I used frequent flier miles to spend Christmas with relatives in St. Helena, California and to attend a Hoyer reunion in Walnut Creek. But of course I combined it with some birding.
For two nights I stayed with my friends Joe Morlan and Robbie Fischer and on the 23rd they guided me around the San Francisco region in search of some of the local rarities. We easily saw the Worm-eating Warbler right in downtown, then picked up the Orchard Oriole (below) at Fort Mason.
Then we looked for the Northern Shrike that had been at Las Gallinas near San Raphael, but we couldn't find it and instead just enjoyed a great birding area.
Christmas was fabulous at Aunt Marjorie and Lynn's place in St. Helena. We had 17 adults and two kids there for dinner. Dad and Sharon stayed in Oregon due to bad road conditions from recent storms, and Aunt Virginia and Uncle Ed decided to stay in Sacramento for the day. Here are some photos from the day.
Roger and cousin Stuart (Roger is my cousins' uncle through their father)
First cousin once removed Talia Jolie (Andrew and Meiko's daughter)
First cousin once removed Leah (Jennifer and Michael's daughter) and Aunt Marjorie
Cousin Andrew and Meiko