The Newport Performing Arts Center (not pictured obviously!) on Christmas Eve eve was a treasure: first we saw a local ballet troupe perform Nutcracker Remix in 3D, an absolute hoot and very well done. There is nothing like a 3-year-old ballerina to lift your spirits, unless it’s a 3-year-old Nutcracker soldier battling a mouse king three times his size – best sword play I’ve seen on stage since I saw Baryshnikov dance the Nutcracker in Atlanta once! And then later that evening, we heard none other than David Ogden Stiers read from “A Christmas Carol” and other Christmas works – world class actor, small audience – we felt very privileged.
Between performances, an informal synchronized flight show was taking place a bit north of the Arts Center. As a rule it’s too windy/wet/cold at the coast (there’s a reason we rarely use the term “beach” in Oregon) for plein air sketching. This weekend was no exception, and I came prepared with my camera. A flock of gulls had congregated because some idiot was throwing them bread – it was fun to watch them catch the chunks in mid-air, but what I know about wild birds is that you shouldn’t feed them white bread. When Bread Man left, a cloud of gloom descended on the flock, and they all took up posts on the fence and stared moodily out to sea from the Nye Beach Parking Lot (obviously so named by the good people in the Tourism Bureau). Good mood or bad, it’s very difficult to avoid an expression on a bird face that doesn’t look cranky… still working on that! The blob of red on the tip of their beaks doesn’t help much, kind of makes it look like they just tore apart their prey and forgot to use their napkins… the NationalAudubon Society web page tells me that this is probably a Western Gull, and the wing span can be up to five feet… wow!