This might sound like a diversion as dreary as the day, but I am convinced that there is nothing as foolish and dignified as a seabird. We love photographing them. These are the pelicans that we saw that day:
They have thick, clumsy bodies, but they are beautiful flyers, and when they discern a fishy shadow 40 feet down, they will dive straight down.
Sometimes, islands of kelp are washed ashore, and for some reason this attracts egrets. Their feathers are now safe from hats and fans so they are content to take leisurely walks through the decaying country that appeals to them so much.
Their chaste whiteness, brutally pure as arsenic, stands out on the brown and sandy shore, but they are not afraid:
We see cormorants too. They are graceless, but amusing. Their feathers are not waterproof, so once ashore they will hold their wings aloft, to dry in the sun. They are timid, but I was able to get fairly close:
All shorebirds are beautiful – even those with their Cyrano-like beaks, running towards the wet sand to hunt for nibbly-bits, before scurrying back to the dryness when the tide comes in. In between meals, they whistle and trill in an atonal song:
Seagulls are loud, greedy, rude, and not very smart. I find them charming, and more than once their loudness, greed, rudeness and/or stupidity has made me laugh out loud. In the air they navigate the invisible currents with invention and grace. On land they are content to look heavy and smug.
And they will steal your sandwich if you’re not careful. I have witnessed this.
Seabirds remind me of mermaids – wretched and clumsy on the sand, but transformed once they reach their desired world. No bird is content on the ground. But once aloft, they spin, soar, glide, dive and negotiate the feisty breezes that tickle their feathers.
They stay on the beach for only a short while before leaving. And I can’t help but wonder what visions they see on their blue journeys, through fogs and salty clouds, past unknown tides, what silver creatures they witness glittering through the water like scattered pearls. I wonder about the stories they come back with, when they reach land once more, trapped behind their black, uncommunicative eyes.