Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Twilight Zone? Eclipse? Full Moon?

Well, there's at least two of those going on in two days (yes, on August 6th is the Full Sturgeon Moon, and there is a penumbral lunar eclipse). I haven't checked the TV listings yet for the third. Things are just weird around here today. Not only do I still feel ill (of course), but I got offered a part-time job that I didn't expect to hear from until Friday, forcing me to make an immediate decision between that job and a full-time job I have been sure I wouldn't last in for more than a few weeks. A panic attack, some fear that I was making mistakes, and I set everything in stone with a few calls. Maybe that wasn't weird enough for you, however. While I was on the phone with one of these jobs, I got an incoming long-distance call. I got it, and found out it was the new intern for the internship I did last summer, calling about where I may have left raw data sheets when I exited the position in August of 2008. Whaaat? She was very nice, and I tried to be helpful. The nature of the call was so strange though. I really thought I had handed them in to the coordinator.

I'm not sure why I am telling you this! But these are the things distracting me from birding. All this chaos, every day lately. I can't totally complain. I like excitement and strangeness.

No true birding today, although I'm actually birding all the time. I saw an American Crow picking through a discarded McDonald's bag on a rural road. On my walk in downtown Glens Falls to get to the library, I spotted a few House Sparrows near Glen Street. I saw about 10 dark grey-blue and white flying overhead. I have seen this a few times this year, and wondered what birds they could be. Today I realized, they were simply your typical Rock Dove (pigeon). You can tell I don't live in a city! Not that there aren't pigeons in Fort Ann. In fact, there's two that hang around the actual town center. But not in my neck of the woods.

The area seems sadly absent of the other garbage-pickers, the Ring-billed Gulls. They like K-Mart and the Queensbury Burger King. Not today while I drove by. In fact, I noticed today has been awfully quiet bird-wise. Yes, I saw those above, but I've been home most of today and briefly heard a few of the juvenile Blue Jay gang individuals. I have not heard nor seen a single House Wren, only one Chipping Sparrow, and nothing else. Most days it's a bird party around here!

So I felt a little lonely when I took my newly acquired wildflower field guides out to the yard (Wildflowers of the Adirondacks; Wildflowers of Maine, NH, and VT), sat nearby any flower I saw, and flipped away. I'm a wildflower newb. I'm not sure if I can approach wildflowers as I did birds. I don't recall ever feeling so overwhelmed with a bird field guide or even just staring at a bird as I do with a flower. There are those few I can always ID, such as jewelweed, white baneberry, spotted knapweed, smartweed, milkweed, yarrow, purple loosestrife, and buttercups. Note that most of those are wetland plants - I took a great wetland course at college. But there were a few today that I had an easy time with and even got excited to realize certain ones were in the yard: common St. Johnswort, common fleabane, birdsfoot trefoil, common mullein, and possible dwarf snapdragons.

Flipping through the book, there were those that were like old friends but whose names I had forgotten: bladder campion, Deptford pink, and I also suspect partridge-berry, but there's only leaves right now.

Also noticed the goldenrod is now blooming on roadsides! It's a favorite of mine.


Woodswalker said...

Good luck with your wildflower IDs. The great thing about plants is that they sit still, unlike birds or insects, and you can get a really good look at them, even take them apart to examine their structure, or taste them. (Yes, Sweet Fern makes delightful tea.) I find the Newcomb's Wildflower Guide the most useful because of its keying system. Makes you really look carefully and then you turn to the page and voila! there it is. Plus, it has more species than most other field guides.

Lindsey said...

Why thanks! I'm already finding out how nice it is that I can leave a plant and re-visit it hours or a day later. I'll have to find myself a way to make some sweetfern tea, there's plenty of it in the yard. :) Looks like I'll be getting myself a Newcomb's! I read the reviews on Amazon and I'm sold - sounds like a key I'm already familiar with as well. Better than flipping through 30 pages of white flowers. Thanks for the recommendation! That's the best way to find out about the best field guides. :)