Living in tight, urban quarters throughout the pandemic year, our most therapeutic escape has been the occasional, local road trip to the coast, to the salt air and ocean winds. On the way to Half Moon Bay one morning, we stopped at Skylawn Memorial Park on the recommendation of a friend who’d photographed Red Crossbills there. A crossbill would be a life bird for both of us, so we made a short detour onto Skylawn before cresting the hill to ocean mist and bliss.
The memorial park and cemetery is surrounded by nature preserves, and overlooks a scenic, lush trough in the Montara mountains, one that sweeps from the hill crest out to the ocean. The various gardens were designed with the help of Feng Shui masters. And, an added bonus is that the water features attract birds, including these unusual and beautiful ones, with their crossed bills and vivid red, rust, and yellow colors.