Wednesday, April 9, 2008

See how I lie to you?

You were expecting to hear more about San Francisco and about the Tiki party, but instead you are getting some stuff about birds (which is kinda related to San Fran).

On the Sunday of my trip to the West Coast, after Kate and Gene had packed up and were already at the airport, I had brunch with an old friend of mine and his girlfriend. Great greasy breakfast and fun conversation. It was a beautiful day, but all they could suggest to do was go somewhere and have a drink (ugh, why did you think I needed a greasy breakfast in the first place??). So, instead, we went to a natural preserve around one of the small bays. There was fantastic birdwatching there. If only I had my binoculors! Or my book! I could have identified a lot more winged critters. The flocks of seabirds mocked us by settling on the far shore where we could only see black and white blobs. Despite the fact that my friend, Dan, had promised me we would see herons, we saw no herons. What a liar!

Eventually, because the birds were so distinct, I was able to identify two of them when I got back home. (I'm such a bad birdwatcher that it took me days last summer to ID the pack of kestrels on the fence behind the dorm. I kept thinking "what a weird bird? And such unusual markings?" and then I saw it fly and I was "duh!" Kestrels are one of the easiest birds to figure out. Nothing looks like it! Nothing!) So, one of the bay birds was the Western Grebe, whom we affectionately had named "snake bird" because of how the neck was so long. The other was a hyper-active long-legged pair of birds that were Black-Necked Stilts. From the link, the writers say that it makes a lot of noise when it is disturbed. So, all of our "what the heck is that thing? You circle around that way and I'll go this way?" and "Can we get closer?" and "do you think it's a sandpiper?" and "what is it trying to say with all that yip yip yip?" were clues that the creature was telling us to "back off, man, or I will cut you!"

Not the most exciting post, but you better get used to it. Spring is freakin' here and the birds are a-twittering. Maybe I'll fall into the mud again for your amusement?


K. A. Laity said...

Well, I won't complain because I'm always giving the raptor count here. This area is just stupid with hawks and falcons -- lots of red tails, some rough-legged, broad-winged and the occasional peregrine. We generally see at least a dozen or two between here and Kingston when we drive down at the right time of day (i.e. when it's not too dark to see).

The Queen said...

I see lots of raptors down near the coast- and a convention's worth of Canada Geese these days!
I spotted a turkey vulture PERCHED on a road sign in New London today. Perched - not circling, not tearing the carotid artery of some roadkill's neck, just perched. And they are freaky butt-ugly birds.