Sunday, January 04, 2015

the songs of grackles

Grackles are like Venice.  You either love them or hate them.

I am in the fan category.  Their ability to mimic almost any bird song or whistle is fascinating enough to make them part of my top bird list.  But it is their intelligence that first attracted me to them.

During some of my darker days in Laredo during flight school, watching the grackles outside of my BOQ (bachelor officers quarter) room would always add a bit of mirth back into my life.  They were constantly working on problems that would have left their bird-brained cousins scratching their top notches.

We are in Puerto Escondido tonight -- and probably tomorrow night.  Our hotel appears to be an old country estate that has been devoured by the town.  Fortunately, the town did not devour the trees where a gang of grackles have taken up residence to sing the evening away.  What better way to spend a day of driving than to relax on a verandah with the ocean in the distance and birdsong in the trees?

Our drive from Pinotepa Nacional to Puerto Escondido took us the better part of the day yesterday.  We stopped only once.  But it was quite a stop.

John Calypso recommended the beach at Roca Blanca -- about 25 miles west of Puerto Escondido.  With a specific nod for the fresh oysters.

He was correct.  The beach was scenic with fine sand and calm waves.  Plenty of Mexican families were making a day of it.  Dan and Patty declared it to be their favorite Mexican Pacific beach -- so far.

We passed on the fresh oysters.  They seemed to be unusually expensive.  Because Dan and I come from the land of oysters, we were not willing to pay Oregon prices.

Instead, we had a lunch of fish.  Dan and Patty ordered red snapper again.  Perfect, they said.  I ordered a fish fillet that does not require any further description.  Let's just say my experiment with fish is probably over.

Ray Atkeson, the famed photographer, shot a series of photographs of the sandstone cliffs at Cape Kiwanda in Oregon.  Both his work and the sandstone cliffs have always fascinated me.

Roca Blanca has several nodules of sandstone that are almost as interesting -- on a smaller scale.  The wind and tides have sculpted them into some quirky shapes.

Trolls.  Witches.  Orcs.  Or perhaps a rogue head from Easter Island.  They are all there.

I could probably spend several days shooting those rocks.  I am no Ray Atkeson.  But I suspect I could come up with some acceptable shots.

For now, though, I am going to sit back and allow the birds to carry me away to Laredo.  When I learned to enjoy the simpler things in life.  At least, a grackle life.


No comments: