Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Birding in the Real World Again

I'm retired now and can go birding whenever I want to. Whoopee! The Sandhill Cranes are at Ewing Bottoms in Brownstown, IN, and I missed the trip on Friday, so let's get in the car and drive up there. Yes, I'm somewhat of a wuss, and wait until the wind drops, hoping it would not be so cold. While driving north on the Interstate in the bright sunshine, I saw thousands of Cranes flying together going east. How beautiful! But, I wonder, will there be any left at the bottoms? Another 40 minutes and I found the answer...No, not a single crane!

This is the real world of birding, isn't it? The birds have decided to bring me back to reality. Expectations will not always be met. The bird you most want to see may not cooperate. Photos will not always turn out.

The birds on the frozen lake at Muscatatuck National Wildlife Reserve remind me of this truth. They cluster together on the middle of the ice, or in the one small liquid spot that is farthest away from where I am standing. The scope is fine in this situation. I can see the Canada Geese standing on one foot, head tucked under a wing, taking a snooze in the sun. Scattered among them are American Wigeon, Norther Shovelers, some Pintails, some absolutely gorgeous Wood Ducks, Black Ducks and shining Mute Swans. The Hooded Mergansers look great in the bins, but fly away as soon as they see me walking down the road to get closer photo. All part of the avian plan to bring me back to reality. By the way, my attempt at digiscoping was disastrous. All I could see in the camera screen was a reflection of my own face. I'm going to return that camera. I really want the new Nikon P-90 with a 24X zoom lens, but it hasn't been released yet. That will give me time to save some money up.

However, hope prevails, and sometimes things go right. I've seen this Heron in the same spot every time I go to Muscatatuck in winter. The large bird soaring in the distance is not a vulture, but the wished for juvenile Bald Eagle, YES! The Blue Birds serenade me as I scope the Geese looking for something NOT goose. Say, there's a big old gray goose, like Aunt Rhodie's old gray goose, the dead one. But this one isn't dead, it's swimming around with about a dozen or more of it's buddies. Large, gray, bright orange bill, and white on the forehead. Hmm, I wouldn't expect to find this many run away domestic geese in the wild. Sibley says that sounds like the Greater White-fronted Goose, marked with a green dot on the map for RARE! I email some friends at the Beckham Bird Club with the find. Maybe they will run up to confirm. The last surprise was a Horned Grebe, not the Pie Billed Grebe that I usually see. My ducking experience in Arizona has paid off, and I feel so much more comfortable identifying ducks than ever before.

When the birding slacks off, or even if it doesn't, I enjoy the landscape. How about this Indiana White Crocodile? Looks pretty vicious. I've never seen it in the summer.

The beavers aren't intimidated by anything, and continue to work away whatever the weather.

I admit, it feels funny not going to the office in the morning. Setting up a new activity schedule is my priority right now. Dick gave me the private tour at the YMCA, and I plan to start a yoga class tomorrow. Oommm.... Serenity, simplicity, stretching. Sounds like a good start.

1 comment:

Kathiesbirds said...

I love your Indianna White Crocadile! Sounds like you are having fun and the Yoga sounds good too!