Sunday, June 5, 2011

Day 26: Osprey tease and willet kamikazes

We have ospreys on the platform, that's the good news. The bad news is that they took off as soon as they saw me.  I might have disturbed a he'n-she'n session, but to my credit, there was at least an acre of heavy shrubbery between us. That's plenty of privacy for most lovers. I immediately called Tony who came down and watched them circle the platform for a few minutes. We decided to give them a break and sneak around the bay side to see if they'd returned. After a half hour they hadn't. But it's a good omen, I think. [UPDATE: Broc checked Sunday and they still weren't there]

The willets were very vocal today.

In flight they are said to make a "pill-will-willet" sound. But those field guide song descriptions never sound like the real thing to me. Birds create matrices of consonants and vowels beyond the purview of the English alphabet. Describing bird call through written word is like describing thrash metal through interpretive dance.

I didn't manage to record the "pill-will-willet" flight call, but I did capture their unceasing ground sound:

Two pairs occupy the marsh now. They nest in the spartina grass. Anytime I would approach their little area, one of them (I can't distinguish between sexes) would make a low beeline for my face and veer off about four feet away. Always to the right.

I didn't see any eggs or chicks, but I did find a small mound of downy feathers which might have been the remains of an unlucky hatchling. If that's the case they'll probably try again.

On to cleanup. During low tide periods I focus on raking the infinite mats of plastic debris woven into the dead grass. I wonder what conclusions the alien archaeologists will draw when millennia from now they discover the obscene variety of expendables we manufactured from such an in-expendable resource. Below is my homage to the material that makes the world go round.

I invite any 'found materials' artist to drop by sometime. We can also offer you an endless supply of water bottles, shopping bags, and household detergent/ cleaner/ drano-type bottles. Consider where these things might end up next time you toss one in the trash. The stuff is so small and widely dispersed that it spoils not only the environment but my before-and-after shots.

High of 78, average wind NW @ 9 MPH, 4.8 high tide @ 10:21 AM. Moon 4% visible.
Water level recorded at 3 inch mark.
Birds seen in marsh: mallard, dove, starling, red winged blackbird, cardinal, willet, osprey, common tern, least tern, oystercatcher, crow, skimmer

1 comment:

  1. I lived for 5 yrs at Nortons Point, better known as Sea Gate--the beach there had this same filth and I came to the conclusion that the ships DuMP their sewage in the Verrazano Narrows before getting to the docks in the city--and it all washes up on shore....I was always disgusted. I rescued a couple of gulls with fishing line around their legs and saw many that had only one leg...Im so happy to find someone such as yourself that really puts his actions where his mouth is BRAVO! I got out of the city in 2006 and never looked back..
    Great shots of the Willet--