Category Archives: pelicans

Pelicans, and other thoughts

The thing about living at the beach is that you have to LIVE at the beach. All that regular, everyday stuff still has to be done, even though the beach is only two blocks away. Cooking, laundry, scrubbing bathrooms, going to work–all that stuff takes up going-to-the-beach time. So you just have to go anyway, and still, somehow get everything done.

I was thinking about this as I walked on the beach today. Tide was in-ish. (Didn’t look for the times in the paper this a.m.) I could walk around the boulders, but the waves still came up–just not too high. I was thinking about how I still had to go home and do stuff, but wasn’t it great that I could spend this little amount of time out communing with nature.

The sargasso seaweed is starting to come in. In places it looks like a crinkly, crocheted blanket, it’s so thick. I’m not sure if the birds eat something on the seaweed, or if they eat the stuff that’s tangled up in/hiding in the seaweed, but the birds–seagulls and sanderlings and plovers and willets–seem to hang out near it and hung through it.

Today, I found the biggest shell yet. Most shells that wash up on our Gulf coast are small. Mostly they’re scallop-type shells in white or black or yellow-stripes, an inch, or maybe two across. The vast majority are much smaller, some smaller than my tiniest toenail. But this one is at least 4 inches across. Maybe 5. Bigger than the palm of my hand, and deep, and almost black. Part of the rim was broken off, but it’s pretty much whole. I also found what I think is a piece of coral. I think it might be brain coral, from my minimal research. No picture of it yet…

I only saw one pelican flying today. Monday, row after row flapped by overhead. Usually I see at least one line of pelicans heading east–maybe it was a wind thing. Yesterday and Monday were very windy, today was less so. Anyway, Monday, I decided to count the numbers of pelicans flying in their lines.

When I was growing up not far from my beach, and would come down to swim and ride the ferry and such–I never saw a single brown pelican, much less a white one. They were quite endangered. One reason I decided to count how many I saw on Monday. I think I’ve also mentioned here that pelicans like to fly single file. I assume this cuts down on the headwind issue, like the wild goose V, but I’ve never seen pelicans fly in an actual V, just single file.

Anyway, I counted two lines of eleven pelicans each. Then one of thirteen. Then one of seventeen pelicans. That’s a lot of pelicans. I was beginning to think that pelicans had a thing for odd numbers–but then I saw two separate lines, flying somewhat close together, of eight pelicans each. One had seven at first, but there was a singleton flying really hard to catch up and fall in at the end of the line. Now I shall do math.

I had to get out a pen and write on the bottom of a cutline page. I saw in one thirty-minute walk sixty-eight (68) brown pelicans. (If I added wrong, please correct my arithmetic in the comments. thank you.) That’s a LOT of pelicans. They were all flying the same direction, so I’m reasonably certain it was 68 different pelicans, not the same ones flying in circles. Which to me is absolutely totally cool, since it was my own childhood when pelicans were so endangered you just did not see them on the island. At all. Oh, and I didn’t count the single pelican I saw flying in to land beside one of the jetties. So that makes 69.

The beach belongs to the birds from dawn to about 10 or 11 a.m. I may go out walking at 8-ish, but the beach is still theirs. They tolerate me grudgingly.

I got started writing a little late. The plumber guy came and fixed the toilet from its intermittent running (which can be shocking while in the shower, since it would run every five minutes and alternately scald/freeze you while it ran) and I took my sweet time cleaning up after the walk. But I still got 3.5 pages written. Did 6 yesterday. I’m not sure I’ll keep what I wrote today–or that I’ll keep it in this location, but it’s written.

Oh. I just remembered. I entered my very first juried art show Saturday. The very first one where I took paintings in and let other people (who are neither relatives or friends) Look at them and decide whether they were worthy of hanging in a show. They were judged in the non-professional category, of course, which probably helped, but there are some very good non-pros. Anyway, one of the two paintings I entered made the cut. (I suck at painting/drawing hands and feet. And arms. Some arms, anyway.) I didn’t win a prize, but I made the cut.

So my painting of Robert is going to be hung in this art show. (It’s in the blog archive if the other link doesn’t work. I can’t figure out how to post it on the blog with this work Mac. Just scroll down till you see the painting of the person near the bottom…)(If you want to see it.)

I’ll take a picture at the show, so you can see it hanging with other people looking at it. 😉