Unpredictably Predictable

My last 2023 visit to Huntington Beach State Park last week was much like all the others, this year and other years: Wonderfully predictable and unpredictable. Predictable in the generalities; unpredictable in the specifics.

Predictable: Seeing alligators. Unpredictable: Seeing so many (and this collage omits the six I could see basking on the near side of a small island in the pond).

Predictable: Seeing pelicans. Unpredictable: Seeing one sitting close to the walkway while going through its pretzel-bird grooming routine.

Digression – The grooming routine is best seen in motion.

End of digression.

Predictable: Seeing great blue herons. Unpredictable: Seeing one imitating a Major League Ball outfielder going for a catch.

The pattern continued when I arrived home (aka back at our rental apartment). Predictable: Seeing anoles scampering over the walls. Unpredictable: Catching sight of an anole’s dewlap for the first time…

… and seeing an anole catch sight of me.


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14 Responses to Unpredictably Predictable

  1. Great images Isabel.
    It’s the unpredictability that keeps people coming back to the same place.
    Always nice to have some video in with the stills. (although one often misses some great still shots while shooting video and vice versa)

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim R – Many thanks. I often struggle to choose between still and video — I want both!

  2. Tom Watson says:

    Goodness, those are great pictures!

  3. Judith Umbach says:

    Excellent evocation of the pond. I saw lots of pelicans in Tanzania, but none grooming in such an athletic way!

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Judith – Many thanks. I’ve seen them doing these contortions before in the same location, and always struggled to get photos that captured the range of motion. Video works way better!

  4. The predictable splendid photos. (Alligators still or in motion give me the creeps, willies, and rushes of adrenaline verging on terror.) Less predictable but much appreciated is your choice of music to the birds in motion. I have seen pelicans as close but holding firmly to their dignity. What fun to see a contortionist with its starched manners on hold!

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – Hahaha. I know what you mean about “starched manners.” I have photos of them looking down their long nose at me. They can seem quite severe. This is a whole other side to their natures.

  5. barbara carlson says:

    Pelicans can be extremely unappealing when they put their beaks up and over their own heads. What is that all about? We have them in Newport Beach, by the pier.

  6. Mary Gibson says:

    Absolutely brilliant photos!

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