For a few weeks at the end of April and beginning of May, hundreds of thousands of migrating sandpipers, Dunlins, plovers, dowitchers and Red Knots feed and rest on the Refuge's mud flats and along the tideline. On the day we went, a volunteer estimated 15,000 birds were foraging on the plateau in front of us.
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.
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.
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 ...