10 am, Monday, Feb. 9th. I'm sitting inside my Jeep watching a horde of coots feeding on the grass completely oblivious of the downpour. Droplets of rain streamed down my windshield while flashes of lightning and claps of thunder punctuated the gloomy morning.
It wasn't like this when I arrived at Bonelli Park around 8 am. The skies were blue albeit covered every now and then by gray clouds. Birds were singing paeans to a morning that finally promised sunshine after several days of constant rainfall. One tree harbored five species clustered near the top as if trying to get as close to the sun as possible. A Northern Flicker, a couple of American Robins, a flock of House Finches waited for a break in the clouds while the Nuttall's Woodpecker was busy pecking away at the trunk. Western Bluebirds were flying back and forth, sometimes perching near the Flicker or the Robin as if asking for a weather update.
After saying hello to the resident Painted Redstart, I drove to the East Shore where to my utter delight an adult Bald Eagle came flying towards my direction. Without even thinking, I grabbed my camera and was able to fire off a couple of shots before the majestic bird disappeared from view, never to be seen again.
I moved on to where the grebes and ducks were just waking up. To my surprise, my birding pal, Monte Stinett, was there waiting for the Western Grebes to do their water ballet. Unfortunately, the grebes were not cooperating and so we just talked shop until tiny rain drops started to fall on us. We quickly returned to our vehicles so that our precious camera gear would be spared from getting an unwarranted splashing.
As I sat in my Jeep a feeling of peace and even joy flooded my being. The past week was fraught with nonchalance and languor (see my previous blog titled "The force be with you"). But today as I birded in the rain... "there's a smile on my face, I'm happy again..."
The song "Singing in the Rain" is sung by Gene Kelly from the movie of the same title.
* Singing in the Rain, 1952