The other day I was traveling back from PA to south Jersey....traveling on the interstate. Late night....eyes tired. A full day and now, just me and who knows who else, but yes, us....traveling on the interstate.
Times like this makes one just drive and think..ponder and reflect at the hours that just transpired. Work..play....fun....family...kids... Now the day was done as I made my way across state-lines. Crossing over the bridge and hitting the jersey side...down the interstate.
I made it down to exit 28 into Hammonton....turned off and started the connection to the Black Horse. Turned on to Black Horse....more time to think. Think and reflect....eyes on the road but not really, eh? Hands just on the wheel like I was riding a bike, ..one never forgets. Foot pedal down, eyes forward but tired as lights come my way. I turned off at the exit to Mays Landing and started the last of my journey to Mays Landing on the 559....
Took a curve...my bright lights came on....I edged further, that much closer to home. Sometimes we see things out of the corner of our eyes and not sure what, most of the time. A quick movement of a shadowy creature flew out from one tree to the next.... Large, silent.....it landed and melted into the tree line even as I drove by. I just drove on.....
I like to people watch and usually with a camera as I love street photography. But today as Deb was in Shoprite I decided to wait in the car and to 'bird watch'....I suppose if I was just looking out for women I could say I was bird watching but today I meant bird watching in our feathered friends, as opposed to frenzied ones.
As you can tell by the detailed map of the Shoprite parking lot, my car (in red) at the very bottom is in a prime spot to 'look out' ...forward...to view a vast expanse of territory, and to yes, just observe. My car was near a couple of trees and birds collected near the shadows. By birds, I mean.....crows, gulls and a few starlings. So it wasn't like I was really keying in on any migratory behavior, but just normal stuff.
My overall take on this is that birds are impulsive. Like my young grandkids who just manage to veer off in any direction at any time...birds are the same. They just go. They are not thinking.....they are not planning, they have no agenda, they are not plotting a world take-over etc...But rather, they act totally impulsive in their mannerisms to 'in what direction' do they fly.
Take for instance the flight pattern of bird #1. It flew out in front of me and then it flew to the left but not directly as in 'right angle' left but more of a general slant left. It went aways and for no apparent reason decided to turn right and land on the top of a light pole. Impulsive ....for if it had any true agenda and cognitive thought, it would have flown directly to the light pole.
Bird #2 flies out, then right...then a twist or turn (and perhaps a shout), and then meanders to a light pole. They seemed to like light poles.
Bird #3 file out straight, then left, then right and then right again. Not even a military cadence to that...(left, left, left right left..)
So go figure.... I did notice that on my map, that no bird ventured to Alabama...say, who put Alabama*** on my map anyhow? And in permanent marker to boot....If I find out who did that, I guess I am going to 'fire them'.....
***If you can't figure out the connection, just think of the 'idiot in charge' and you will arrive and some conclusion. Hint: Black Markers
Today is the first Sunday of the NFL....'corporate sports'. Though not a corporate america fan I have to 'cowboy-up' and state that two of my most favorite days are the opening day of the NFL as well as the opening day of baseball. One in the fall, the other in spring. But wow....I just love the feel Something akin to when I buy a new pair of cowboy boots I relish the smell of newly minted leather, while no smell what-so-ever for the opening days of baseball and football, ....the thought of it stirs me.
Just think now....of Spring...cool mornings...leaves turning a soft green...dew on the grass and a smack of the bat....crack...its outta of here kiddo....long gone.
And fall......crisp nights with the window ajar at night....evening walks soaking up the last of an orange sunset and yes...the grunts and sounds of smacking bodies as the Eagles beat the Cowboys.
Two huge days......huge.
Now yesterday...Saturday...(as I write)...Sept 7th was opening day once more. Fall Bird Walk season. Just like spring bird walks, the fall offers hopes of new birds...unique experiences, oddities seen by the group. Whom might that be in that tree yonder? (Palm Warbler) What just flew over us? (Coopers Hawk) Oh, I didn't know that (white tail band on the Coopers)..... Look at the circular tree about 2 o'clock, see it? (not sure) That's a juvenile; but see the curve of the bill as that ID's it (Juvenile Little Blue). I see a juvenile on the tree in front but the adult is in the back tree (Blue Grosbeak). Look in the shadows, see it? (Clapper Rail). The legs are dirty but I see yellow, so...(Least Sandpiper). .......Ok cowboys, lets move on.
Just like....'strike three'....or 'first down'....the world of birding has its own language as exemplified by our first bird walk.
But you know what....while I don't mind watching baseball alone ...or football ....I miss birding without the camaraderie of others much akin to my birding tastes. It makes no difference how one might be more adept at 'hearing birds' or visually spotting, or understanding habitat or the silhouette of one, or migratory patterns or feeding or having a better field guide or knowing the right spots or, or or.... It makes no difference cowboy. What makes the 'day' ...'a day'...is the camaraderie of existing as a group of birders.
So there were 20 of us.....trekking around Forsythe. .....I didn't see all 70 birds spotted by the group all-told, but I did a bit of chatting with the group. You see, it has been a few months since our last Spring walk....