Friday, June 29, 2012

DDT

 Far down the beach was a harbor seal pup, newly arrived, with fold-y skin and grey fluff all over. It reminded us of a Shar Pei pup. It's in the tide line scootching up to keep out of the rising tide waiting for its mother. People often mistake that the pup has been abandoned and want to help. But mom is out hunting for food and will return to care for her young. So do not touch!


And the Peregrines are seriously nesting up on a nook of the sheer yellow ochre Laird Sandstone cliffs. We'd been seeing them play at it for the last few weeks, but now they are paired up and ready for what they came here for—to make more Peregrines. There is a ledge and behind is a dark niche where the baby’s will be raised. The perch is a perfect lookout, where the female is perusing the whole scene—the Ravens, the Redtails & us, the plastic gleaners. The banning of DDT in 1972 allowed Peregrines, and most of the top of the food chain birds (Eagles, Condors and some owls) to return from the brink of extinction.

Jeeze, they way they fly, veering up the cliff face, swooping, wings tucked in, then coming to a dead stop at the nest, it's better than Cirque du Soleil. We get a good look with the binos— We'd make that heroic confident bird the national symbol. Thankfully our legislators had some sense to ban DDT.

It was a grey day, a bit heavy feeling with rain just at the horizon line, the wind out of the southwest—the rain wind. As typical this year, from several trips, the plastic has been intermittent. But we still gathered a lot of tiny pieces. And, as the focus narrows nurdles (pre-production plastic pellets) come into the spotlight, pernicious little devils, packed with absorbed toxins. 


In 2009 we had gathered packets of 100 to send to Japan for analysis by Shige Takada. The report came back that they were loaded with DDT. 40 years later DDT is still floating around in the ocean. Good thing Peregrines don't eat fish. Hey, we eat fish; fish eat nurdles, who's endangered now?


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