26 October 2007

The pelican horde

31August2007, Friday, about 5:15pm
I approach the creek this afternoon from the east, walking back along the southern extension of the estuary. A thick fog covers the coastline, while directly above me, just a couple hundred yards from the surf, blue sky oozes through the thinning gray mists. I hear a chorus of small chirps of seemingly small birds, but damned if I didn't forget the binoculars this time, so I can't tell you what they were.

A startled heron I hadn't noticed before his long legs lift off before me, squawks loudly on his escape.

As I near the the head of the creek, silhouettes of pelicans emerge, backlit against the light gray fog. Closer in, hundreds of pelicans line the sandspit and creek shoreline, surrounded by even larger masses of seagulls. Western and Heerman's gulls. I postulated yesterday, there may be both Western and California gulls, but no...just westerns today. Just red spots on the bills. No one sports both black and red splotches on their yellow snouts.

The pelicans are not as patient with me as the gulls. They won't let me within 50 feet before they hop three times on the sand, broad wings slowly revving up to a full getaway speed, and lifting out towards seastacks hidden behind the fog. They don't go far before circling en masse and returning a safe 100 feet or so ahead of me.

The seagulls, on the other hand, let me get a bit closer, maybe 25 feet, before they either run, wings raised ready to alight, or take off on a quick circling flight and land behind my footsteps.

The thick fog clings tightly to the surf zone. The constant drumming of waves ending their 5000 mile journey: the heartbeat of the planet.

Walking back southward on the beach, the fog, a thick mist really, coats the inside of the right lens of my spectacles. Without even realizing it, the right side and top of my hair is also soaked from this heavier than expected mist.

A lower phase of the tide than yesterday afternoon, so the drop off from the sandspit's crest is more precipitous today.

The beach has been scoured smooth of all footprints, save mine, since the last tide.

Hasta la proxima.

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