Saturday, February 18, 2006

Braving the elements

Fjord’s interest in birding has continued to develop, leading to the establishment of a regular birding schedule. The plan is to go every Thursday morning before our 9:30 classes. When I canceled this week’s trip, we agreed to go instead on Saturday. A cold front blew in, though, and I was reluctant to venture out into the freezing rain and 30 degree temperatures.

So we canceled. And I justified it by telling myself that we could go Sunday morning when the thermometer had risen ten degrees. But by Saturday morning, Sunday’s forecast was in the 20s, and I decided that we had better just go before the weather got any colder.

I bundled up in enough layers to make any self-respecting Texan proud and courageously stepped into the wind and frost. Fjord and I walked down to the pond. I hoped that, even if we didn’t see anything new, the more familiar birds would begin to solidify with Fjord, allowing him to be free from my rather unreliable birding leadership.

Grackles greeted us, and several cardinals with cheerful songs. I wondered if my eyes would ever stop watering enough to allow me to see any of the birds.

We didn’t really see too much. I only had about 45 minutes, and most of the birds were clinging close to the houses. We did see a Red-Bellied Woodpecker with a belly bright enough to satisfy even the VAAM, though.

At 10:15 we parted -- Fjord went to his dorm, and I waited for a carpool in the dining-hall parking lot. Unbeknownst to me, the group had left at 10, but I had fun watching the sparrows, warblers, and juncos while I waited. Finally, at 10:45, when I couldn’t feel my toes or bend my fingers, I went back to my heated dorm room.


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