Monday, November 10, 2008

Phantom of Shoelace

SCENE: Placerita Canyon - 8:30 am

Bob & Cynthia are getting off their Jeep and proceeding to the nearby butterfly garden. Both are carrying their camera equipment and looking for birds to photograph.

BOB: It's a beautiful day although it seemed a little quiet, bird-wise.

CYNTHIA: Look, there are some Lesser Goldfinches drinking from the dripping faucet.

They both take pictures of the goldfinches.

BOB: Let's go explore the canyon. Do you want to try the picnic area or hit the trails?

CYNTHIA: We've always had luck with the trails, so let's do that first.

BOB: OK, but don't forget to tie your left shoelace before we go.

Cynthia ties her left shoelace. They walk the trails, Cynthia listening for any song or twittering from the birds, but not hearing much.

BOB: Do you hear anything?

CYNTHIA: Not much, except for the Acorn Woodpeckers and the Crows flying overhead.

BOB: Gee, I wonder where the birds are. This year certainly wasn't very birdy.

They reach a bench to rest a little. A California Thrasher pops out of the brush and Bob was able to squeeze off a few shots at it before it flies off. Cynthia gets up and follows a sound she hears further up the trail. Bob prepares to follow her, but stops suddenly as a couple of Spotted Towhees alight not too far from him. He takes a shot at those. Bob then follows Cynthia who is now busy trying to get a picture of an Oak Titmouse. She was so concentrated on the titmouse, that she is unaware of a Ruby-crowned Kinglet foraging in the branches above her. Bob takes advantage of the situation and photographs the kinglet.

CYNTHIA: (discouraged) Those titmice are so active, I can't get a decent shot of them.

BOB: Don't worry, hopefully we'll encounter more of them later.

They are now on the return trail. Cynthia suddenly stops near the rear of the Nature Center.

CYNTHIA: Do you hear that?

Bob strains to listen for something. Soon they both hear a "Twoo-Hooo!"

BOB: (excitedly) Sounds like an Owl

Both try to follow the source of the sound. The hooting continues and Bob & Cynthia move back and forth trying to locate the owl, but couldn't find it.

BOB: It seems like it's coming from inside the Nature Center.

CYNTHIA: But the center is closed. They are renovating the building and there are fences all around it.

BOB: (resignedly) Oh well, let's just continue to the picnic area.

CYNTHIA: Wait, your shoelaces are untied. We don't want you tripping all over the place now, do we?

Bob sighs and ties his shoelaces. They walk to the picnic area. Just as they leave the Nature Center, the hooting stops. At the picnic area, they look around and were amazed at the lack of birds.

BOB: I can't believe how few the birds are!

CYNTHIA: Yeah, where are the Bluebirds and the Nuttalls's Woodpeckers?

BOB: And the Golden-crowned Sparrows? They used to be all over the place!

Suddenly, a large bird flies in and lands somewhere. Bob and Cynthia cannot see where it landed. They walk towards the grove of trees peering at the branches. As they were searching for the large bird, Bob notices Cynthia's shoelace.

BOB: You might want to tie your right shoelace this time. (He winks) We don't want you tripping all over the place, do we?

CYNTHIA: What? I can't believe this. First the left, now the right!

She ties her shoelace. They continue looking for the large bird.

CYNTHIA: There it is! There it is!

Bob looks through his binoculars at the object Cynthia is pointing at.

BOB: It's a Red-shouldered Hawk!

He takes a few shots at it but it flies off. They both follow the bird and refinds it perched even farther away. They still try to get pictures of the hawk despite the distance and the shaded light. Eventually the hawk flies off again. Bob & Cynthia sit at one of the picnic tables. A few minutes later, some Oak Titmice and several Dark-eyed Juncos were feeding on the ground not too far from them. Cynthia finally manages to get some good Oak Timouse photographs.

CYNTHIA: Let's go. It's almost 11 o'clock and we still have some errands to do.

Bob nods in agreement. They walk back to the Jeep. Near the parking area, a young Anna's Hummingbird was perched on a dry branch. They both take pictures of the hummingbird. Then they pack their gears as they prepare to leave.

BOB: Before we go, maybe you should tie your left shoelace again.

CYNTHIA: This is so weird! Never did this happen in our previous outings..and we have hiked longer distances than this!

BOB: (laughing) It could be the phantom owl of Placerita!

SCENE: Bob & Cynthia's house. 5 pm

Bob is in front of his PC processing the photographs they have taken.

CYNTHIA: So how many good shots did we make?

BOB: (distracted) Huh? What?

CYNTHIA: How many species of birds did we get good shots of?

BOB: Oh! Oh! Seven!

CYNTHIA: That's all? Are you disappointed that we didn't get a good harvest this time?

BOB: Oh no, not at all! I already had low expectations when we went to Placerita this morning. Besides, there's always something positive that happens everytime we go on our birding trips.

CYNTHIA: Oh yeah? And what is that?

BOB: Well, we....

Bob stands up and assumes a double-oh-seven pose.

BOB: ...Bond. Just bond.


csmallari said...

The ending is a tear jerker for me :)

That is so true, no matter how lousy a day may seem when we are out bird watching or photographing birds, spending the day with the one you love or even good friends, makes any lousy day seem like a very good day.

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