Sunday, October 19, 2008
I'm still on the e-mail list for Orange County Birding (that's Orange County, California, not Florida), and apparently, fall migration out there has been just as lively as it's been here. Yesterday, Glenn went to Peters Canyon Regional Park in search of the Bald Eagle that's been on everyone's To See list as of late—he missed it by about 10 minutes (as he learned from a photographer who had just been shooting it), but he did get one of his long-time grail birds: a Cactus Wren. More precisely, TWO Cactus Wrens, both of whom were happy to pose cooperatively for him.
This is a bird I've never seen myself, and a new bird for Glenn. Thus, it's an even better treat than a Bald Eagle.
This, and all the other cool sightings back there (Black-billed Cuckoo?! Holy freaking crap!) were starting to make me homesick. I miss the marsh at San Joaquin. And poking through the (mosquito- and water-moccasin-free) brush at Huntington Central Park, looking for wayward migrants. And comparing sightings with the other birders who frequent these areas.
But...if I were there, I wouldn't be getting all the good stuff here. Like the pelagics that hang out at Newnans Lake after big storms. And the companionship of a friendly and fantastically knowledgeable birding community. And treats such the 12 (that's right, TWELVE!) warblers I got this morning at Palm Point and Powers Park—and those were just the ones we could ID definitively. I wouldn't have missed this for the world.
When I was a kid, I imagined that by the year 2000, we'd all travel either by jet packs (for short commutes), or by teleportation, à la Star Trek (for longer distances). Pretty much every other kid I knew believed this as well, and our teachers and parents did nothing to disabuse us of this idea. Maybe they too thought we'd be able to pull it off.
And if we had, I'd be able to bird the Gainesville hot spot of my choice from sunrise until, say 11; hop into a wormhole shooting me directly to Bolsa Chica or Huntington Central, where I'd bird with Glenn from 8 (Pacific Time) to noon, have a nice lunch, then pop back to Gainesville in time for a shower and a few light errands before dinner. Or maybe even some sunset birding! How cool would that be?
But NOOO..instead, we' ve squandered our considerable energy and creativity on [insert name of your least favorite military expedition/public works project/time-wasting pop culture obsession here].
So my dream day of bicoastal migrant chasing probably won't happen in my lifetime. Drat.
Life can be fun, but sometimes, it's just not fair.