Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Trash birds

Marbled Godwits and Willets in "natural" setting. Chula Vista, California March 2, 2014. Greg Gillson.
Birds aren't always found in the most photogenic settings. In fact, sewage ponds and garbage dumps are prime real estate for finding large numbers of birds in certain areas. Often a photographer can zoom in on the bird and crop out the distracting background. But in this case, I thought the distracting background was the picture. This wasn't a sewage pond or a landfill. It was the view from Marina View Park in Chula Vista. The park itself was immaculately manicured and cared for. It seemed a little odd to me to have a children's playground at the edge of an industrial area not close to any housing, but I'm not a city planner, so what do I know?

Now, don't get me wrong, the whole beach wasn't littered like this. High tide and wind had forced all the garbage that could float up into this inlet on what eBird calls the "J Street mudflats" on the southeastern shore of San Diego Bay.

* The title of the post, "Trash Birds," for those that don't know, is a play on a birding term. This somewhat pejorative phrase often refers to abundant species (such as ubiquitous starlings, house sparrows, and domestic pigeons). But the term can refer to any common species that "gets in the way" of finding a particular sought-after bird. They have to be visually "thrown away" and ignored in order to find that rare and "better" gem. Facetiously, it can refer to even rare birds, that just aren't the targeted mega-rarity one was trying to find. For instance, a sought-after life bird (never-before-observed, or first-time-in-your-life) seen on Monday could be a "trash bird" by Thursday if the observer subsequently sees many.

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