Thursday, February 03, 2011

Muddy food chain

Mud Bay Station Park*. A muddy, pot-holed road across the delta, a muddy parking lot, and a long, straight walk down to the shore, where the deep, sticky mud comes right up to the rocks that hold the pathway from slip-sliding into the goo.

It's beautiful, and we don't go there often enough.

This afternoon, we remedied the situation. It was high tide, and birds would be foraging close to the rocks; an ideal time to visit.

The walk to the shore follows the railway tracks across wet fields, empty except for beaten-down grasses and weedy shrubs. Hawk territory. One swooped and soared ahead of us as we fumbled for the cameras, then crossed the tracks and disappeared. But we found evidence of previous meals:

Hawk habitat. And owls, too. Maybe coyotes. None visible.

In a not-quite-so-muddy spot along the shore, the sketchy remains of a gull.

I like the curves on this feather.

Possibly part of the same gull.

Scat. Owl, hawk, coyote? I can't tell. But it's mostly feathers.

Black and white feathers, a couple of inches long. Can you identify the bird?

We've seen rabbits here, too. This looks like rabbit fur.

Out on the mud, peeps and ducks were busily digging for worms. They're as bloodthirsty as the hawks, but we usually don't notice that, since we don't see the worms. And they're just worms, anyhow; not as cute as bunny rabbits.

And the worms eat other worms, and small crustaceans. Which eat anything they can get, including unfortunately dead seafowl. Munching makes the world go 'round.

*The trains used to stop here, I don't know what for. Hence the name, Mud Bay Station.

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