Birds of a feather…Part 2
I always wondered if a Phoenix was part dragon but it is a bird. In Chinese fiction they are both known as supernatural spirits. Traveling between the skies and the earth, dragons were considered the heads of heavenly deities and governors of rainfall in Chinese culture. The phoenix was commonly referred to as the “King of Birds.” As sovereign of all birds, it has the head of a golden pheasant, a parrot’s beak, the body of a mandarin duck, the wings of a roc, peacock feathers and the legs of the crane. I had a wonderful sunset a few days ago that made me think of them both, but it was a dragon, an auspicious sign according to many. Fingers crossed, we need all the auspiciousness we can get in life:) That is a long word! I’ll keep my eyes out for a phoenix in the clouds as well!
There are many birds missing this year, the flocks. Of Whimbrel, Godwits and Willets. The beaches are quiet. A biologist friend mentioned that the avian flu could be to blame. It seems so quiet at high tide when the beach used to be covered, every single inch, in birds, now just sand.
There are still whimbrels and willets, but singular birds poking about in the reeds and grasses looking for food. I do miss the flocks and hope they recover. Our world is changing, sometimes I try not to think too much about what I can’t change and try to concentrate on what I can. I noticed there are no plastic shopping bags in many of the big stores, instead they flog their cheap bags of material which may not last much longer than the plastic ones, just a way around a rule.
The wading birds are always somewhat blasé about me wandering around, they look, they go back to foraging. In coastal areas, they probe in the mud with their long bills for shellfish, crabs, and fish. Curlews will also eat other nesting birds. So, omnivores if they can’t get their crustacean fill. The Willets are fond of the crabs, you can find a few under every rock. Gamora loves to chase them and has learned that yes, they do pinch HARD! As did Groot learn in his youth as well. Gamora makes a bee line for the beach each morning. If there is too much noise (construction work on houses at the end of the lane) she hesitates unless we are both walking with her, then it’s a dash to the sand, where she rolls and revels in it like a true beach princess! Lordy lordy if we are tardy getting going in the morning either! There is mad “window swimming” to let us know to get a move on, it’s walk time!
Groot and Rocket have decided the construction is too dangerous and simply want to patrol the street, sniffing out where “hijo de Benito” has been. Benito was a handsome orange cat with a collar and tag with his name that frequented these streets, he lived here somewhere nearby a few years back. Now there is his mini me so we are calling him hijo de Benito. He’s a little shit that rubs up against you, then attacks you when he’s had enough pets. I have claw mark scars…he doesn’t like our troop of gigantic orange cats, freaks he says and wanders away hissing and growling. Groot feels the same way, I think Gamora thinks he’s cute. Girls….He’s decided he is outnumbered and saves his visits for the midnight hours now so thankfully no further confrontations. I tell the mewberries that they are visitors here…so behave!
Our neighbours must think us freaks as well as the guys working here riding by on their bikes…walking cats…yeah, whatever. I explained to one gardener who asked, why not just let them out? Well, loose dogs and in other places coyotes…he just shrugged. Ok, maybe we are helicopter cat parents. Life is short and I really don’t want to watch another coyote or owl fly away with our pets. Way too f*cking painful.
So, we will walk our cats on leashes for as long as we are traveling…back at the cottage the two boys are allowed to wander off leash supervised, the crazy princessa has proved to be a bit too wild and brave for her own good! “Impetuous little thing!” Groot says! Very bad!
Ok, back to birds! Ha! The Mewberries do like to watch the hummingbirds at the feeder. One of the current male Anna’s seems to think buzzing them is a good idea…not I keep telling him!
There are a variety of small and larger birds along the small road here. The House Sparrows and Finches have learned to find the feeder. They are not terribly keen on the giant sunflowers seeds I bought, all I could find, and would like to see more of the small black oilseed ones! We have a beautiful leucistic house sparrow, not albino, it’s a condition in which there is partial loss of pigmentation resulting in white, pale, or patchy coloration of the skin, hair, feathers, scales or cuticle, but not the eyes (caused by a reduction in multiple types of pigment, not just melanin). The Bushtits are hilarious, tiny little birds that are so fast. I stood by a bush for half an hour before I managed to get a few shots even in focus, they move constantly, often hanging upside down to pick at insects or spiders on the undersides of leaves. There are several Say’s Phoebes that hang around as well, swooping down for the occasional insect and chatting away. I stop and watch them as I walk out towards the estuary, I just seem to be drawn there. That late day light and sunsets, just are so beautiful…
I did get sidetracked from birds didn’t I? Ha! Short attention span theater here! The sound of the surf can be heard pretty much 24 hours a day here, that low rumble in the background. I am going to walk out later, such big surf has been reported North of us maybe a few are breaking on the beach here. Many happy surfers, or terrified ones, depending on their skill level! The tide in the morning is high so I wait until later in the day to go visit my Heron and Egret friends. I’ll leave with a few more shots of them and will save our off estuary escapades for another blog;) Saludos amigos! Somebody needs to feed Mike!