Saturday, September 3, 2011

Clean-up Crew. [Warning: slightly grisly photos]

It has been estimated that most young living things have a pretty lousy chance of surviving their first year. (Roughly 10-50% depending on who and what is calculating/being calculated.) The odds go up significantly if you can make it through that first critical year, and often increase with increasing experience/age.

This young laughing gull wasn't one of the lucky ones. (That's ok; with the world's largest breeding population of the lovely, if annoyingly loud and behaviorally obnoxious--they never stole pizza off your plate when I was a kid!--birds right here in our very own backyard, we won't miss a few.)

But this school of mummichogs (big, fat, mud-colored minnows that the young fishing-with-grandpa girl in me still thinks of as "bait" and the biologist thinks of as adorable-in-their-ugliness little fish) won the lottery.

Marshland is a marvelous place. Everything is sooooo interconnected, from the moon to the mummichogs. Dead bird in high marsh, tide comes in and floods what was once dry (relatively speaking) ground, little fishies get to eat, clean up the mess, and continue the cycle. Awesome.

[Click on photos to enlarge a bit. Check out the fishy with the tidbit in the last shot and its neighbors, wondering if they can snitch it for themselves.]