Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Beep! Beep!

It would be unthinkable for me to have a three-day weekend and not go birding at all! Heat wave notwithstanding, we set off to Peter's Canyon in the city of Orange, if only to see the Roadrunner that frequents the area near the Ranger's station.

Getting to the canyon wasn't as easy as we thought because "Kit" (from an old TV series called Knight Rider which has a talking car) our GPS guide kept telling us to take Route 261 which was a toll road. Tightwad that I am, I adamantly refused to take Kit's advice and it (he?) kept saying "Turn back. Turn back". Finally silencing the GPS and just looking at the map, we arrived at our destination a little later than we planned to.

Just as we were entering the trail, a roadrunner came running. Towards us! Caught by surprise, we were unable to focus properly on the speeding ball of feathers. In a flash it disappeared among the thick tangle of bushes behind us.

Birds were few and far between as we traversed undulating trails, straining our inexperienced legs. Getting back to the Ranger's station without so much as a couple of yucky shots, I saw the roadrunner standing atop a picnic table. It was heavily backlit so we angled for a better shooting position. It must be our sweaty stench that gave us away for it abruptly sprinted to a low concrete structure and stared almost tauntingly at us. Nevertheless, stealth and patience paid off, as I was able to get off a few good shots. Cynthia was not as fortunate.

The heat was becoming unbearable so we bade goodbye to our target bird. We were already on Jamboree Road so I suggested that we visit Upper Newport Bay. Since we won't have to get out of the car in birding UNB, Cynthia agreed. Once again, there wasn't anything unusual. It was obvious, though, that the high temperatures were affecting even seabirds, as many of them had their beaks open (their way of cooling off, I presume).

We got the hint and headed for the comforts of home.

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