The Bird and the Brute

Can you ID this bird?

This afternoon I visited my favorite beach and literally stumbled upon this bird at the bottom of the stairs. It’s the same beach where my bike got smashed by an exuberant youngster who thought he was Evel Knievel. (Link to post.)

However, I didn’t have my camera with me even though I had made a resolution in January to always take my camera with me. So I biked home to grab the camera expecting that this most patient of all birds would still be there.

And it was.

I was so close to the bird that the full image would not fit into the frame. It had no fear of people and was singularly focused on the hunt.

Let me paint the picture. At high tide, the stairs are underwater. As the tide retreats it leaves behind tide pools full of tasty treats.

This bird must have stood there for hours waiting for the tide to go out — knowing that its patience would be rewarded.

That bird was no birdbrain!

Danger Lurks

So far it has been a pleasant afternoon — but then …

… some tough guy came walking down the bike path. He hollered at me,

“(Expletive deleted), you better not be filming me!”

Now, I live in California which is heavily populated with maladjusted people who are even more off-kilter after two years of lockdown.  They just don’t function well in civilized society.

Then you throw in the methamphetamine, heroin, and fentanyl pouring across the border and you’ve got a recipe for danger.

I dared not to look directly at this guy because the wrong glance might get me shot or stabbed. (If I looked at him directly he might take that as a challenge.)

So I simply pointed at the bird and the guy said,

“Yeah, right.”

In any case, I wasn’t even facing the bike path. My camera was hanging around my neck. The guy seemed very paranoid and puffed out his chest.

This is not the first time I’ve encountered brutes while out with my camera. I envy people who do street photography. I won’t even attempt the “Thursday Doors” post because I might get shot through the window.

My visits to Belmont Park have been scaled back due to the increased shootings and gang violence.

Riding the bike path has become increasingly hazardous because people, quite frankly, don’t observe common courtesy. I still suffer a leg injury from this summer when three kids, attempting a reckless pass, smashed into my bike. It hurt like hell but I didn’t want them to see a grown man cry which prompted their mother to say,

“Oh, he’s okay.”

Not even an apology.

When I got home, I gingerly removed my blood-stained pants.

So back to the brute. A police helicopter began circling overhead. They were looking for a suspect who was involved in a late-morning shooting.

Was this the guy?

He obviously didn’t want to stick around so he backed away and continued on down the bike path.

By now, you’ve probably figured out that the photos are only secondary to the backstory. These are not images worthy of a gallery. The  sun angle was not right so the colors and details don’t pop.

But for those of you who stuck around to confirm your guess …

Great Blue Heron does not flinch at base of stairs

Copyright © In Pics and Words


13 thoughts on “The Bird and the Brute

  1. Sea World is located across the bay and many local shore birds enjoy snagging free meals from the marine life. This is most likely the reason our Great Blue Heron was so at ease around people.


    1. Ha, ha! Was it that obvious?

      The other thing about the bike is that bike theft is a major Olympic sport in San Diego. Hundreds, no, thousands of bikes are stolen every year. The bikes are sold for the parts or shipped across the border for sale in Baja and the interior of Mexico.

      I often will spot a bike — or the remains of a bike — that was locked in a public spot. The NYC Kryptonite lock is about all that remains. The thief couldn’t break the lock so they just disassembled the bike and took what they could — seat, tires, and handlebars.

      A thief who is desperate enough might just rob me on the bike path — and take my phone, wallet, and camera to boot.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I would have said Grey Heron David, but we do not have blues here in the uk. We do have areas that feel like no-go places due to the type of people who frequent them. Having worked all my life in the mental health field these people are not the issue for me it is the “gang and drug” culture areas which are a red flag – sadly society is broken in many places.


    1. The Grey and Blue are closely related and difficult for me to distinguish. As I was taking the photos, a mother and her son rode by and the son excitedly pointed out,

      “Look, mom — a stork!”

      I live in a tourist area which is heavily policed but every few years or so the drug gangs move in and the turf wars begin.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m a birder. The way the bird was angled and the large Grey feathers hinted at heron.
    I hate thieves. We used to live in the lower east side. Our apartment was burglarized regularly. Nothing left to steal so they stole my boots and a box of laundry soap. At least they were clean.


  4. At least you got good shots of the heron David! People are so rude these days. We don’t have too much of a problem in Sacramento. We just avoid downtown after dark which is when things happen as people get out of the clubs. The bike path along the American River Parkway is fairly safe. Take care.


    1. Imagine a city street without stop signs or traffic lights. That’s what it’s like on the bike path.

      Bicyclists ride like they have no brakes or don’t know how to use them.

      They recklessly swerve around people as if they are orange cones on an obstacle course.

      They don’t watch out for the elderly, children, or animals.

      I’m sure you have seen cars running yellow lights as if they were elephants at a circus.

      (You know, how the elephants wrap their trunk around the tail of the elephant in front of them and walk in single-file across the ring.)

      So, one car tries to beat the red light and ten other drivers figure, “Well, if they’re going, I’m going.” The last two cars almost always go through after the light turns red. Doesn’t matter that a yellow light means “Slow Down, Prepare to Stop” — not “Hit the Gas and Beat the Light”.

      People ride bikes the same way they drive cars. If they see a group of pedestrians, instead of slowing down, they pedal harder in an attempt to beat the bicyclist who is coming from the other direction.

      I’m always the bicyclist coming from the other direction and I usually get run off the road. I figure it’s either me, or else the other bicyclist will be forced to plow into the pedestrians.

      They won’t slow down, they never yield, they ride the bike path like it’s their personal velodrome.

      Other than that, people are great!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sorry people are so rude where you live. Cyclists are rather nice on the American River Bike path. They just announce that they are coming behind us so we can move over. On that path that runs for miles, there are bikers and walkers. We get along.


  6. The great blue herons amazing to photograph. Thanks for sharing it. Sounds like you need a new place to live where its safe to ride your bike. That is terrible you have endured this harm and rudeness. I can’t even imagine living with this attitude. Be safe

    Liked by 1 person


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