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Monday, May 13, 2013

Gooseberry Neck May/10/13

Golden sunflakes danced off the roofs of cars scattered through the parking lot, although eye-catching it was not eye-holding, the glimmer of a White-crowned Sparrows feathers were far too riveting.
It was just one of a surprisingly large mix of sparrow species in the area. Chipping Sparrows skipping past White-throated Sparrows who in turn danced among the Savannah and Song Sparrows. The latter, who's song could easily be heard anywhere on the preserve, outnumbered only by the gaily frolicking Yellow Warblers. 
White-crowned Sparrow
The sparrows amused us but for a short while. The feathered envoys of Gooseberry Neck called us away from the parking lot with angelic voices. We tripped merrily down the path gawking at the blazing red shoulders of blackbirds, the burbles of goldfinches. A terrible cry emerged from my brother breaking my extreme gawk. He had just seen the alien feathers and the corresponding body of a Kentucky Warbler wing into a patch thick bushes and, in the same manner, away. All far before I had a chance to get on it. A missed lifer.

We continued forth, our course unchanged by the sorrow that had descended upon my walk like a wicked voorish dome in Deep Dendo. "The black and green scarecrow is sadder than me, but now he's resigned to his fate, cause life's not unkind - he doesn't mind", so straightening my back and adjusting my binocular harness I followed in the footsteps of the straw-man. I returned to the Palace of San-Souci aided by a Chestnut-brown Canary one of my very favorite species. 

The clattering song of a Virginia Rail jarred me from my mind where I'd been going through an assortment of Led Zeppelin lyrics in hopes of finding one useful in just such a blog post as this. "In a tree by the brook, there's a songbird who sings, sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven" and all that. As I was saying, a Virginia Rail sang, surprisingly from some scrubby bushes a understanding between feather and twig that I had previously no knowledge of, and god was it a frustrating one. This bird was feet from the path and completely hidden. As I gnashed my teeth and stamped my feet it continued it's unforgiving squawk.

Least Terns called from the beach. Cormorants, antediluvian in all uses of the delightful word, mused on their shrouded past as I swirled through the land of aves accompanied by trusted binoculars. 
I dashed from bird to bird, dodging all distractions. I scented feathers and a nearby Ruby-throated Sparrow laughed, and said "pray, what may that creature be doing? I rise but a few yards in the air and settle down again, after flying around among the reeds. That is as much as anyone would want to fly. Now, wherever can this creature be going to?" In fact I was bounding to a pair of lifers although this was not a realization I had at that point come to.



Grasshopper Sparrow
The first lifer to materialize was a Bay-breasted Warbler. A handsome male who perched with all the grace that only a warbler can maintain for any great length of time (especially the Grace's Warbler) in the shrubbery along the path and right next to parking lot where the sunflakes still lazily glittered on the locomotives. "Sing your song, don't be long" I begged but the elegant bird refused and with a courteous nod, flitted away on equally elegant wings. I peered through the freshly deserted branches and spied a sight which thrilled me to the marrow. Overhead the gull hung 
motionless upon the air and deep beneath the rolling waves in labyrinths of coral caves, the echo of a distant tide comes willowing across the sand but I was far too enthralled with the Grasshopper Sparrow who had suddenly confronted my feather weary (but still hungry) eye's. Suddenly focused I gave not a damn about anything else (even Pink Floyd). This dainty mirage (which was not in fact anything but reality) hopped up onto a rock, glanced our way and then vanished with an imagined "pop". As our heartbeats slowed the waves rolled by and life flowed on, screaming through the sunlit sky, momentarily stranding us in our frozen bubble of awe. Thankfully we were able to catch back up with reality accompanied with some documentary photographs of the lifer duo.
Bay-breasted Warbler

"Look at the sky, look at the ocean, isn't it good?" But for me birding is far better...


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