Thank heaven I traveled a day earlier than I’d originally intended. The daughter and her roommate picked me up at the terminal which 24 hours later would be shut down after a horrible shooting. But I knew none of that then.
After a lunch of beautiful bagel sandwiches, they took me to the beach nearest their apartment, as I so wanted to commune with the ocean. Just a couple of days before, I’d been crunching through snow. Within a few steps of shedding shoes, I paused for a deeply appreciative moment, feet buried in warm sand, and just breathed in the ocean air.
Something in the fish family was obviously making a run along the coast, as birds were in a feeding frenzy. A local gentleman strolling past said it was probably anchovies. I’ve been known to swoon over anchovies myself, though I’ve never had to chase them down on the, so to speak, hoof.
“A curious bird is the pelican…..” Watching them dive is astonishing. They’ll glide along over the surface of the ocean, then suddenly fold their wings back about half way, lean forward while fixing an eye on a target only they can see, and plunge beak-first into the water, bobbing to the surface to tilt their heads to the sky and gulp the bounty caught in their pouches. Then take to the air and do it all over again.
Grebes go about chasing down lunch a bit differently. Lacking a pelican’s wingspan, they dive from the surface, swimming underwater with their strong, short wings as they chase down their prey. Interestingly, they seemed to take being in close proximity to dive-bombing pelicans as just another day at the beach. Okay, please admit that made you smile.
The marbled godwit, on the other hand, sticks to the shoreline. As waves sweep in, it will actually run farther ashore until they sweep back out, leaving lunch behind. It pokes that lovely, long beak deep into wet sand searching for aquatic insects, small mollusks, crustaceans and snails. Where the water birds congregate in clans, the godwit is a solitary soul.
As the afternoon drew late, it was time to move on and wend our way up the coast to meet up with my sister, who was driving down from her home farther north. As if the day couldn’t get any better.