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Published by: api-26007817 on May 07, 2010
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05/06/2010

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Dumb Luck Captures Mystery Birdon Film
I don’t know why I took the photograph shown as Figure 1. One of the western crowscan be seen perched on the lowest branch of the foreground tree, but I doubt I was
 
Figure 1
focusing on it. (My normal lens was on the camera; that’s why I show such a largearea.) It’s doubtful I was trying to capture the color of the setting sun against theheadland; the sky looks washed out. Jehoshaphat, you say, isn’t it obvious that I wastrying to photograph that huge bird seemingly perched just above the fence? Maybe,but I don’t even recall
 seeing
that bird. Had I seen it, why would I have turned from it(frame 8) and photographed two crows on the beach (frame 9). Had I seen it, I wouldhave taken every possible exposure, climbed the rock to look for evidence of a kill,then rushed the film directly to the lab. Then again, if I
 didn’t
see it, why did I turn
 
Figure 2
back and take the photograph shown as Figure 2 (frame 10)?I know of two possible explanations for this seeming blank-out -- pneumonia, the latterstages of which I was just about shaking off when these pictures were taken (early September), or early-onset senility.The scene is the top of the rocky headland at the west end of White Beach inManchester-by-the-Sea. I photographed Figure 1 just as the bird appeared to belanding in the top of a small evergreen. That evergreen is only about twelve feet high,and its top might support the weight of a crow, but certainly not a bird this large. It’spossible that the bird was attacking something in the treetop. Those shapes on thehillside to the left of the fence (Figures 1 and 3), which may look like birds escapingdownhill, are simply leaves on a foreground shrub.Some of the western crows (See my vignette, “Flocks of Crows -- a Journal”) were inthe vicinity. Figure 1 shows one of them perched in the tree at the end of the feeding wall. Two others were down on the beach not far from where I was standing. Ishould think all three crows would have been able to see the large bird atop theheadland, yet I recall none of them showing any excitement. The two on the beach were definitely unperturbed.

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