Tuesday, April 19, 2016


At low tide, I walked along the Mazatlan shoreline to a group of low rocks, most of them covered with each wave, but exposed in between. I skirted the perimeter, where the waves licked at my sandals and ran in channels beside me. Further out, a large flock of surfbirds descended with each retreating wave to feed on the draining rocks.

Hurry, hurry! Next wave's coming!

Eating on the run

Good thing they have wings!

10-second break

On to the next rock; this one's gone.

I managed to get close to a few of the birds.

Unidentified sandpipers.  Surfbirds, Calidris virgata*. Brown, black and white pattern on back, spotted bellies, yellow legs, straight, yellow and blackish beak.

They seem to be poking their beaks into small cracks in the rocks.

I looked carefully at the rocks I could reach, and fished in channels where the water was shallow enough between one wave and the next, to see what the surfbirds were catching. On the rock surfaces, I saw mostly barnacles, tiny ones. Down in the channels, bits of rockweed held tiny snails and hermit crabs. I saw a crab or two.

Tiny barnacles and a snail or two.

Rockweed, underwater. Some of those snails are hermit crabs.

Good eating here!

The tide came in. The rocks disappeared. So did the surfbirds. I went home for supper.

*Updated to correct species. Thanks, Clare!

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