Friday, May 16, 2008

Softly the evening came

"Softly the evening came." -- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

On World Series day, we spent the hours around dusk at North Pond; the others were mostly looking at birds, but I was watching the clouds.


It had been overcast all day, but the sky began to clear in the late afternoon and some of us stood around appreciating that nice light cast on a Canada Goose floating on the pond while we looked for a bittern... on the beach plum and scotch broom and cypress spurge blooming in the dunes. A beautiful place to end a long day.

With the chasing mostly over and the last of the death marches done (I skipped the last one and missed 12 Piping Plovers!) we were hoping then for just a couple night herons, or nighthawks, or woodcock, or owls... we relaxed and found a rock or old fencepost to sit on. Gradually the stories began...

Birders have great stories, you know. Many of us have traveled to interesting far-flung places (not me!) and oftentimes we travel with the same people. Even if we've not birded together, there's a certain easy camaraderie among most birders that feels really nice. Of course, after 12+ hours together on a big day, we tend to get a bit silly and punchy from the lack of sleep/food/caffeine, but that just adds to the fun.

When you consider that our team will have raised at least $3500 for conservation causes, and that's small potatoes compared to most of the other 100 or so teams, I guess it's easy to understand why I like doing it so much. Great birds, good friends, great stories, a good cause...

Plus, we ended the day with nighthawks and a barred owl. What more could you ask for?


Rabbits' Guy said...

Great fun, a good cause, and success ... can't beat that!

(I think I slept through yesterday!)

Ruth said...

It would be great to go out with a group like that to learn and have fun. Some of them lug around pretty heavy gear.

bobbie said...

You've stored away some wonderful memories.
I love your pictures - especially the clouds, and that first one of the birders.

Jayne said...

When I grow up, I want to be a part of something like this Laura. It will happen someday when I can burst out of my bubble. So lovely to be able to spend time with people who understand your excitement about nighthawks and barred owls.

NCmountainwoman said...

How wonderful to have fun and raise money for such a worthy cause. The evening seems to have been a perfect ending.

Dr. Know said...

Great story. What more could you ask for?

Hang a white sheet over a branch or clothsline and shine a lamp on it (UV/Actinic bulbs for the really determined). All kinds of neat things to see after dark, and many are attracted to this contraption -- then there are the Night Sounds. (Yes, that's me.)

Mary said...

Nice story, Laura - always told with grace. Your photos reveal a great story of camaraderie and for a great cause.

Like Jayne said, one day I hope to be doing the same things, too.

Susan Gets Native said...

I love talking and birding with fellow birders...especially you!
KatDoc is a blast to bird with....but we spend 90% of the time telling stories.
Camaraderie, community, craziness...all those C words.

LauraHinNJ said...

rabbit's guy: it was fun, yeah.

ruth: yeah, the scopes are a pain. the lighter they are, the more they cost. you might also be seeing fil equipment in one of the pics - there was a couple making a documentary following us around all day - their stuff looked really heavy!

bobbie: thanks!

jayne: I hope you will one day soon, really! Lots of nice birders to meet - even in Ga. I bet.


NCMountainWoman: It was a lovely end, yes.

LauraHinNJ said...

dr. know: the alligator on that list was a bit of a shock - wouldn't want to stumble across one of those in the dark!

mary: Please do or I'll try dragging you to NJ again this year!

susan: yeah.. that's a problem birding in a big group. some people don't appreciate the chatting... so usually i hang way back and miss lots of birds!

Pam in Tucson said...

The first photo has to be a prize winner. I hope you enter it into some contests. It's absolutely gorgeous!