Tuesday, August 3, 2010

New life, and death ... and White-tailed Kite pictures

It always seems to happen, and yet it always seems to surprise me, that when I fail to see what I set out to see, I experience something wonderful. 

The White-tailed Kite that surprised everyone by suddenly showing up in coastal Connecticut, at least a thousand miles from its home, has been hanging around now for a couple of days. I want to see its wings slicing through the air again, see it hovering looking for prey, so this evening I went down to Milford Point, where it had spent much of the day. By the time I got there, the tide had risen and the bird had flown from the sandbar where it had previously been sitting eating some small creature.

There was no rare bird, but there was the sky. There was green grass growing in the salt water. Terns, plovers, American Oystercatchers.

I walked by the water's edge, and came upon a black blob. Just a starling, I thought. But hang on, there was something different. I put up my binoculars. It was fuzzy -- oh, a chick on gawkily long legs. I sunk down on my knees on the sand, and this black fluffy chick came right up to me and walked by. I don't think it was even aware I was there.

It was a clapper rail, Frank tells me, who's glad to discover that they're breeding at Milford Point. It's not a rare bird, but there was something about being there on the sand, just me and this little chick, that was just as special as seeing that glorious White-tailed Kite.

Looking at this vulnerable chick exposed on the beach, life seemed more fragile and beautiful than ever. That seems -- I can't quite find the word . . . pathetic? -- now that I've just learned that today in a different Connecticut town nine people lost their lives in another workplace shooting. But this was before my stomach had sunk at that news. Then, I was simply relieved when that chick scuttled on those stilt legs up into the long grass, where it was hidden from view, though still cheeping cheeping cheeping.

More White-tailed Kite Pics
Because I, along with every birder in New England, am still quite obsessed with the White-tailed Kite, I am savoring some more pictures that Frank Gallo took...

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