Observations on birding and life, from a novice at both
Thursday, August 26, 2010
The last days of summer
Snowy Egret, John J. Audubon
The last days of summer are too precious to waste. As the sun sets, I am drawn to the beach. There are not many birds to speak of, but the white sails of the yachts glow pink in the dying light, and there is a breeze on my skin that is warm but holds the promise of autumn. A Golden Retriever puppy jumps up and licks the end of my binoculars. Now I really will have to clean them like I always say I'm going to. The shorebirds know to make the most not only of the last days of summer but the final minutes of every summer's day. At the water's edge they are trying for one last fish, one last mollusc. Gulls fly high to drop shells on the rocks, over and over until they crack open just enough to allow bills in to winkle out their salty treasure. A young Snowy Egret--its legs and bill still pale--does its dance, wiggling its foot in the sand to stir up . . . yes, a little fish, which it swallows down in a snap. If time could pause at this perfect moment, I would not complain.