Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Yardwatch 2007!

I finally got a day off, so naturally it was spoiled by rain. Not that I would have been able to enjoy the outdoors much anyway. Michelle had a doctor's appointment in the morning, but she wasn't feeling well, so I took her to the emergency room instead.

Once we got there they took her upstairs and wired her up to the fetal heartbeat gizmo to check on the babies. The machine indicated that they were still in her belly. Since Michelle was complaining of pain and chills they took her temperature, which was indeed a bit elevated. Then they decided to insert a capheter (shudder) to get a urine sample the painful way. Diagnosis: bladder infection. Eventually her fever subsided and I brought her home. I left her resting comfortably for a while, then came back to find her having a relapse with chills and nausea. But about the birds...

While Michelle was resting between bouts of fever I wasted some time watching the sky for avian traffic. Storms seem to stir things up, and after a rain is when I get some of the best fly-over action. There's always the hope of seeing something new for the yard list, maybe a wayward Roseate Spoonbill or White-faced Ibis. Instead this evening I was left to ponder why there are so many black birds in Southeast Texas. When I say blackbirds I don't mean of the strictly icterid type (Red-winged, Brewer's, etc.), but birds that are basically black or darkish. Fish Crow. Purple Martin. Chimney Swift. Flocks of European Starlings and Common Grackles. All these black things going by. How much blacker could the birds be? In the words of Spinal Tap, "the answer is none, none blacker."

All was not blackness, however. A pair of Brown Thrashers were making themselves particularly obvious, what with all the singing and chasing each other and flying back and forth to collect nesting material. And a family of Eastern Bluebirds is still frequenting our backyard. The spotty juvenile birds are probably the same ones that fledged from one of our nest boxes earlier this spring.

With the prospect of babies and fatherhood impending I don't expect to do much serious birding in the months ahead. I doubt I'll have any opportunities to travel, and whatever time I have for birding will probably be spent close to home. No ambitious year listing goals for me. But Yardwatch 2007 will continue, with more tedious tedium and thrilling thrills to come.


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