Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Piercing The Drum, Smelling The Hubris, with Violence and Force


People think American Avocets are just great, great birds. That's before you notice the feathered missile coming out of the sky, hoping it will get the chance to impale your eardrum with its bill that is shaped specifically for piercing human ear drums.


I think I brought some of the heat back with me from the Salton Sea. It's hot.

The Salton Sea trip was a great success...I got a state bird (holy shit), a bunch of year birds, some deec photos, my car made it over the mountains and back, and La Migra wasn't particularly annoying to deal with...some would call this trip a Great Success, and they would not be wrong.


That said, I haven't gone wading through the photos yet, so you'll have to wait for that.


"Hectic" is the best way to describe the scene over here at BB&B...the phones are ringing, email inboxes are about to explode, tweets are being tweeted, and my gang of interns are feeling the sting of the BB&B cat-o-nine-tails even more than usual. They flail and panic, I thrash them with the whip, and the Birdosphere just keeps on turning. They take great pride in their work though....you can practically smell the hubris in the air.


If their repeated attempts at physically piercing your eardrum fails, they will simply persist in battering it to bits with their high-pitched, incredibly annoying calls. This is the price you pay when you get even remotely close to an avocet nest or chicks.


Their similarly shaped cousins, Black-necked Stilts, are not quite as aggressive but can be just as annoying.


Fiddler crabs, on the other hand, are relatively harmless. But like shorebirds, their lives are often dictated by the state of the tide....a Daoist crustacean, no doubt. 


I have some friends who know plants, some who know fungus, some know butterflies, some know dragonflies, some who know herps...but who knows fish? What is this Snowy Egret about to inhale? Looks sculpinish, but that's all that I know. San Diego River (near the mouth), San Diego, CA.


Little Blue Herons are not known for their aerial prowess, but lo and behold, here it is.


The Black-crowned Night-Heron. This is one of very few species I feel like I have conquered with a camera, mostly due to the fact that Night-Herons in Oakland (where I spend a lot of time) don't act like other Night-Herons. This one, in a slightly more natural setting, was at grimy Lindo Lake, Lakeside, CA.


I think it is safe to say that the Caspian Tern own the most prehistoric voice in the kingdom of birds. Few other natural sounds so grating are uttered with such violence and force...truly shudder-inducing. San Diego River.


What's this thing? A Painted Lady? She's a hooker...I mean a looker. San Diego River.


Red-tailed Hawk. What can I say about a Red-tailed Hawk that hasn't been said more eloquently by someone else? I like this picture, although the lighting wasn't so good. Laguna Campground, Laguna Mountains, CA.

15 comments:

  1. I have had a few near misses by the ear drum piercing Avocets, they didn't listen when I asked them to pierce another hole in my ear lobes for earrings though. Probably just as well because I stopped wearing earrings when the Ravens, Crows and Magpies started following me around to try to abscound with the shiny bits in my ears. Having a murder of Ravens trailing after you can be a frightening thing.

    I can't tell you much about the fish in the Snowy Egret's bill other than is it called "bird food" and soon to be "bird poo".

    Love the post & images.

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    1. I'm not sure if this is a sign that I should or should not get earrings. Probably better for the birds I study to not have a plague of corvids following me.

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  2. I tell myself that an 11 oz bird won't choose to collide with a 175 pound man. After the first few attacks I don't even flinch.

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    1. One day, they will drive that needle sharp beak home. They are like tigers...never turn your back on an Avocet.

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  3. I'm glad there's someone else who is willing to publicly admit that the Avocets and Stilts, though graceful and beautiful, are also very very annoying with their incessant calling. I feel like often it's frowned upon to criticize the birds, but man they and the Killdeer really get to me sometimes...

    Great shots

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    1. Thanks Laurence. They can be incredibly irritating, people are fooled by their good looks. BTW your first vaguely educational Salton Sea post will be up this week.

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    2. Yes they're like...Valley Girls...

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  4. Don't you have a friend that knows snails, too?

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    1. Snails....oh yeah Cassin knows nudis. I used to get my snail on though, but I only learned a handful of species.

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  5. Yeah Caspian Terns are one of the few birds that can make my dogs go nuts with sound alone. I kind of like that about them. Bird food --> Bird poop = hilarious.

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  6. Your pictures are just "WOW"!

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  7. The picture of the hooker is a West Coast Lady, FWIW. See how the second dash in from the tip of the forewing is orange? Painted Ladies have white there instead:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/23836012@N02/5842138771/in/set-72157626858262297

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    1. I knew someone would come through, thanks for the lesson Cory.

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