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Three years ago Creighton and I took ownership of our condominium at The Breakers in Long Beach, Washington. Photographing the birds that I see when we are there, keeps me curious and always learning. For Amy’s challenge this week, I’ve narrowed the choices to a few birds with narrow beaks.
The first time I saw and identified Greater Yellowlegs was in 2017, our first winter into spring living in this wetland paradise. This shot accentuates the bird’s silhouette, with its elegant yellow legs, graceful neck and body, big alert eye, and long narrow beak.
That same spring this Baird’s Sandpiper dabbled in the marsh, on its migration from South America to breeding grounds in the high Arctic tundra.
Northern (Red-Shafted) Flickers frequent my suet feeders in Vancouver, WA. What a thrill it was to watch this adult feed its fledge and teach it to nourish itself.
Short-billed only in comparison to its cousin the Long-billed Dowitcher! “Both species use their long narrow beak to forage for food by rhythmically inserting it straight up and down like a sewing machine needle at work.” allaboutbirds.org
In June 2019, a flock of migrating Brown Pelicans settled into the waters on the beach where Jello and I take our walks. This shot of a juvenile resting in the gently lapping surf, highlights how elegant these birds are, with their sinuous neck and long narrow beak.
“Brown Pelicans mostly eat small fish that form schools near the surface of the water—including menhaden, mullet, anchovies, herring, and sailfin mollies. A foraging pelican spots a fish from the air and dives head-first from as high as 65 feet over the ocean, tucking and twisting to the left to protect its trachea and esophagus from the impact. As it plunges into the water, its throat pouch expands to trap the fish, filling with up to 2.6 gallons of water.” https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Brown_Pelican/overview
Egocentric as we are, Homo sapiens find it hard to imagine a future on Earth without us being in it. Though we know our bodies will die, we proceed as though human beings will persevere on planet Earth no matter what.
I believe this sweet old world will whirl in her orbit around her star with her dear moon pulling the tides, long after human beings have extinguished our species and many others. The soup will be different, and out of it some life forms will emerge, much like after the last extinction event 66 million years ago, when most dinosaurs died, but birds survived.
The past two winters, dune land between our condo and the beach were dry. Heavy rainstorms this winter have transformed the meadow to marshes with swelling ponds once again. When we left last week, there were about six Mallard pairs, and one Canada goose pair plying the waters. They give me hope I will see duckling and goslings this spring.
As a citizen scientist associated with the Cornel Lab of Ornithology for over 12 years, I am saddened to learn that nearly 3 billion birds are gone. “A new study finds steep long-term losses across virtually all groups of birds in the U.S. and Canada.” Providing habitat and food for birds is simple and inexpensive. February 14-17, is “The Great Backyard Bird Count.” To learn more and get involved click the link to Cornell Labs.
From the Razor Clam Capital on the Long Beach Peninsula, Washington state, USA – a twist on the challenge!
Not quite what Viveka had in mind, I’m sure! Still, I hope you have a laugh at least!