Saturday, April 12, 2008

Bird Crazy

So, migration is getting into the swing, and I haven't been birding in ages and ages. Yesterday I went to Maria's to pitch in on some weeding and mulching. Got sunburned a little where I missed a spot on my left shoulder. Oh man, I'm rambling. Ah well, it's OK because I haven't had any coffee yet (argh!), and I'll eventually get to the point.

I brought my binocs to Maria's just in case. She's a birder pal, as well as a garden pal, a public health pal, a spanish-speaking pal, and just an all around fantastic pal. While we were hoeing, scraping, mulching, and picking out henbit galore, we heard the loud teacher teacher teacher of the ovenbirds.

So yeah, migration.

We tried to see the yellow-throated warbler, but his sweetie sweetie sweetie belied his location (can I use belie that way?). Despite our neck craning and patience, we didn't see him.

I suppose this taste of spring migration is what led to my dream last night. I discovered what I thought was a nest inside my house. I saw a male American Redstart in molt sitting on a low shelf, and cautiously approached. I held out my finger, hoping he'd perch on it, but he just pecked at it. It hurt, but in quite a delightful way. I got him some seed and lay it near him. He ate it immediately, and as I watched I saw that there were more birds, baby birds, behind a basket on the same shelf.

Time lapse. I went to get a camera. None of them worked.

So I returned to just observe. Between going to get the camera and returning, my parents' housekeeper of over 20 years, Ruth, had been to visit. She had cleaned off the shelf, leaving just the basket. I picked up the basket, and inside I realized things had changed since I'd last checked in.

Instead of baby birds and a lone molting Redstart, there was now a mix of warblers. Some I knew, and others I didn't. There were two Blackpoll Warblers that I first mistook for Black and White Warblers. (Actually, in the dream I thought they were Blackburnian Warblers, but I meant Blackpoll and just confused the name. Now, looking at the pictures, they actually were Black and White Warblers, because they had stripy heads).

There were about 5-6 birds in that basket, and there was one that I seriously had no idea about. It was a warbler, but it was no warbler I'd ever heard of. The most distinguishing mark was the thin yellow X across its throat.

Yesterday I was remembering the time I had an avian visitor in the house. I bet that's another reason for my dream last night.

I need to get out there. I suppose I'll head out tomorrow morning before I let migration pass me by.