Friday, March 03, 2006

California Birds

Last night there was a rain storm and my room rocked like a ship. I think because the house I live in has pedimented dormers, they catch the wind like sails and the house sways. I don't mind at all; I like it. I woke up to the fury of the storm with a profound sense of well-being, and then fell back asleep. Then this morning I was awakened by all these starlings having a tremendous fuckfest outside my windows. It is their season, and they're all fluttering and pecking one another in the face and pumping away. They make noise that isn't exactly singing, and it isn't exactly chirping--it's more like--I dunno, the bird equivalent of a whole stadium of people cheering after a touchdown.

There are some days here where the bird patterns astonish me. I remember a few months ago walking on the winter beach at Moss Landing and coming on a transylvania of gulls--more gulls than I could begin to imagine, cross-hatching the sky, flapping ragged above and in the surf, overhead, as far down the beach as I could see. The beach was so spotted with gull shit there was nowhere to place a bare foot; it was like someone had upended an enourmous wastebasket of white paper, just shaking, shaking out gull after gull--a sight both beautiful and frightening. I am not especially fond of gulls, and seeing them in a --what's a good word for an exponential flock? A flock to the nth power--and not knowing what they were doing or why--it was astonishing. A few days later they were gone. The beach had returned to its standard quota of gulls, and the tiny sandpipers were back, and the wimbrels.

I love Moss Landing, too, because of the egrets, tremendously white and graceful and abundant. They fish in the slough. (Someone has put lawn flamingoes in the shallows near where the egrets hunt. Every time I see this,I am amused.) When the ice plants are green and red and blooming, the pure white of the egret pops you in the face like a good clean snowball.

2 Comments:

Blogger Jonnie 7-11 said...

When Sandralein & I were walking to the International Crossroads festival from our parking spot, there were a bunch of birds hopping around on the phones lines - when we looked at them, they were green! It was a bunch of parrots that apparently escaped from somewhere. Very colorful! We tried talking to them, but they ignored us.

7:28 PM  
Blogger AEP said...

I love that! There are wild parrots in San Francisco, too. I had a similar experience--I looked up one day and thought, WTF? Parrots? It felt so exotic.

9:45 AM  

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