Thursday, May 01, 2008

Old Man

I've had some wonderful moments this past week. The weather has slowly been warming, buds are popping out on trees, swallows are skimming over the pond, racing here and there, enjoying a few of the emerging insects, building their nests.

Kids have loved feeding the ducks and looking for insects. They thrill over finding an earth worm, or a pill (potato) bug; the anticipation of waiting for them to open up and walk around was just intoxicating.

As I was leaving work a few days ago, I noticed a bird flying over the pond, hunting little fish. At first glance I thought it was a gull, which would have been unusual in and of itself, as they don't generally venture into this little mountain valley. However it wasn't a gull, so I hurried back inside and grabbed my bins for a closer look. It was beautiful. Swerving, diving, soaring over the pond. It was a tern of some kind, but I'm not up on terns, so I just sat and watched. It took a dive into the pond, but came out empty handed. I continued watching, taking in every detail I could. It was such a beautiful day, I'd have loved staying and watching him longer. But once I got home, I looked him up. It was a Caspian Tern. Not too uncommon, but rare in some parts of the state.

On Tuesday, I was out working in my little flower garden. Pulling happily growing weeds, getting the soil ready for new additions to the garden. I heard a gull flying over head. Down here in the valley where I live, gulls are plentiful. But this one sounded different than our usual California Gull. So my interest was peaked. I glanced up, just curious to see who had this interesting voice. Look at that black hood! I dropped my gardening tools, and made a bee-line around the house for another look at him. But all I could see was his tail end, heading off to some distant waters. But there was no mistaking that hood. A Franklin's Gull had just graced me with a quite look. Beautiful bird.

Last night I drove home through a blizzard. And this morning came to work with the world looking like December again. That old man just doesn't want to let go.

Hot cocoa anyone?


djbrown said...

That's the cool thing about birding--you just never know! The impossible happens all the time! Keep the bins around! Love your love of the natural world--and you are right--we would all be better off by going out in it more often as well as recognizing it in ourselves!

Wren said...

This winter and spring have been driving us all crazy. Who would expect the weather in Michigan to be so much like Utah? I ask you, is this reasonable?

But then, there are rewards from nature, no matter how messy and inconvenient. Thanks for sharing your fortuitous sightings!

Bevson said...

Caspian Tern is a good bird. Are you close to the lake? I don't get waterbirds up here on the mountain. Sigh. Even though I live in a lake community. I haven't see a Caspian in years.