Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tales from the Pit - Episode 1: I Love Lucy...

...but Lucy doesn't love me.

Finally, after battling with a cold and coughing for one whole week, I was able to get out and bird last Monday. Peck Road Water Conservation Plant (aka Peck Pit) hosted a few interesting species lately, one of which, the Lucy’s Warbler, would be a lifer for me.

As in many, many times before, I had two “angels” to guide me in finding my target bird. Steve and Becky first showed me another uncommon visitor to the area, the Blackpoll Warbler high up in the sycamores by the picnic area. It was a yearlist bird for me.



We then moved to the northern part of the park and thanks to Steve’s sharp ears, we were able to locate the Lucy’s darting in and out of a willow tree. It was a very active tiny bird, moving incessantly from branch to branch and occasionally flying off to the trees near the water’s edge (and therefore inaccessible) that I wasn’t able to get a single photograph of it. Nonetheless, I was quite happy at seeing another lifer.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Jay that Saved My Day

One whole week I was sick. I can’t bird because I was too weak.
My wife says I have the whine flu, because whine, whine, whine
Is all I do.

“One week and not bird is quite absurd” nothing else she said she heard
from me. Until exasperated she said, “Look out the window..and see
what birds will show.”

Outside, plants abound, surely there are birds around. I opened the window
And there came a sound. A rustle, a flash of blue as something flew
And then I knew..

It was a Jay, a Scrub Jay that saved my day. Hip, hip hooray!
Taking a drink then staring at me without a blink, the Jay,
Simply made my day.







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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Solitary

It was many, many times I heard
My birding friends telling me
That there exists a sandpiper, a kind of bird
By the name of Solitary
And this bird lived with no other thought
Than to elude being seen by me

It was seen at the river and I went to the river
I followed when it was seen by the sea
But it wasn’t there when I was there
The quaint Solitary
Even with the help of birding friends
That sandpiper I wasn’t able to see.

And this was the reason that each time I seek
Whether inland or by the sea
That tiny bobbing, wading, little bird
Known as Solitary
That I ended up taking pictures
Of just any bird I happen to see
To satisfy my craving desire to have
Something to share through my photography

Many birds I encountered in my unending quest
For the bird I may never see
Were willing to pose in front of my camera lens
And that will just have to be
Now I present to you a Spotted Sandpiper
Instead of that stinking Solitary.





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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

A Reunion with Cassin's

One of the items in my "bucket list" was to visit Yosemite National Park. I have been living here in America for almost 25 years and never have I gone to one of the most famous wilderness parks in California.

My son had gone earlier with his friends and I was still hemming and hawing whether to follow or not. When he assured me and my wife that we would be getting a room for us at a nice hotel in Madera at dirt cheap rates, I no longer had an excuse.

My son, Kurt was already out hiking when we arrived. So Cynthia and I decided to visit the local water treatment plant (which is always great for birding). As expected, there were the usual peeps and dowitchers and the most skittish ducks we ever encountered. They would spot us from half a mile away and would suddenly take off in flight. The highlight of the day was a Peregrine Falcon surveying its surroundings from the ground!

Next morning after enjoying a sumptuous (free) breakfast (this not your regular "continental" style - they really had some good stuff -scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages..), we attended the services at Calvary Chapel in Fresno. Then it was sightseeing time at Yosemite. We were awed by the majesty of HalfDome and thrilled by the beauty of Bridalveil Falls.


As we were leaving the site of the falls, Cynthia and Kurt both heard some chirping above us. Dodging the huge crowd of tourists, we found a place where we can scan the trees without disturbing the throng of vacationers. There were a few birds darting from branch to branch about 50 feet up in the pine trees. I managed to squeeze off a few shots and it was only when I uploaded the pictures when we got home that I realized that what we saw were some Cassin's Vireos - a welcome addition to my year list. It has been quite some time since I last saw a Cassin's and this is actually the first time I got a picture of it. Not a good one, but enough to allow for a positive ID.




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