Saturday, June 22, 2013

Searching for Solitude


Work's been really tough on me this week and won't' go into much detail except to say when I get home my brain feels as if it's going to burst and so heavy simple things like putting away dishes and sweeping the floors are too taxing so spent most of my free time staring into space getting ready for the next day of hell.  Not to mention another hefty car bill (this time a broken strut that actually crumbled when my mechanic got it up in the lift meaning it's been like that for a long time-so glad I caught it in time), and I'd be one defeated puppy.  It would remind me how tough it is to be an adult sometimes as the weight of the world is on your shoulders and all you want to do is escape, but reality sets in and you know that you can't.

A walk in the woods is permitted though and I'd ask my youngest son if he wanted to join me and be thrilled when he said yes (the highlight of my week).  We'd head to Brierly and I'd give him the binoculars while I had the camera and I'd be shocked to hear him ID birds I couldn't see without the bins and sure enough he'd be right with even a Downy Woodpecker call, which goes to show all the birding I do rubs off on my kids without them even knowing.  The highlights for him would be the singing of the Winter Wren as well as the "Who cooks for you" of the Barred Owl and the Beaver above.  I'd hear it's alarm call as its tail hit the water and he'd look at me perplexed and I'd let him know it was the local beaver and we'd be thrilled to see it was close by.  My son was so excited he proceeded to take pictures and post them on Facebook so think I've found a new way of bonding with him.

This morning I'd do what I thought about all week, which was hit the South Main Power Lines before sunrise to catch the first of the summer dawn chorus.

Bird song has decreased dramatically since May migration-but the breeding birds would be out and singing including the Eastern Towhee above who'd be singing it's usual song but an un-standardized version so of  course I had to record it as part of my new hobby!

There'd be another 3 or so Towhees all in the same general location and all singing the same song so not sure if it's the dawn song or not, but it was interesting to say the least.

Dawn song of the Eastern Kingbird above.  It would still be dark out when I recorded this and the powerlines would be alive with the sound of birds and bullfrogs all around as well as a wonderful breeze to help wake me up.  I'd get there before sunrise and be surrounded by inky gray skies and all the stress from the past week would melt away and it would be then I'd realize why I love birds as much as I do.  Relationships with people and even pets can be so trying at times as one often feels as if they give more than they take, but with birds they ask nothing of you except to give them the space and respect they deserve.  When the world is too much to bear all I need to do is look out the window and nine times out of ten, I'll find a bird to watch and will feel better seconds later.  You sure can't beat that.

After that it would be off the Brierly with my goal of hitting the same body of water I did last week, but this time the other side which never got the attention it deserved.

I'd do some recording here and there on my way to my destination promising myself I'd only stop for the unique including a Wood Thrush not only singing but calling as well.  Bird calls are now my number one fixation as they're tougher than songs and are heard year round, so it's in my best interest to learn them, so of course I'd hit the record button!

LOVE the "Thwak" call of the Wood Thrush and in looking at my Xeno-Canto records, this is the bird I've recorded most- in total appreciation of their song ability which you can see in the sonogram above.

I'd finally get to the small pond and birds would be everywhere.  I'd both hear and see a Pileated Woodpecker as it flew across the water as well as hear two Yellow-throated Vireo's making for a nice surprise.  Abandoned Heron's nests would be scattered on tree tops and there'd be both Green and Great Blue Heron's including what looks to be this first year above.  He'd land fairly close which allowed nice looks when suddenly an Eastern Kingbird would fly in and dive bomb him.  I'd have my binoculars for a better view as I watched the kingbird swipe at it's head and the heron would open its bill real wide in an effort to grab it I'm guessing.  I'd hold my breath the first few times hoping the kingbird would survive and after a few seconds I'd be reminded why this bird is called "Tyrannus tyrannus" as the heron didn't stand a chance against the kingbird.  The flustered heron finally had enough and would fly away as the kingbird followed suit continuing to dive bomb it as well as a Red-winged Blackbird who decided to join in on the fun, just to piss the heron off even more.  It would then that the sound of birds would be interrupted by the sound of moi letting out the only laugh of the week as I roared with it as I watched them fly on by.  I'd continue to bush whack and would hear many sparrows so stopped in an attempt to pinpoint where I heard a potential Swamp Sparrow who continued to sing sporadically the entire time I was there.

Song Sparrows would be about too including the two juves above who were so trusting of me I didn't have the heart to bush whack past them until they flew away.  They just looked at me curiously as I looked at them and my heart would swoon.  By then my cell phone battery would be close to dead but darn it I wanted a recording of the Swamp Sparrow.  I forgot the memory card to my camera at home so video was out of the question and after getting three confirmed calls of the bird I'd resign myself to the fact it wasn't meant to be as I headed on home for a much needed nap.  I'd wake up refreshed and would head to Best Buy where I'd proceed to buy a digital recorder just to capture the sound of birds.  And so begins the next chapter of the Curious Birder's many journey's.

Take care all.

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