Phil Parker (tigertoy) wrote,
Phil Parker

Fighting the bleahs by looking at birds

I had the bleahs today and the fact that it was cold, grey, and looked like the threatened scattered showers were likely to start up as soon as I stuck my head out of the house kept me inside longer than I should have been, but I eventually got out.  It was late enough that I wasn't sure I'd have enough daylight to make it all the way around Lake Mingo, so I went to the marshes instead.  It didn't rain, and it was pleasant as I went along the trail through the woods, but I was just kind of drifting until I got back to the marshes and spent about 20 minutes slowly making my way between the two marshes where the beaver dam is.  I went slowly because I was so enchanted by the kingbirds who were willing to tolerate my being pretty close to them and especially the swallows.  There were at least 4 kingbirds and maybe as many as 6, and they seemed almost to be acting like a flock rather than pairing off.  And there were a bunch of swallows.  A couple of tree, one barn, and the rest plain brown which a look in the birdbook tells me must be rough-wings.  Amazing acrobatic flying; I would have enjoyed lingering longer, but I was starting to need to pee, so I went back to the car.

At this point, I considered that I still had more than an hour of daylight (and the clouds were breaking up, and I was feeling better), so I drove to another bit of the park that I thought I hadn't been to before, the Raccoon Run Trail.  When I got there I realized I had in fact been there before but it was still a pleasant area.  I spent a few minutes watching a fish in the little dammed up ravine there called Adrian's Pond.  I don't know anything about identifying fish, but this one was unusual for casual just-looking-in-the-water fishing in that he was, I'd say, just over a foot long, actually big enough to be legal to catch.  I also had a red-headed woodpecker on that bit of trail.  It happened to bubble up in my memory that in the silly kid's game Careers, there's a square you can land on that says "spot Yellow Bellied Sapsucker, 4 Happiness" -- but the red-head is the species that gives me the most happiness points.

I returned to my car and decided I still had enough daylight left that instead of going home I would go to Heron Park.  The sun had actually come out enough that I needed sunglasses.  There, in addition to a couple of herons and many redwings, I spotted a chimney swift, a coot, 4 goslings, and a little rail.  Rails being a type of bird that one doesn't actually see even though they may be around, I have no experience identifying them.  It seemed more grey than brown.  Looking at the bird book, I think it was more likely a sora than a Virginia.  I also heard a strange call that I'm sure would clearly identify the caller.
Tags: birds, kennekuk, nature, walks
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