Having decided, after due deliberation, not to go on the 8-mile Henry Coe hike this fine foggy morning, I found myself in need of a walk once foggy morning had given way to sunny afternoon. There not being all that much left of the afternoon, I headed out to the Palo Alto Baylands for an arbitrary stroll.
Almost immediately, it occurred to me that I should have brought the good camera, instead of no camera at all. (OK, so I had my PDA along, and it has a camera of sorts. I didn't think of that at the time, and anyway it wouldn't have been very useful.) Here it is, prime migratory-waterfowl season, and I wasn't prepared for photographing the critters.
A while later, as I walked out along the levee, a greater need for a camera appeared. A curious trick of perspective made it look like a small helicopter was perched atop one of the power towers out there in the shallows.
Now, wait a minute... that's not a trick of perspective. The helicopter really was perched atop the power tower! Then it buzzed off. A moment later, a slightly larger whirlybeast appeared, trailing a line with something large and orange on the end. A banner? A sling? It hovered briefly above the tower previously visited by the smaller copter, which seemed to have something anomalous at the top - a person? - then went two towers south. The south tower seemed to have two people in it; the copter lowered the orange thing, and waited, while the people on the tower grabbed the orange thing....
OK, so what's going on here? It looks like there are people up at the tops of three of the towers. Workers? Hunters, treed by fierce sabertoothed ducks? Anti-Gostak protesters?
...Anyway, the people grabbed the orange thing, and eventually the helicopter rose again... but instead of coming up with a person in the sling, it came up with an empty cable. Guess that wasn't a rescue sling. Maybe it was bait, and the copter came up with an empty hook? Better luck next time! Then back to the tower it had skipped over before, dangle the empty hook, and rise again with something unidentifiable, but smaller than the orange thing had been, dangling from the hook. It headed back north, toward the Palo Alto airport.
Then the smaller copter came back, also trailing a cable with an empty hook on the end. It lowered the cable to the top of a tower - the people there (now I could see that there were in fact two people up there) grabbed it - then the cable detached from the copter, and was hanging down the side of the tower. Huh??? And now, for the next trick... the copter set down on top of the tower; one of the people from the tower climbed on board, and the other started climbing down the tower. The copter then took its passenger to another tower and dropped him off.
Meanwhile, the larger copter had reappeared, again carrying one of those orange things, and continued the mystifying performance.
On second thought, maybe I needed the video camera, rather than the good still camera. The show was still going on when I left. Maybe it'll resume tomorrow, and maybe I'll have time to go back and see....