If you are looking for some entertainment you can walk on down to the Big Canyon Parking lot for some bird watching. By far the most entertaining activity are the clamming gulls. These guys have figured out how to dig the clams out of the mud. That’s the easy part, the hard part is getting the things open. If you think birds are stupid, think again. After the bird digs up the clam he takes off for the parking lot. They whirl around over the Big Canyon kiosk and up about 50 feet over the parking lot where they let go of the clam. The clam splats on the pavement exposing its delectable innards. The gull swoops down and slurps up the goodies and then heads back to the mud for another bivalve. This clamming trait is a fascinating link in an important food chain that exists in the Upper Newport Bay.
The last time we went to Big Canyon for some clamming action we were in for a surprise. There was a crow lurking in the bushes near the kiosk. When the clam hit the pavement the crow came rushing out to steal the goodies. Unfortunately for the crow the gull was so fast and aggressive the effort proved fruitless. When we left, the crow was still hanging around, waiting for another shot at stealing the gull’s dinner.
Gulls must have been harvesting clams in this manner for millions of years. One has to wonder how they learned to break clams in the first place. Perhaps a gull dropped a clam accidently and saw it break open.
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