When the pelicans stayed away for the past few weeks, the frigate birds were out in full force. Usually, it seems to me that these birds soar high above, swooping down only to steal other birds’ prizes, but two days ago, when the pelicans and fish came back as well, they appeared by the dozens, swooping down on the beach to claim bait left on the beach after the fishermen cleared their nets. It was an amazing display. Here are some of the hundreds of photos that I took of them that capture their numbers and antics to a small degree. Please click on the first photo and then the right arrows to proceed through the enlarged photos and to read the captions that tell the story of their visit to civilization:
The Magnificent Frigate Bird
They polonaise up higher,
far above the rest.
Not once dipping to the land.
Do they ever nest?
I never see them fishing,
foraging or chewing.
As though their wings are made for art
but are not made for doing.
A gentle crease within their wings
looks folded and unfolded,
but keeps its shape no matter what,
as though it has been molded.
This rhyme is not so fragile
nor so graceful as these birds.
I guess such elegance as theirs
cannot be caught in words.
(I wrote this poem a few years ago and published it in a series of poems about La Manzanilla. It seemed appropriate to publish it again with these photos.)