Thursday, January 21, 2016

A seal (phoca vitulina) atop a traffic light?

The morning coffee ritual over, we were walking back to the car parked on the street along the foot of high dunes that hid the ocean.

After several days of bad weather, this morning was calm and warm, with only a few clouds lazily hanging almost stationary in the sky.

The call of a seal came from beyond the dunes.

Wait, that's a seal, let's go see it.


We make our way a set of stairs. The seal is calling again. It sounds normal, not in distress, so we take our time.

The stairs end at a pedestrian crossing with traffic lights towering over the street almost on top of the dunes. It is one of those press to cross deals.

The seal has stopped calling.

We press the button and wait.

I can't wait to see a seal, it's been a while.

As if on cue, the seal calls again.

But something is wrong: the seal call comes from above, not from the beach. We look up, expecting, well, nothing really.

Oh, my god.

The exclamation is followed by laughter. There, on top of one of the traffic lights sits a crow. A big one, pitch black and alert.

It opens its beak and makes the seal call, turns its head as if to check how we react.

We laugh.

It makes the seal call again, then immediately bends forward a little as the light goes back to red. The crow carefully inspects the red light, its head almost disappearing. We press the button again.

The crow decides it has had enough, flaps its wings and takes off towards the street we just came from.

Stumped by a crow, not bad, if you think about it. Should have spent some time on YouTube and gone through the clips that show the great abilities of crows in mimicking other animals, including humans.

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