May 27, 2010

I left early in the morning yesterday to drive to Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge for work.   The sun was rising as I drove on Highway 82 and I spotted a flock of birds in a wet field.  It was a beautiful sight… full of one of my favorite birds (White ibis).

I wonder now about the timing that was created with my choice to turn the car around to take photographs.   As I got closer to my destination, I drove over what I thought was a dead bird in the highway.   I could see in the rearview mirror, this bird was steadying itself upright and so I turned the car around.    I managed to photograph this Least Bittern seconds before a truck drove by.  The bird flew up,  collided with the vehicle and died instantly.

This workday involved traveling the Rutherford Beach area where lots of vehicular traffic came dangerously close to nests and chicks.   Not far into the stretch, we had to pass through a fence.  Just on the other side of this fence was a dead cow… a headless dead cow (I guess someone must have wanted a skull).  From this point on, the substrate turned from sand and shell to sand, shell and cow patty.

The site then turned from an open cow patty habitat to a grove of dead trees leading into the gulf… roots revealed… really gorgeous and gloomy at the same time.

Once past this boneyard, the width of the beach diminished.  Still, lots of birds used this small area… we found Common nighthawk, Wilson’s plover and Least Tern nests and chicks. Thankfully, we finished work in the early part of the evening before the rain.

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