Wednesday, September 10, 2014

My Lucky Shoes

 Morning dawned, and I was out the door by 6:15. I knew by the time I reached Blackhead Crescent it was going to be a good birding day. Birds flitted all along the road.
 I just had no idea how good a day it was going to be.  When I first saw this Canada Warbler, I thought it must be a Magnolia. It stuck around long enough for me to realize it wasn't.
 You see...I bother the seasoned birders a lot, and most of the time my hopes are dashed by identifications of Blackpoll Warblers or Magnolia Warblers. Not this time! The birds were real and amazing.
 It would be easy to give up looking, but I carry on like the good soldier I am.
 Feeling my cup was already full with one good bird under my belt, you can imagine how stunned I was when I saw another.
 Once again, my first thought when I saw the brilliant yellow of the Prairie Warbler was, "oh, here is my Magnolia Warbler."  Not this time.
 It stayed around and actually came out in the open, unlike the very secretive Canada Warbler that simply would not show itself.
Once I had a good look, I actually knew what this bird was on the spot. However, that little  niggling was going on in the back of my mind. I couldn't wait to get to the car to check my guide. There is was...large as life...a Prairie Warbler!
This little Blackburnian Warbler and the Warbling Vireo came out of nowhere.
 I saw some bird activity along the side of Blackhead Road. I stopped for the fourth time on the way to Blackhead.
 Yellow-rumped Warblers and Juncos were flipping back and forth across the road. Unable the resist the action, I just sat in the car and watched it all unfold.
 I phished a couple of times and out popped the Blackburnian. It stayed for all of 5 seconds. I didn't even have my camera in hand. I grabbed it from the seat beside me and was able to take one shot.
 I looked and looked but could see no sign of it. Then, a bird looking really white underneath in the bright sunlight appeared. Knowing Dave Brown had found one the day before, I assumed this must be the Warbling Vireo. It stuck around a little longer and I was able to get a few snaps. No time to adjust anything as I feared this bird might disappear as fast as the other. I was so surprised to see the bird so far away from Blackhead Village....totally unexpectedly. That's the best kind.
 Blackhead was alive with birds, mostly sparrows and Yellow-rumped Warblers. I parked by the school and walked toward the bus turnaround. Just as I reached the last house, sparrows and Juncos were everywhere. Then, I noticed the branch of the tree near me flick. That had to be a warbler, I inched my way up, and the bird stayed hidden and moved as I did. I waited and finally made a move that I thought would expose the bird. It did. It bolted! I got this one shot of a Palm Warbler as it made its escape. I must thank Jared C., Bruce M., and Alvan B. for helping me with the ID of this and the Blackburnian Warbler.
 Well, I was in a state of euphoria. What was happening? Then, I got really optimistic and began to take snaps of almost everything for fear I might miss something good. In the process, I captured this shot of a Swamp Sparrow that has the biggest eye ring ever.
 Then, I had a thrush that looked different from the Hermit and Grey-cheeked Thrushes I have been seeing all summer. I had high hopes that maybe it was a Swainson's. Not to be. It is probably a Hermit. It was about 20 feet from me in the mix of branches, leaves and shade. I was lucky to get any shots at all.
 Speaking of luck...let me tell you about my lucky shoes. Every year I wear out a pair of hiking shoes, literally wearing away the tread because I walk so much. A little over a week ago, I took a bad fall by slipping on a rock. Injuring my shoulder was a minor inconvenience as I saved my binoculars and camera. Reflecting on the fall, I thought it shouldn't have happened.
I checked the bottom of my shoes and decided they needed to be replaced. Yesterday, I tried on several pairs and laboured over making a choice. I picked a pair and wore them today. Well, after the day that I had, these shoes have now been deemed my "lucky" shoes. What will I do when I wear them out?

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