Friday, July 11, 2008

Dine-By Birding

Thursday night was unusually balmy, so we headed to Foster City where several restaurants front on one of the lagoons. We dined outdoors at Portofino Grill and refrained from feeding some begging ducks. Something else -- a cross between a seagull and a swallow -- occasionally flitted in the air.

Afterward we walked down to the cul-de-sac behind Chevy's, where we could see a bevy of ducks around the landing. In the air, we spotted the something else we'd glimpsed earlier. Graceful, white, forked tail, black skullcap -- it hovered like an oversized hummingbird, wings beating, until it spotted something in the murky water. Then it dove sharply, emerging with a tiny fish a moment later.

After consulting the bird guides, we think it was a Forster's tern, which is fitting for Foster (no r) City. One breathtaking bird to watch. I keep thinking of Gerard Manley Hopkins "Windhover" :
My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird -- the achieve of; the mastery of the thing!

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