Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Of Terns and Skimmers

From Terns and Skimmers

Going to visit "our birds" in their local setting has been a consolation in times of stress. No matter what is going on in our personal world, the avian denizens keep on going in their lives as they have since time immemorial. We lose ourselves checking in, seeing what changes have transpired from week to week.
From Terns and Skimmers

Sometimes you get lucky. A local rarity -- black skimmers -- turned up at the Redwood Shores treatment ponds a few weeks ago. They came last year for several weeks, then moved on. In repose they are comical, cartoon-like birds, with extra-long bodies and great orange beaks, almost like a crow masquerading as a toucan. In flight they are breathtakingly gorgeous.

Another bird that's beautiful to watch in flight is the Forster's tern. This year they are back in droves. They have completely taken over two small islands in the north pond, presumably nesting in a place safe from predators. The non-nesting terns float in the air, making a great racket.
From Terns and Skimmers

I got very lucky watching one tern who decided to hang out in the south pond with the other birds. One week she was sitting in the lone clump of grass, presumably squaking away amidst the ducks and a few black skimmers who appeared to be sunbathing, wings spread out. Two weeks later, she was squaking at a small bird, all fluffy and golden in the evening light. In the photos, it's clearly a chick. Presumably a tern.

You never know what you are going to see, and you might miss it if you don't pay attention, and carry good binoculars.