I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Empty Nest

Hi everyone! Is your house lovely and quiet after summer's bustle? Kids go back to school? Or maybe (gasp) moved out for good? Or maybe you're a student or a teacher yourself, back into the routine.

I know of one mom who definitely won't be sad to find an empty nest....and soon, she hopes! All summer I've been watching a mama gull with her big loud demanding baby! You may remember him from his King of the Hill sandcastle pix earlier this year.

He had his unappealing brown and grey first year feathers that make him look bigger than his parents...

Now he has become a little lighter. But unlike the other fledged babies this guy still follows after his mother, squawking and fluttering and making a scene. If she lets him he will tap on her beak with his own beak, a signal for the parent bird to regurgitate food for its infants. But he is no infant. Sometimes she feeds him and sometimes she stalks off in a huff. (By now she is a single parent, gulls do not remain in pairs...).

So the other day I was interested to see that he was trying to fend for himself. Poor little man, I think he is a trifle, um, developmentally challenged? (He is on the right , above. See his treasure?)

his "find" has been dropped! It is at the horizon lne...

You may know that gulls search out whole fresh clams at the tide line. They then carry the clam high in the air and drop it, over and over again until the shell shatters and they can eat the fresh clam meat.


 Our boy was following directions, trying hard!

Unfortunately his "clam" was a bright green tennis ball!

and again

He'd fly it up high in the air. Make the drop...and it would bounce!

see the tennis ball? It is in the water to the left of his pointing wing

He did it over and over again, maybe fifty times while I watched.

(I felt sorry for him! Maybe he was sooo hungry? I brought him bread the following day....)

You can see the mom watching...

she's vigilant. And a bit embarrassed?
And the supremely uninterested rest of the small flock!

our boy is in the top right corner...
They would know if that green thing was yummy.

He ended up way down the beach, still with his prize---and pride---intact.

He's taking his bows! He hears the applause!
Hope his mom gave him some dinner!



               ....gone to the beach