Alma and I returned to our beloved beach yesterday for the third day. Even though rain did not fall while we were walking, the skies were mostly cloudy and the weather was cold and windy. Not the most pleasant of walks. Added to this, the run-off from storms of the week earlier had left a thin residue of garbage at the high-water mark. About the only saving grace was that the solid clouds were broken up at the far horizon so that, when the sun finally set at 4:50, we saw a beautiful sunset.
While we were walking north of the Washington Boulevard pier to the small breakwater a 1/2 mile north, I noticed that an enormous number of seagulls had congregated on the beach. The weather was so cold and windy that even the gulls seemed a bit intimidated by it. We try to walk in such a way that we disturb the gulls as little as possible. But yesterday, they had occupied the stretch of beach upon which we walked and so our path intersected where they stood.
The wind was so strong that when one of the gulls would start flying, it would almost hover in place and gradually drift lower until it made a soft landing in the sand. Really quite elegant and the gulls seemed to achieve this hovering effect with very little discernible effort. The gull simply extends both wings straight out from its torso with legs extended beneath it. Not the prettiest of sights but. again, the gulls' sprezzatura is noteworthy.
One of the gulls had what I think was a small rubber superball. It would climb about 30 feet into the air and drop the ball onto the beach, after which the gull would dive upon the bouncing ball and re-capture it in its beak. This particular gull's efforts had drawn the attention of a few other gulls who, no doubt thinking the super ball a sea creature of some sort, kept trying to poach the superball from it. Result: a lot of squawking and pecking at one another's bums and feathers.
Which led me to point out these bird-brains to Alma. We both laughed at their stupidity. But then I had a realization. Alma pointed out that these birds do not have bosses and they can pretty much do whatever they want when they want. Their food needs seem pretty much handled by the food refuse from the beach communities. They are beholden to no one.
If these birds are so stupid, how come they don't have to work and we (I) do? In other words, who are the real bird brains? Bears thinking about, I would say.