Friday, May 15, 2009

Aerial Battle

I am in the beautiful seaside town of Del Mar, California, in search of a home. I start residency, nearby, in a month!

I ran atop a cliff today, and I saw two crows harassing a much larger raven. The crows made large loops, redoubling to attack the raven, and each time the raven would twirl onto its back in mid-air, meet the attack, and then correct itself. It may have twirled 360 degrees a few times! As I ran, the aerial battle moved in my general direction until I passed the birds and eventually descended to the beach below. As they battled overhead, I saw that the raven was carrying something in its beak. I didn't have my binoculars. It flew away from the cliffside and down the beach, with the crows in distant pursuit.

Ravens are known for their acrobatics near oceanside cliffs. They will sometimes turn 180 degrees and fly belly up for a while!

Periodically, during my run, solitary gulls larger than the raven would soar low overhead (I was standing atop a cliff, so they were pretty high above sea level). Once, a fleet of three brown pelicans in tight formation, leader in front, palpably filled the sky as they flew past.

I have a new appreciation for pelicans. There are many brown pelicans in Del Mar. They have huge wingspans, and they fly with wings strictly parallel to the ocean surface, such that only the natural curves of their wings break the parallelism. The wind is always blowing inland, and I view these soaring pelicans from clifftops. They skim the clifftops like radio-controlled aircraft: when they're flying in from the Pacific, I have to double-check to ensure they aren't small planes! They fly so low that I fear colliding with them.

I like Del Mar. It's a progressive little town. At night, there's little light pollution. Driving through the convoluted, narrow, clifftop streets, I'm forced to turn on my rental car's high beam to see what's in front of me.

I looked at a two-bedroom apartment here with a potential roommate, and one of the bedrooms had a window facing a half-block-sized construction area. The landlord said that, for decades, this was an undeveloped plot of land filled with native grasses and beautiful trees. Many years ago, a contract had been signed to prevent developers from ruining it. I don't know the exact story, but the current owner is apparently hungry or greedy enough to break this pact with the community. Such a loss of uniquely beautiful Southern California landscape.

I spend part of each day searching for an apartment, and my parents' tomtom GPS device has been indispensable. I'm a technology minimalist, but I realize that this device has saved me so much time and gasoline.

Global positioning device
with sultry, Hollywood voice,
I'd be lost without you.

Where have you been all my life?

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