Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Eggs 17" x 39"

My newest art quilt, unsurprisingly, is inspired by my wonderful coastal "backyard."  This summer I am volunteering as a black oystercatcher nest monitor for the National Audubon Society. 

I walk along the bluffs at Montaña de Oro State Park to find and watch these charismatic shorebirds with their distinctive bright red beaks and eyes.  They create nests with a few pebbles tucked into cracks and crevices on the rocky edges and offshore sea mounts.  My job is to watch a nest for 30 minutes once a week and record any activity.  (The incubation period--parent sitting on eggs--is a little like watching paint dry, but with a fabulous view.)  

However I've learned that standing in one place on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean has many rewards.  Other earthlings like whales, sea otters, seals, birds, reptiles, bunnies, and people pass by, and the waves are always mesmerizing.  But the other thing I've learned about the oystercatchers is not to get attached!  Their nesting success rate is heartbreakingly low.  Their eggs get eaten, their chicks disappear.  It's why, as a keystone species in the intertidal zone, they are a species of concern.  

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