Wednesday, April 25, 2012

More Cliffhangers

Any trip to Cape St. Mary's is subject to fog.  On our drive out, we went through several patches only to emerge into sunshine again.  It had been clear for quite a while until we got near the lighthouse. The fog horn was blaring and fog was all around us.

Knowing that it would take a while for us to walk out to bird rock, we repeated the #1 phrase of the day, "It will surely burn off." We arrived at the mid-way point, having seen one caribou and three Horned Lark when all of a sudden three figures emerged from the fog. Three dedicated bird watchers were perched on the edge of the cliff scoping out the birds. My stomach took a fearful flip, and we continued our trek toward them.
We took the first trail that veered right before bird rock and found Anne Hughes, Todd Boland and Chris Brown settled in and scoping the Razorbills. We moved in closer to the edge  where the ground was covered in long, brownish grass. Large rocks were peeping out from under the grass and gaping holes in between. Uh oh - vertigo!
 I picked my steps very carefully and had just looked at a Razorbill in the scope when all of a sudden, Todd shouted out, "Two Peregrines." For a moment, I thought I had knocked the scope over the cliff's edge. I dug into ground anchoring my footing and raised my camera. I had never gotten a picture of Peregrine before.
I followed them as they zipped by, snapping all the while.  When they had passed, I wondered how Todd had seen them so quickly and even more about how he identified them so quickly. I reflected on how much I still have to learn.
Getting a bit of a fright from my precarious perch and the sudden flurry of activity, I decided to head over to bird rock where I knew I could anchor myself in a safe place for viewing. As much as I get caught up in the moment, I am still quite unnerved being on the edge of a mountain. Even looking through my binoculars throws me a little off balance. Maybe I should tether myself to something!

All that said, there is no experience like being on the edge at Cape St. Mary's at this time of the year.

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