[Tweeters] The Bird That Walks On Leaves

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign15 at gmail.com
Fri Oct 11 14:30:05 PDT 2019

I was down at Kah Tai lagoon the other day and saw something very interesting.

While sitting on a bench near the shore minding my own business, two American Coots clambered up on the grassy shore near me and started eating little weed sprouts and stuff.They weren’t moving around too much-plenty to eat. They gradually moved about 6 feet from me -about the closest distance my 8X power binoculars can focus. I love getting a real close-up view of things.

First I admired the shield (that knob at the top base of the bill) which glowed like polished mahogany -I've never noticed it quite so well before. Of course there were the red eyes, white bill with it's little dark mark, the black feathers-all well-known Coot features..

At such a close range I really couldn't see all of the bird at once, just parts. It was then that I noticed some strange leaves under the Coot. It was some marsh plant I'd never seen before with with banded palmate leaves. I then realized it wasn't a plant, it was the Coots feet! Coots have really cool feet. Quite large for the size of the bird and flat as a crepe so it was easy to mistake for vegetation.

Of course the Coot is also The Bird That Paddles With Leaves. While many consider Coots list filler ("yep saw 50 species today, oh and also Coots”) I think they are one of the coolest birds ever invented.

Also down at the Lagoon it was nice to hear whistling Widgeons, which were the most abundant duck of the day, a few Pied -billed Grebes, a pair of Hooded Mergansers, and Great Blue Heron. Also saw several udders of Bushtits in the shrubbery.

Jeff Gibson
Just sayin’
Port Townsend Wa

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