Monday, October 13, 2008

Pelican Brief-ly

Yesterday, my wife and I did something that we haven't done for awhile. It was refreshing, exciting and such fun even if it lasted only a little more than an hour.

We went birding in the afternoon. At Bolsa Chica. We were so used at driving there without any problem that we were just appalled at the traffic jams we encountered.

After an hour and a half (what normally takes less than an hour), we finally arrived at our destination. Surprisingly, there weren't too many people around. The boardwalk was almost empty.

Then we found out why. Blustery winds that further lowered the temperature of an already chilly afternoon. But we were prepared - having worn jackets and sweaters in anticipation of such a weather condition.

The Pelicans were there, putting on their usual show of leaping from their swimming position, flying low and then plunging into the water after some unfortunate fish.

The usual denizens of a coastal mud flat were there. It was dinnertime for the birds and this Long-billed Curlew was enjoying a fresh mussel still in its shell.

A Black-bellied Plover, on the other hand, was able to "un-shell" its meal.

One reason why I wanted to go to Bolsa Chica was to see the Reddish Egret. It has been a year since we last saw it - and it was at some distance when we did. I was hoping we would get some closer looks this time. At the trail east of the tidal gates, we saw a juvenile Reddish Egret cavorting at a place too far for our camera lenses. I prefer to see the more colorful adult anyway, I told my wife. By now the sun was getting close to the horizon, so we decided to hike back. Don't worry, Cynthia assured me, God will send the Egret to us. It was while I was shooting at the moon (literally) halfway through the return trail, that I glimpsed an adult Reddish Egret fly by and land at a mudflat not too far away. I called my wife's attention to it and as the sun's fading light bathed the place in a warm red-orange glow, we had our moment with the lovely egret. That orange glow and the blowing wind created an image that seemed like the egret was on fire. I thought it appropriate to call it, "The Firebird".

No comments: