Day 153 - 300th Species, Part Deux

Wednesday, June 01, 2016 0 Comments A+ a-

Sorry to leave you hanging on 300 in my last post.  I felt it was a good way to build up to a rather benign #300.  I have to keep those of you still hanging on hooked right?

Where I left off I was taking a mid-day stroll near what has become one of my daily stops during migration when I looked up above the trees and saw a pair of Usual Gloom-Specters circling.  I just smiled.  It was ironically 1 of the 3 I figured on seeing in the evening if I stuck around.  Instead here it was mid-day and the bird came to me.  #300...

I looked around and I was all by myself.  Birds were singing in the trees above me, a light breeze cooled the warm air and I had a peaceful sensation envelop me.  For a couple minutes I just stood there admiring everything about this scene.  It was so simple.  In the complication that has become a angels web of keeping stories straight and making sure I keep my secret, a moment of sheer simplicity brought me so much joy.  You would have thought I had found a first state record by the grin I had as I kept walking, enjoying the moment.

There was no pressure for May anymore.  I had hit a good number and could get back to my strategy game.  Chase when you need.  Get the species when they are expected.  And of course spend some time hoping you find something rare.

As the afternoon wore on I did a little eBirding.  The weekend misses had nagged me.  Especially Bird B (if you recall form Billabong...).  So I now had a night free, I could basically go birding where I wanted to see whatever I wanted.  And truthfully I wanted Bird B.  But I didn't want the drive that came with it.  So I did some searching and remembered a location closer to home I had all but forgotten about.  It was a shorter drive that would take less time to get too and to make things better there were a handful of recent reports.  It was settled, I was headed to River Shribble and the Northern Marsh.

As with any drive this year I was nervous the entire way.  I would have about 70 minutes of light once I got to the Northern Marsh, but the bird should be easy to find right?  It seemed to take forever to get there, when I pulled onto the main road through the marsh.  I drove scanning and listening for anything.  The birdlife was incredible.  It had been years since I had been here and where Billabong was a sad sight, this was magnificent.  As the first 40 minutes passed I was beginning to get worried.  I had covered the route through the marsh twice and had still not spotted my target.  Was this how tonight was going to go?

I sat watching a canal thinking about how I would write this post.  A wasted drive.  A missed target. Why was I doing this big year? Was this a mistake?  Then the familiar call of the Striped Cloak and a quick scan with my binoculars had 2 sitting just 150' from my car.  All the anxiety and questions floated out of my head.  Success.

I spent a while just watching the cloaks as they did their thing.  An elegant bird that is oft under appreciated for its simple ways. If the scene from earlier in the day was perfect simplicity--tonight was sheer beauty.  Again, I found myself alone, this time tucked away in a corner of Narnia where birders or anyone else seldom goes.  I watched as the sun dropped below the horizon and the chorus of frogs and birds filled the air.  For all the secrets I have to keep this year, these moments are the hardest not to share.  The world seems so endlessly perfect in a place like this.  But it's a facade.

While I relish in finding the birds and having the moments, I want to share it with others.  I still have 7 more months of experience like this to gloss over. I will share plenty of moments with others in that time--but the way its perceived for me and them will be different.  The secret big year goes on...

New birds today: 2
Year List: 301


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