When thousands of shorebirds frolic on the mire, their wingbeats rattle like seashells strung in the wind ... just the lightest of chimes, near silent except for the rush of air over 15,000 pairs of wings. They become a coil, spiraling sometimes at 40 miles per hour into shape shifters, turning their plumage from dark to light to flashing white to confuse the hunting Peregrines.
In this regenerated, re-planted Bolsa Bay, bird calls and murmurs bubble up from the terns, Sanderlings, scoters, avocets, grebes, plovers, pelicans, sparrows, Willets and egrets who call this haven home. The marsh is barely shielded from Pacific Coast Highway, with just a parking lot and thicket separating refuge from roadway.
I heard a lecture recently where Picasso's view of photography was described this way: For Picasso, "photography was never an exact registration of a scene, but it was a creative device.” (Arthur I. Miller). The lecture was about conceptualism and perceptualism in both art and science, using Picasso and Einstein as subjects. Picasso's view of the camera is obviously liberated by the fact that he was using it as a fine art tool, not a photojournalistic one.
As an adjunct to the Clapper Rail story, Bird Note asked if I would revisit my observations of a Clapper Rail tagging operation at Arrowhead Marsh in Oakland — a study I photographed in 2009. The marsh was close to our home in the Bay Area, and a quick hop from Oakland Airport. The proximity gave me a ready excuse to stop by with my camera whenever I shuttled Hugh to his flights.
At this point in my California life, I'd be chugging caffeine before the sun comes up, and getting to my favorite shorebird sanctuaries and mudflats as the light turns magenta rose ...