Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Birds at the beach

I wish there were something prettier to follow up that last post with, but...

I spent an hour or two at the beach after work yesterday and as much as I love it, I'm kinda scared to swim in the ocean and so mostly I just wade in a ways and try not to drown. The lifeguards here are so militant anyway, I guess because of the riptides, that they hardly let you go into the water deep enough to actually swim.

So I sat in the shallows with the gulls, letting the ocean fill my bikini bottom up with sand, just like a little kid. Fun! Gulls are pretty tolerant of people in the summertime, especially if they think you have food. They're interesting to watch; the way they eye you over as you approach, how they watch each other and give chase if another finds an interesting morsel in the surf. They especially like pizza flavored Combos and will swallow them whole. Something really cool I saw yesterday was a bunch of those little fish the terns catch started jumping up out of the water... I guess to escape some predator down below (maybe a bluefish?)... and the gulls all got up at once and were grabbing those tormented fish right out of the air! I've even watched the burly gulls try to sneak up on a lone sanderling... explains why sanderlings are so flighty, I guess.

Terns are my favorites; probably I could watch them all day. I guess their young have recently fledged and the parents are still feeding them while they learn to fish for themselves. It seemed they were fishing in pairs and the adult would return to the sand with a fish in its bill, young one following behind, and land to feed the baby... sweet! Anyone else ever see that? I would think terns are acrobatic enough to be able to do a fish exchange in mid-air and wonder why they bother to land at all.

The laughing gulls are starting to look all disheveled... the summer's drawing to a close, I guess.

Anything interesting happening with the birds in your neighborhood?


Rabbits' Guy said...

Saw a blue heron sitting on a bridge railing. I imagined aother blue heron sitting by him saying "Don't jump Harry, things will get better" - whispers to the side .."it won't work anyway" :<)

Forest Green said...

I live near Mary's Point Western Hemispheric Shorebird Reserve where millions of birds stop to feed on the Bay of Fundy mud shrimp on their way migrating south. Flocks of Sandpipers, Sanderlings and Plovers by the thousands dancing in the air. It's really spectacular.

Brasil said...

Hi Laura, I've been seeing a nice breeding pair of Cardinals visiting my feeder this year. Also some occasional Eastern Golfinch.

NCmountainwoman said...

Nothing terribly exciting except our last group of fledgling titmice. They are soooo cute.