Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What I saw at the river

Today I cycled down to the big river. It has been several months since I went there, and I discovered that all the gulls were gone. I forgot they don't hang around there in the summer. They turn up in autumn, and stay for the winter.

I did not spend as much time there as I'd planned, because while I was cycling along the riverbank I remembered that a friend had moved to somewhere near that area, and maybe he was at home and I could pay him a visit? I texted him, and he answered immediately, saying he'd cycle down to meet me. He brought his dog. I think the dog remembered me, although I hadn't seen her since she wasn't much more than a puppy. She got all excited when she saw me. Or it could just be that I smell good to dogs when I'm all hot and sweaty after a bicycle ride.


We went back to his (very nice) new place for a drink, and after an hour or so I cycled home again along the river. On the way I took some pictures, but not very many.

One picture I took was of a cormorant flying. It was doing its best imitation of a cartoon. I must say the hornbill does it better, but still, that was a pretty good effort. The dangling foot is especially good.


I also saw a lot of crows. They were behaving in the way crows do, flying around and shouting scornfully, except for this one. I think this one is an outcast.


It was quietly fossicking in the grass, looking normal, but when it turned the other way . . .


I saw that it had a mutant white feather.

How odd. I guess that was why the other crows didn't want to hang around with it. Poor, lonely white-feathered crow.

Before I left the riverside I saw the amazing umbrella bird, hanging from a tree.


This is a baby umbrella bird. When it is older it will open, trundle down to the river, and drift out to sea (unless it is captured and sold into slavery beforehand, that is).

I know this because I have seen it before.

6 comments:

Roy said...

When it is older it will open, trundle down to the river . . .

The rolling gait of the umbrella bird is somewhat clunkier than the flight of the cormorant, but in the water they are quite graceful.

Keera Ann Fox said...

My heart always goes out to those umbrella birds that lie broken in gutters. Poor things! I always hope that their demise was quick.

tinyhands said...

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=106826971

Guzzisue said...

it is so wet here in the UK that all the umbrella birds have migrated here. They collect in large flocks at 5 o'clock just as I try to leave work.

Luzdeana said...

I'm delighted I've found your site. Where on earth do you live? It must be Paradise, full of birds, lovely pets and delicious pics of rivers and parks. So different from the town I live in... :(
Anyway, I guess it`s your eyes that find poetry in every single thing you find on your way.
I'm an English teacher as I've learnt you are (I have read several of your posts). I have a blog too, but I'm afraid it's in Spanish... do you speak Spanish?
I'll surely be back.
Have a nice day!

Badaunt said...

Roy: You are a man after my own heart. One who has studied the habits and behaviour of the amazing - and yet neglected - umbrella bird.

Keera: They are not good at negotiating gutters. Perhaps that will be the next step in their evolution.

Tinyhands: That was very, very weird. I fired up Firefox, which I had set to save all tabs, then checked out the link you gave, and the new tab that opened up was identical to the one next to it, so that I thought I must have clicked it twice. I didn't, though. (Did you get that from BoingBoing? I think that's where all those opened-but-still-unread tabs came from.)

And it's true that crows recognize people. I am still a little nervous around one particular park which I haven't visited for about a year (since the last time, when I got followed).

I particularly liked the bit about them flying upside down.

Guzzisue: So THAT'S where they're off to. Quite a few stay here, though, particularly this year. They seem to like the rainy season, which has gone on and on and on and on. And on.

Luzdeana: In fact I live in the armpit of the universe. If you check out 'Amagasaki' on Google Maps and zoom in a bit you'll see just how much I mislead my innocent readers. It's wall-to-wall concrete with a few little parks. The Mukogawa river has some very nice stretches, I'll admit, if you avoid the homeless people's blue tents, the bits where there's heavy machinery dredging stuff, and the bits where people have decided to dump large things that are no longer taken away free by the rubbish collectors.

I am a very selective photographer. I'm pretty good at blur, too. Blurring the background can cover up all kinds of ugliness.

I don't speak (or read) Spanish, unfortuantely - but perhaps I'll try one of the online translators.