego last week to visit relatives, I stopped an an overlook by Camp Pendleton which I had passed many times in the past without stopping. There were some of the tamest gulls and squirrels I have ever seen gathered around waiting for handouts. The squirrels were the usual California Ground Squirrels, and most of the gulls were the common and much photographed Ring-Bills, which didn't interest me, but off to the side were a few seldom photographed Heermann's Gulls, which did. And there was one tree.

The tree was a small windswept Torrey Pine, the rarest of American pines, which have a relect distribution only along the San Diego coast (the largest grove of bigger trees is at Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve, a little farther south) and on Santa Rosa Island in the Channel Islands National Park.

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A California Ground Squirrel:

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The Ring-bills provided a photo-op for another photographer:

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And the bonus - a Heermann's Gull:

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I will be posting more of the ground squirrels and Heermann's Gulls in the Wildlife Forum
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Old Feb 21, 2010, 8:07 PM   #2
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Interesting post. I'm not familiar with the Torrey Pine. I know that there is a type of pine (I believe) that can be one of the potentially oldest, if not the oldest type tree on the planet. Think it grows in the high Sierras.

Of course California is home to the Redwoods and along with being huge, I'm assuming they also get to a ripe old age.

I've never had a desire to visit Hollywood, although I certainly would like to see many other parts of California and check out the wide variety of topography/animal/ bird/plant life in this wonderful state.
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Old Feb 21, 2010, 8:36 PM   #3
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The Torrey Pine is a very pretty tree, I like the shot. The Heermann's Gull picture is wonderful - they are prettier gulls.

Les - you are probably thinking of the Bristlecone Pines if you are talking oldest. There are a couple of different types and can be found in several spots in the Western US. The oldest ones (and one is the oldest living tree in the world) are found in a mountain range across the Owens Valley from the Sierras - we went there last summer and I posted some pictures of them. If you are talking largest (as in volume, not tallest) then you are probably thinking of the Giant Sequoias that are found in the Sierras. They aren't as old as the Bristlecone Pines but are far more impressive and famous.

California does have a number of unique places to visit - I still haven't seen all that I would like to. It's a wonderful place to live if you are interested in photography.
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Old Feb 21, 2010, 9:01 PM   #4
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The Torrey Pine is a very pretty tree, I like the shot. The Heermann's Gull picture is wonderful - they are prettier gulls.

Les - you are probably thinking of the Bristlecone Pines if you are talking oldest. Yes...I think that is the tree...can live to 4000 years +..have I got that right ?There are a couple of different types and can be found in several spots in the Western US. The oldest ones (and one is the oldest living tree in the world) are found in a mountain range across the Owens Valley from the Sierras - we went there last summer and I posted some pictures of them. If you are talking largest (as in volume, not tallest) then you are probably thinking of the Giant Sequoias that are found in the Sierras. They aren't as old as the Bristlecone Pines but are far more impressive and famous.

California does have a number of unique places to visit - I still haven't seen all that I would like to. It's a wonderful place to live if you are interested in photography.
It has always held a fascination for me...one of these days I would like to visit the state, particularly the Sierras, the northern part of California...Pacific Coast Highway...the list goes on...and on...
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Old Feb 21, 2010, 10:51 PM   #5
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Yes - the Bristlecone Pines can live over 4,000 + years. I posted quite a bit of information about them in this thread, based on our visit last summer: http://forums.steves-digicams.com/pe...-ancients.html , if you are interested.
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Old Feb 21, 2010, 11:14 PM   #6
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Bristlecone Pines are hardly the oldest plants in North America - they are pikers compared to the Creosote "Bush," which can be much, much older - the oldest yet identified is the "King Clone" in the Mojave Desert, believed to be 11,700 years old - perhaps the oldest living thing in the world! Creosote bushes can reach the size of small trees above ground, but grow outwards beneath the surface, putting up new genetically identical "sprouts" (called "clones") in advancing circles around the site of the original seedling, which may no longer be evident. The "King CLone" is 45 feet across, but you wouldn't recognize it while standing in the circle! This phenomenon was only discovered through aerial photographs which disclosed the circles or rings of the trees growing on the desert floor. Not a conventional tree by any means, and not spectacular to look at, but humbling to contemplate. Nature never ceases to amaze.
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Old Feb 21, 2010, 11:35 PM   #7
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Yes - the Bristlecone Pines can live over 4,000 + years. I posted quite a bit of information about them in this thread, based on our visit last summer: http://forums.steves-digicams.com/pe...-ancients.html , if you are interested.

Thank you, I look forward to reading your thread.

Les
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Old Feb 21, 2010, 11:36 PM   #8
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Bristlecone Pines are hardly the oldest plants in North America - they are pikers compared to the Creosote "Bush," which can be much, much older - the oldest yet identified is the "King Clone" in the Mojave Desert, believed to be 11,700 years old - perhaps the oldest living thing in the world! Creosote bushes can reach the size of small trees above ground, but grow outwards beneath the surface, putting up new genetically identical "sprouts" (called "clones") in advancing circles around the site of the original seedling, which may no longer be evident. The "King CLone" is 45 feet across, but you wouldn't recognize it while standing in the circle! This phenomenon was only discovered through aerial photographs which disclosed the circles or rings of the trees growing on the desert floor. Not a conventional tree by any means, and not spectacular to look at, but humbling to contemplate. Nature never ceases to amaze.
Penolta,

Thank you for the information. I am not familiar with this plant, but I intend to research further, as you have piqued my interest.

Les
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Old Feb 22, 2010, 1:33 AM   #9
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Hi penolta,

Another very educational post! and nicely shot!

I usually pretty much ignore gulls as I've got literally thousands of shots of the Ring Bills, but I really should look at them more closely since there are a few species that might turn up in my area along with the Caspian Terns I found last season.

Scott
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Old Feb 22, 2010, 9:02 AM   #10
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Penolta, thanks for showing the Heermann's gull. It is one we do not see on the east coast. Quite a handsome gull!

All the shots are nice but I like the Torrey Pine the most. The shape of the tree is nice and the framing of the shot with the ocean backdrop is perfect.

Lou
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