Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Pickleweed - A Yummie Treat!

First, a little information on pickleweed.  Photo of Black Phoebe - Note the pickleweed turning red.

Morro Bay Estuary - Pickleweed, is ideally suited to the estuary as it can survive periodic inundation by salt water; saltwater travels up through the pickleweed roots where it is stored in the top of the plant.  In the fall the top sections turn red and fall off, and the cycle begins anew.  Pickleweed which covers most of the estuary provides habitat for many species of animals, such as insects, crabs, a variety birds, including shore birds, song birds, wading birds, ducks and geese. 

Morro Bay Marina Boardwalk - Yesterday morning - An extreme high tide silently pushed many species of the bay birds to the edge of the pickleweed, and as a consequence making them much easier to observe from the boardwalk that I was standing on.

"Much easier to observe," is rather an understatement, for only a few feet away were eight Brant intently feeding in the pickleweed.  Usually, Brant fly if you are within 500 feet.  A boy rolled by on a scooter and the geese didn't even raise an eyebrow.  I watched them for about an hour and as the tide ebbed and hundreds of Avocets, accompanied by three Caspian Tern, moved into the shallow water, the Brant continued browsing through the pickleweed.  For me and two out of town birders this was a rare sighting.  

 Now I am faced with a question, what were they eating?  Ah, a bird related mystery that bears investigation.   Oh, oh, it's getting late, had better finish this blog and get my stocking hung on the fireplace.  Do not want to miss Santa.  Merry Holidays.

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