Thursday, November 27, 2008

cranes and geese and sunrises oh my on 11-24-08

It’s our annual migration to Santa Fe, NM to spend thanksgiving with Murray and Rupama. This year we included a visit to Bosque del Apache which is about 90 miles south of Albuquerque. We arrived Monday, Nov. 24 about an hour before sunset, just in time to find a spot on the landing platform looking out at the water area. It looked like nothing was happening, a couple ducks off in the distance and a bald eagle in an old tree stump. Then suddenly we heard the clamor of cranes squawking off in the distance. Almost immediately the sky was full of birds flying overhead and landing in front of us. They just kept coming and coming, continuing like that for about two hours until after sunset. It was thrilling, exciting, magical, overwhelming. All I could do was stand there and stare and say "oh my gawd" over and over. My eyes filled with tears and they just kept coming. Sandhill cranes, Canadian geese, white snow geese. Thousands and thousands. Once they landed they started floating around in the water. Flocks of geese moved from the left to the right, flocks of cranes moved from right to left. I've never experienced anything like this.
We went back the next morning, arriving about 5:15am. It was cold and dark and almost no cars. I got out to look at all the birds floating around in the water gurgling and clacking. I saw a long slow-moving line of headlights off in the distance as birders began to arrive. By 6am many of the geese were stretching their wings, revving up their engines and getting ready to leave. All of a sudden, about 6:15am, all the geese lifted off and away they went overhead. The sunrise was spectacular and I lack the words to describe the feeling of thousands of geese flying overhead. Not much later the cranes began to leave and by 6:45am the water was almost empty of birds.
Holy cow, what an experience. I hope you enjoy the pictures. the top one is geese flying off at sunrise. the middle picture is sandhill cranes after flying in at sunset, the botton picture is during sunrise when the geese flew off.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

final look at neah bay 10-7-08

it's been raining off and on this afternoon with occasional wind gusts of 28 knots. we plan on leaving at dawn tomorrow

more to come when we get further south and i get a new online connection.

taut with texture in neah bay 10-7-08

respect for old boats in neah bay 10-7-08

Neah Bay is in the Olympic Peninsula , the most nw point of the continental U.S. where the Strait of Juan de Fuca meets the Pacific Ocean. It's also part of the Native American reservation for Makah Nation. Nearby is Vancouver Island, Canada, Cape Flattery, Shi Shi, and miles of beach. Since we don't have a car and we're walking, we're limited to the small town which is between the mini-mart and the Makah Museum. So that leaves the harbor for exploring.

And then there are the old boats. At the far end of the harbor were two docks I call the boat graveyard. I could feel the sadness as I walked past each boat. Broken windows, weeds growing topside, and covered in moss, who knows what happened before they were abandoned at the docks. I took these pictures with respect for their past history and to dignify their existence.

There's something about that circular shape that attracks me.

I saw this sign at the end of the dock which required me to climb onto a fish-cleaning raft.

I'm not sure what the nautical term is for this rack.

We didn't see any ficious sea lions but we also didn't see any children. Hmmm.

I'm having a ball taking snapshots while we wait for the weather to clear. Looks like we'll leave at dawn tomorrow, Wednesday, to head south.

storming in neah bay on oct. 6 08

Checked in with the port captain at Neah Bay then had breakfast at the Warm House at the far end of the harbor. To walk off my meal I wandered around the harbor looking at the old fishing boats. It’s humbling to walk past these huge beasts, gritty from countless fishing trips and rough weather. My eye sees the patina of beauty. Layers upon layers of hard work and corrosion and the dampness of heavy mist. The smell of fish hangs in the air.
And now it's late at night, the storm is passing through, and I can hear the rain and wind howling outside. It's too exciting to sleep.
This round of pictures is just the names. More to come tomorrow.