Birds and Wildfire.

The slough was fairly active this morning with the wind blowing, Swallows zipping around and the Vultures took to the air around 11am. It wasn’t exactly the crack of dawn, I suppose we could call it the crack of noon. The wildfire smoke is not heavy it started with a gray haze normally associated with Smog, the mix of smoke and fog. I remain confident the light smoke is keeping the critters away. Although I was talking to a man yesterday who had driven through the Delta just North East of here and he said he’s never seen so many water birds.

This Egret reflection was taken fall 2020 before the wind moved in. I came across it while revisiting my galleries which I do often. There is always little tweaks that can be made, the more one edits the better the skill becomes. He’s in one of his common hunting spots often catching small fish, mostly Sunfish, and small animals on the side of the Levee. They are always out here no matter what the weather may present to them. They visit even in the haze.

The Terns were active this morning flying against the wind, hovering then diving into the water. I was waiting for the opportunity to get a picture of them nose diving but each time they did the distance was too far. Sooner or later they do dive in front of me or slightly off to the side.

I was expecting this Tern to dive as it was setting up hovering however at the last instant had a change of mind flying off to the North instead. Apparently they are able to see through the waves to capture fish. I’ve often thought birds see much differently than humans. I first thought about it years ago when I read that Crows and Ravens are able to distinguish foe from friend. My thought is they may be capable of seeing many more colors than us, perhaps in an infra-color domain we don’t even know exists. The black birds may be gayly colored from their perspective. That may also be the reason Eagles are “Eagle Eyed”.

Flying into the wind low to the water is an advantage for me, but it most likely makes it more difficult for the birds to see deeply to where the fish are. This Tern was skimming the water, I was able to take a nearly good detailed image but it was too out of focus It went to the trash can, one of those that was hard to delete. The picture above shows seconds before it lowered to the water and to begin to skim.

Turkey Vultures were out, as usual, and I saw one far away Hawk making it not photograph convenient. They are very dark as well, during my noon session the overhead Sun was in the wrong spot. I much prefer these light birds during the 10am to 6pm time when the light is at its most intense. The shadows on a Tern can be dealt with successfully by capturing them in the correct angle.

The wildfires to the North of us is are in a fickle wind changing directions constantly depending upon the atmospheric pressures. Some of the larger fires create their own climate, lightning, wind vortex and on occasion increases wind. A few have started near our Island, yesterday 40 acres burned on the far side of the Diablo Range. The largest fire in California’s history is burning wildly out of control as this is being written. I suppose there is a silver lining if it can be called that, Arsonist are being arrested on a regular basis. It’s obvious to most people I’ve talked to, I’m assuming it’s a common thought most of the fires are started either intentionally or accidentally by humans. Now we’re waiting for the Government agencies that have been fighting these things for over one hundred years to solve the problem. Anyone see a hitch in that get-along?

Jacques Lebec Natural Self Reliance

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