Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Little Observations

My truly intense birding has been put on hold since the Moreau bird walk from this past weekend, as after enjoying an evening on the town with Dave (from The Park), a deer apparently ran into the side of my car while I was driving, in the early morning hours, leaving Saratoga. I was hoping to get a full post up complete with photos (I know, I know, it's not bird stuff, but still related to nature), but the exhaustion of worrying about the cost of car repair, of not having the car and trying to get to and from work, and being in quite a lot of pain (muscular) from my neck to my back and through my shoulders, has put me mostly out of commission.

I did take a short walk yesterday as it was absolutely lovely outside of this time of year. I live not far from a small, quiet pond that looks more like glass than water, complete with a trail that runs alongside it and the brook that's part of it, where I had previously witnessed a pudgy blue jay taking a bath and loudly making it's metallic call. This time around, I heard an unfamiliar call note eminating repeatedly from the pond and had to do some detective work. Loud, short bursts of a high-pitched whistle were carrying down the street. As I walked over, I noticed about 10-15 mallards in all parts of the pond, chasing after each other. Ahhhh, the whistling mating call of the drakes. I had never witnessed it before in person, so this was a treat. I did not witness any of them actually getting busy, however. They appeared to be flirting rather than doing anything more serious.

Also spotted at this pond was a pileated woodpecker hanging out in his or her own nicely chiseled hole in the top of a dead tree. It would peak it's head out, look around a bit, and then sneak back into the hole. A few muffled knocks made me think it was still putting some finishing touches on it's lair.

Today I tagged along with my grandmother while she ran errands in Wilton. I was in a fairly semi-comatose state, exhausted from the past few days and pain. I was still able to enjoy the ring-billed gulls that frequent the area (almost every parking lot there). I have noticed that birders often think of them as 'trash' birds and not worthy of a count, but their antics are amusing, and it seems each individual has it's own unique personality. I saw two fighting for a spot on top of a lightpost, others scattered, one bird each to each light, all facing the same direction. Closing one's eyes there, one can listen to the calls and imagine oneself is standing near the ocean for a moment. Also, I was approached by a small adult ring-billed in the parking lot, the gull walking up to me and calling. I just stood and watched in amusement, not holding onto any food, and it soon flew off to hopefully find a more willing participant in it's search for lunch. The gull reminded me of my one-legged gull buddy in Erie who would visit when I'd sit in Presque Isle State Park with a bag of Sheetz french fries, except my Erie buddy was more patient and not so demanding.

Looks like it might be a bit before I get back out there with my bins, as I cannot even raise my arm high enough to use them.

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