Prickly pear cactus with fruit and ceanothus flowers.
Sunday we took a field trip to the East Bay. We had lunch at Sea Salt on San Pablo in Berkeley. They specialize in seafood and were serving the brunch menu. Steve had the BBQ Eel 'Banh Mi' with cabbage slaw and house-made potato chips. It's a Vietnamese style sandwich made with unagi, which is the eel like you get when you order sushi. (This was a pretty bold choice, I thought.) I ordered the Fried Cod Cheeks with crispy potatoes, black olive, parsley and two poached eggs. Seems like "cheeks"of all sorts are very popular these days on trendy menus. Steve's slaw was great. I couldn't put my finger on what the seasoning was, but it tasted unique. My entree was good, although a bit too oily for my taste. The place was pretty nice. They have an outdoor eating area in the back. It was a little cool, but still nice enough to sit outside. Michael Bauer gave the place a pretty good review.
After lunch we headed over to the UC Botanical Garden. It is located in Strawberry Canyon, in the hills above the UC Berkeley campus. What a tranquil spot. We enjoyed the peaceful atmosphere and I practiced using the macro option on our little digital camera to capture some spring blooms. As soon as we stepped into the "California" section, we noticed a garter snake wriggling away under some plants. There were lots of these Coast range fence lizards.
I took pictures of the manzanita, I think it was Arctostaphylos densiflora. There are different varieties there. Here are the pretty delicate white bell-shaped flowers:
Here you see the ripe red berries:
And I was trying to get a shot of the light shining through the peeling red bark of a manzanita bush, and managed to capture a spider's web as well.
It was a good place to go to view some blooming California native plants, since I'm trying to decide what to plant in my backyard. There were quite a few birds: Bushtits, Ruby-crowned kinglets, Chestnut-backed chickadees, Red-shafted flickers, Turkey vultures, and some singing birds whose songs I did not recognize. Also, there were Anna's hummingbirds displaying. I saw this article in the paper recently that two UC Berkeley students recently determined that they make the rather loud sound with their wings, instead of vocally, which I think is really cool.
We had to cut our visit short because they close the gate at 5:00 sharp. It was too bad, because of today being the first day of "springing forward" the clocks, we got an even later than usual start and there was still a lot of daylight left. We hated to leave. Tomorrow I will post the pink wildflower photos.