We had one day without the smoke haze yesterday, being the eternal optimist I thought it would last a while. I was mistaken it has returned today carried on our prevailing breeze from the North. That is common for California as I suspect is true of all Ocean bordering States. The Pacific Ocean controls the weather on the West Coast directed by high pressure and low pressure cells. I think about the jet stream, I suspect we do not know for sure if it will stay as it has for the past unknown thousands of years.
I spent the morning chasing the birds on the slough, mostly Terns and Seagulls.
They are returning right on time just before the wind stops within the next two weeks or so. I should probably say if it continues to follow the same pattern it has for the past 20 years I know of. It’s fun to photograph them in flight, I place my back to the wind and sun then practice taking only the images I attempt to set up the composition on. The majority of the birds were co-operating, apparently they got the memo I sent out. I haven’t seen any fledgling Gulls this year I’m assuming the wind has been too steady and strong. The young birds can get into trouble rapidly in the breeze, their skills are not refined and may get caught in the wind.
Not too many years ago I came across a Barn Owl Fledgling that got caught in it and was dashed upon a utility pole. On a construction site it would have stopped the job; whenever a predatory bird is found dead on the sites an investigation is in order. None have been found this year, but I can’t help but notice the shoddy condition the Gulls are in. Nearly every picture I have taken over the past few days shows SeaGulls like the one above disheveled. I suspect they are molting because it is uncommon for them to come to the party in that condition. It doesn’t seem to hamper their flying ability or their enthusiasm.
The Terns on the other hand always dress in freshly cleaned and pressed attire. Many of them are migratory which means they may not change feathers until they arrive back home. I’m guessing about that but it remains they are pretty birds. I’d like to say they are one of my favorites but I have yet to find one that isn’t making my opinion moot. Just about the time I tire of one species making a constant appearance a new bunch shows up to shuffle the deck. Lately it’s the SeaGulls, I can’t predict what will show up next. They remain fun to photograph.
The Hawks apparently are off on holiday for the summer, I’ve seen few; I suspect they sense the light smoke and have flown towards it to hunt. They will hover in front of the flames watching for the escaping Mice, Snakes and other creatures then attacking them. In Australia they have been observed carrying burning embers to an unburned area to start another fire. It has not been seen happening in our part of the woods.
However an Arsonist has been arrested, a college professor that has started dozens of them. It doesn’t surprise me most fires are Arson started, it’s kind of a best known secret the Insurance Companies keep close to their vest. The report says the maximum sentence is 5 years and a fine, whoopee do. I suppose they don’t know people have died, houses burned down and lives destroyed. In my opinion Arsonists should get life in prison with no possibility of parole; it would send a strong message. Earlier a Woman was apprehended for Arson, she also started no less than a dozen fires, again lock them up. There are more, that’s the 800 pound Gorilla in the closet, the effort to find them is working but perhaps we need more people looking.
Jacques Lebec Natural Self Reliance