Each day that I’ve walked past this week, except for today, there has been a cloister of pelicans resting from their migration on the opposite shore of the lagoon. On the island in the next pond over from them there were also a number of egrets spread across the shore.
Yesterday, as I observed the birds, a dog came lumbering by. Its leash was pulled taut with a woman leaning against its weight at the other end. The woman wore a sea green tshirt with the words “Comcast Cares” printed on front.
Today, as I note the birds’ absence, a sea plane circles around to land in the bay behind me. It slows as its skids first skim the surface. Then it lifts off again, circles around and repeats its attempt twice more before it comes to a stop on its fourth attempt.
A jet’s vapor trail reaches from one horizon to the other intersecting the noontime sun at its halfway point.
Waves flicker with dimples that catch the light when the wind gusts brush against their surface.
And, for this lunchtime at San Rafael Bay, we have choppy waters. The sky is clear here.
At the horizon, five Bay Bridge towers peak out from a fog bank (behind the closer Richmond Bridge): the two towers of the west span, two peaks of the old east span’s support structure, and the new east span’s tower.
I see a thin dark plume to the south: the Mount Diablo fire.
The water is nearly still on San Rafael Bay at lunchtime.
The lagoon behind me is nearly full for the first time in two months, the salty cracked soil mostly covered. The black necked stilts are wading along the shore with their heads tipped down, studying the water in front of them, the area that can be covered within one or two steps of their springy gait. The bird in front is being chased by the one behind him. They run at double speed, the chased bird calling out little peeps every few steps.
A stray dog has circled around from the opposite shore. He slows when he spots me watching him. When I sneeze suddenly, he turns and flees.
In the wetland area on the landfill side of the San Rafael seawall, a limber white and black patterned bird tips its black needle-nose beak into the alkaline water. It has twiggy orange legs with ankles at it’s legs’ halfway point — looking like backward bending knees. It stalks something with short springy steps. A couple of sparrows intrude in its space and it takes flight, low over the water, scattering the sparrows.
I think that I should keep a record of the birds that I see there. It will give me a sense of the seasons passing. Later, at home, I check the field guide. A black-necked stilt. It’s non-migratory. It’s not going anywhere.