05 May 2009

Stuck Inside Today Bird Stories, inspired by Connie Sidles

More years ago than I care to say, I had taken visiting family and friends to Deception Pass. As I clambered on the rocky heights in the middle of Pass Island, I noticed a fair-sized raptor slowly working its way to the east along the southern channel between the tiny island and Whidbey's northern extreme. It was obviously a laborious struggle, tacking against the stiff breeze coming from onshore.
This was back in the days when I didn't own a camera (how odd that feels now), and didn't know a mallard from a sea eagle (not much different today :)). Yet, there was something wonderfully-relaxing about watching this bird on its appointed task.
As the raptor reached the eastern edge of Pass Island, it banked gracefully and, with the wind at its back, rocketed through the pass, under the bridge, and into the waters of Puget Sound at breakneck speed.
About halfway down the Deception Pass State Park Beach, it then turned and, diligently, flapped against the wind to slowly return and pass my aerie lookout on the island. Redux, it banked and raced pell-mell through the pass.
I watched this three times, and to this day wonder if the bird thought this activity was "fun", or any number of other anthropomorphic encumbrances for it. For each minute of afterburner jet flight, there were 10-15 minutes of Wright Brothers. Even without a camera, my memories of that long-ago late morning are still sharp. And I also wonder if I watched something unique or everyday in its life.

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