Tuesday, September 03, 2019

What We Did Instead

We had planned to walk into town on Monday for the annual block party. It's quite a festive event with music, food, art, and a silent auction. But for some reason when it was time, we decided to go to the marsh instead where it's quiet and the air is cool with bay breezes.

We've been out to the marsh a few times in the past couple of weeks and I haven't taken  a single photo. Not one. It's still a nice place to walk even when nothing calls to me to grab my camera. So I was truly surprised and delighted to find a few things that called my attention.

Here's what we saw in our hour-long walk out there. First thing to call my attention was this Marbled Godwit. There were lots of them out there looking for food in the incoming tide.
We walked farther on along the rocky path and this dragonfly caught my eye. The wings flashed white in the afternoon light. I liked how it blended in with the stones.

Then the river otters popped up in one of the ponds. The fish were jumping like mad, and the otters were hunting for their lunch. I really think they were looking at me and trying to convey their discontent with my annoying presence.


We were most happy to see the Brown Pelicans. We hadn't seen them in more than a year, and it occurred to us that we hadn't even seen any the last time we were in Capitola in March. So seeing pelicans was such a good sign. (They had twice been driven nearly to extinction and were saved by the Endangered Species Act.)
 But it was this moment that made my day. I shouted a thank you to this bird for posing like this.

While I was reading about Brown Pelicans, I learned that this is called a Head Throw -- "it occurs when a pelican throws its head up and back, way way back! The head throw is thought to be a way for the pelican to stretch the skin of its gular pouch — its throat — in order to maintain its flexibility and health..." I love learning something new like this. 

Oh yes, we were glad that we had decided to head out to the marsh!

32 comments:

  1. Somehow I just can't imagine you having an annoying presence.

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    1. Paul-- To a river otter, I am. "Point that camera somewhere else, human!"

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  2. Wow! Yes! Instead!

    Your photos today from your walk with roger are astonishingly evocative of my dear friend, Deven, who died last February. I wish the two of you could have met each other. I think of you as kindred spirits. Deven was passionate about photographing birds. Many years ago Deven sent me a framed close-up photo portrait of a Brown Pelican that she may have photographed on the pier in Ventura. I have a substantial collection of photos she took of birds in Ventura County. She, like you, noticed things other people might not notice. It is likely that she observed that the pelican head throw.

    Deven was fond of otters and their playfulness and even embroidered an otter's quizzical face on one of her shirts back in the day when we did embroidery on our clothing.

    Coincidentally, today would have been the 69th birthday of Deven's husband, Kevin, who died of ALS in 1991. He, too, would have been delighted by what you and roger saw.

    Thank you so much for this post today, robin andrea!

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    1. am-- I love that this post reminded you of someone who you dearly love. It's the best part of the internet, awakening memories of the heart.

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  3. Love the birds, otters and dragonfly! Yes, these friends of nature gave you wonderful photos and I'm so glad you took that walk, and shared them here! Otters speak to me, but I also love brown pelicans!

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    1. Barbara-- I'm so glad you liked the photos. Our world is full of beautiful critters.

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  4. I’d say you made an excellent choice. OTTERS! Any chance to see some otters should be taken

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    1. Linda-- I like seeing river otters and LOVE seeing sea otters. Wild mammals in our world make me happy.

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  5. Good eye on these critters. sometimes they're not easy to spot.

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    1. Red-- I love looking for wildlife. It's the best part of the natural world.

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  6. I've seen pelicans in Florida do that same thing! I've never seen a godwit before. Interesting bird!

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    1. Steve-- In all the times we've seen pelicans here on the west coast, I've never seen one do this before. I loved it!! Godwits are pretty popular here, there's even a Godwit Days celebration. https://www.godwitdays.org/

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    1. 37paddington-- So glad to share them with you.

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  8. And we're all glad that you went to the marsh "instead".

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    1. bev-- Yes! I would have had photos of humans instead. We made a good choice!

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  9. How lucky you were!! Sometimes it pays to do something else instead.

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    1. Sharon-- Yes, we were lucky and happy to change our plans.

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  10. Think you made a great choice. I know I enjoyed it. I'm a huge fan of otters and there desire to play. I have seen Pelicans do that but had no idea why. Thank you. I usually learn something here.

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    1. Patti-- It's always a treat to see otters. River otters are in the Weasel Family (isn't that interesting?). They are semi-aquatic. Interesting creatures they are. I don't think I've ever seen a Pelican do this, and I loved that we saw it!

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  11. Now that was a nice walk seeing all those critters, well worth the effort

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    1. Billy-- It was so good to see the critters out there. We had missing them.

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  12. Otters! I'd choose to see otters over anything. Well done.

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    1. Sabine-- We like seeing those river otters too. They are such interesting semi-aquatic mammals.

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  13. You made a good decision. Love all the photographs, especially the stretch-the-gullet one.

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    1. NCmountainwoman-- Yes, that stretch the gullet moment definitely made my day!

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  14. Well, I certainly enjoyed your visit to the marsh. I'm off to see some Godwits (Black-Tailed rather than marbled) tomorrow, I hope. Our freshwater otters are virtually nocturnal and very wary of human presence; if one just stared at me I'd count myself very lucky. Pelicans I've only ever seen in a zoo.

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    1. John-- I hope you get to see the Black-tailed Godwits and photograph them. I'd love to see one. The river otters are often out during the day here. Makes me wonder if they are a different sub-species. Mmm? We love to see the pelicans. Sometimes there are so many they cover the small islands in the ponds.

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  15. Oh how splendid a decision that was. And so often the unexpected exceeds. Great, I mean *great*, pictures. Thank you.

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    1. Catalyst-- Thank you so much for your kind words. So glad you liked these photos.

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  16. If I had to make the same choice between a block party and a marsh walk, the walk would have won out as well. Glad you brought along a camera to share the photos, Robin.

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    1. Beatrice-- We're glad the marsh walk won as well. I would've hated missing that pelican head throw!

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