Red Crowned Parrots of San Diego

In the early 90’s I was up on a swing stage with a forensic leak specialist. Not too high, maybe only six stories. We were documenting some sealant failures, performing tests and recording results.
Then came a distant squawk and screech from behind us. it became louder and the sounds resonated off the building glass. “Stan, check this out,” I interrupted, pointing at a flock of about fifty birds. They were thirty yards out and their noise became eerily loud as they passed. Stan shot me a look, “are those parrots?” “Yup, no one is sure how they got here, but there are several large flocks throughout the county,” I exclaimed.
As much as I have tried to discover how these birds got here, apparently, no one is sure. They are indigenous to northwestern Mexico. There is much lore about illegal bird smugglers releasing them to avoid getting caught with evidence. That has never been proven….though there may be some truth to something like that happening. Even if it was something as uneventful as two escaping a home, I’m glad they’re here. I’m not supposed to be glad about it, but they’re here and I like ’em!
They are loud, obnoxious and very entertaining.
This year….just last week, a pair cased our garden. A couple of days ago, they came back, and feasted on our two remaining sunflowers.
In the opening clip of the video we see two species, but only the pair of red crowned returned. They came by three times and finished off the sunflowers.
I was stoked, and got lots of footage.

Clueless

Standing on the bridge
Leaning over the rail
Like an impetuous child
I found the moon

He was resting
At the bottom of the lake

“Moon! Come out of there!”
“Leave me alone. I’m resting.”
“But Moon, it’s cold and dark down there!
 Let me help you out!”

Diving into the cold
Tree whispered
“Did he not say,
 Leave me alone?”

Her branches
Catapulted me
Back
Onto the bridge

I sat dripping
Cold
Poking my head through the railing
I called to moon

“Ok, I get it now
 I’ll leave you alone.
 Moon…..MOON!”
“I hear you!
 Now go away!”

That moon.
So grumpy.

multiple exposures

Stress!

The last two weeks have been very stressful for many reasons.
This morning, I slogged into my office knowing how compressed my day would be. I found that one of those main sources (a deadline) had been pushed out seven days!
I had been a recluse in my office, closing the door to the outside world so I can concentrate.
Then….this reprieve! Woo Hoo!

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HAPPY DANCE!

Anticipation

It was 2011.
I was making photographs of crows.
Off in the distance
Some 500 meters
A black cloud.
Like a monochrome
Psychedelic mass
Changing
Yet united

Watching
Abandoning the shot
Mesmerized
At the gracefulness
Of the hundreds
Of little bodies

Now walking
Increasing speed
Running
To the phenomenon
Trees blocking my view
Panting

They’re right overhead!
Peculiar calls
Bank left
Floof!
Was the sound
Just above the treeline
SWOOSH!
The roar of 500 pairs of wings

So excited
Camera fumbling
Check settings
Raised and ready

Nothing

They were gone!

But they are animals
Animals are habitual
I’ll be back tomorrow
Oh yeah,
You’d better believe
I’ll be back tomorrow!

Such was the beginning of my photographic journey to include starlings in my multiple exposure pieces. Starlings, the dreaded invader-bird. To watch them murmurate will change the heart. It is a wonder to behold.
Will they return this year? We will see before too long…their numbers have been diminished over the years and I fear those few first years will not be replicated again.