Sunday, October 18, 2009

Say the Word and See the Bird

She did it again. Conjuring up a bird seemingly out of thin air. I’m talking about my wife and her uncanny ability to locate a bird that we are looking for. She doesn’t make it happen all the time, though. Only when the proper motivation is there. Aye, there’s the rub.

We have scheduled Friday, October 9th, this way: She’ll go birding with me in the morning then I’ll take her shopping right after that. She needed to buy some stuff to send to her grandchildren in the Philippines and she wanted to get it all done before we meet up on Saturday with her son-in-law who is in Carlsbad attending a Pastor’s conference. So we had a deal. I told her I wanted to go to Bonelli Regional Park to try and find the Bobolink..then she can do all the shopping that she needs to do.

Early Friday we were at the North shore of the park shivering in the nippy air. Surveying the lake’s edge we saw a pair of Redheads among the Mallards and the immature Brown Pelican standing at the edge of the mudflats. The mudflats! It was at the grassy portion of the mudflats that the Bobolink had been spotted. After some meandering we finally discovered the path that leads to the aforementioned grassy area. Only to realize that we have go through some squishy, muddy spots to get there. We eventually reached our destination and flushed a bunch of birds, mostly Savannah and Song Sparrows. Scanning the place with my binoculars, I also saw a Lincoln’s Sparrow and had a quick, fleeting glimpse of a yellowish-brown bird. “That could be the Bobolink”, I told my wife. I then proceeded to give a short description of our target bird to Cynthia. Interestingly, she didn’t bring a camera nor a pair of binoculars as she usually does. I guess her mind was more focused on the shopping she will be doing later. Nevertheless, I told her that the Bobolink has similar coloration to a Meadowlark, except the bill is much shorter and a bit reddish in color. It is also slightly bigger than a sparrow, I explained to her. That said, I began my stake-out at the edge of the grassy area watching for every movement while my wife stood nonchalantly looking at the trees behind me. As I concentrated on my vigil I heard a very soft “bobolink, bobolink, bobolink…”. I took a quick look behind me and saw my wife with her eyes closed, and as if in prayer chanting the name of the bird we were looking for. I smiled as I returned to my stake-out, cyncially thinking to myself the things Cynthia would do just so she can go shopping. Until…..

“There it is.”, she said quietly. I turned around and looked at the direction she was pointing at. And indeed, there it was. Posing for about fifteen minutes as I rattled off perhaps fifty frames, our latest lifer was a joy to behold. Satisfied that it had obliged a pair of grinning birders, the Bobolink then flew off to pursue its own affairs. And now it was my turn to oblige my wife’s desires.

For more (equally successful?) birding blogs and photographs, please visit:


eileeninmd said...

Congrats on your lifer lifer. Great photos too. The Bobolink would be a lifer for me. Hopefully I will see it soon.

Anonymous said...

That's quite a talent. Has she considered a career as a bird guide? :)

mick said...

Nice photos and you are certainly lucky to have someone to conjure up the birds for you like that!

Larry Jordan said...

Exquisite shots of the Bobolink Bob.

Hey Cynthia, would you care to come up to Northern California for a few weeks for a visit? There are a few lifers I need to find too ;-)

Jann said...

I just found your blog, and am smiling over the the nice bobolink photos! I saw my first bobolinks this summer, it was a wonderful surprise since they don't live 'in' the area I live, but it turns out live in nearby outlying areas. Yay! The males were molting, they looked funny! Anywho, nice blog!