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Monday, September 24, 2012

Birdwatching Where Charlton Heston Lost His Clothes

In the original “Planet of the Apes” movie, three astronauts trek across a barren desert until they reach an oasis.  There, they discard their clothes and dive into the rock-lined pool, reveling in the cool, refreshing water.  They don’t realize that the mute, native humans of this planet are watching them until they see their clothes being stolen.  They pursue the primitives, and recover their now-shredded clothes.  While his companions are angered by the natives’ actions, Taylor (played by Charlton Heston) announces, “Cheer up, boys.  If this is a sample of the neighborhood, we can take over and live like kings!”  (Dragon Dave Paraphrase)  Unfortunately for Taylor, horns then sound, rifles fire, and the apes ride in, dashing his dream of wielding ultimate power.

After baking in the sun along the dry, dusty trails of Malibu Creek State Park, the rock pools were a nice place to sit down and relax.  We climbed over the rocks until we found a wooden picnic bench that had seen better days.  We sat down carefully, noting how the wood moved and swayed beneath our weight.  Around us, little birds searched among the rocks for food, and flitted among the branches overhead.  

My wife pointed out one particular bird that winged overhead, and I looked up between the two cliff faces that rose up above us.  A predatory bird, such as a hawk or a falcon, soared through the sky, and alighted on the top of the cliff to survey us below.  I raised my camera, extended the range to maximum zoom, and snapped his picture.  Then I magnified the image on the viewfinder so I could study his features.

A hawk or a falcon?

It was then that one of the little birds that flitted through the branches overhead reminded me of his presence.  I didn’t feel the impact, but I heard a plop.  When I looked down at my left knee, I found there proof of his disapproval.  My wife came to my rescue with a piece of tissue, and thereafter I confined my interest to the green water, in which my wife spotted several fish, and even a turtle.  We found no remnant of the astronauts’ clothes.  Perhaps the apes picked them all up.  After all, they always claimed they were more ecologically mindful than the humans.

Sorry, little bird, but the bigger birds are worthy of my interest too. 

Dragon Dave

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