Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A seething river of birds

We ate dinner at The Depot Restaurant in Long Beach (very good), and then went to the beach itself. It is long, and sandy, and we walked to the Pacific to take some pictures. And then we saw a river of birds - an endless stream of dark shapes pouring over the water going north. Along with them came string after string (skein, like geese?) of pelicans, big enough to see as individuals, twisting and diving into the water. Sooty shearwaters by the thousands - maybe the tens of thousands - and hundreds of pelicans. There were some gulls, too, larger than the shearwaters, but not so many; they were mainly on the beach, watching. The birds kept coming for at least twenty minutes - still going strong when we had to leave. It was the most astonishing thing I've seen in maybe ever.

a river of birds over water

mass of birds

mass of birds

mass of birds

mass of birds

pelicans amid shearwaters

mass of birds

pelicans flying

pelicans and gulls on beach

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At 9:23 AM, August 11, 2011 Blogger Barry Leiba had this to say...

«(skein, like geese?)»

Or maybe exaltation, like larks?

At 12:26 AM, August 13, 2011 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

I think the term is either "pod" or "scoop", but I was thinking of the way they fly, in a long undulating line as each bird rises and falls.

At 8:21 AM, August 13, 2011 Blogger eileeninmd had this to say...

Wow, what a cool sighting. Fantastic photos.

At 7:16 AM, August 18, 2011 Blogger Stan had this to say...

What an amazing scene! I'm trying to imagine what it must have sounded like.

On a tangent, skein is a word I don't see very often; it's been in my head a bit more since I read The Tangled Skein, a better-than-it-has-a-right-to-be mashup of Sherlock Holmes and Dracula.


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