Sunday, May 10, 2009

High country miscellany

Whoever was in charge of scheduling flock members for field trips did a good job of separating me from the more raucous members of our group. Maybe they somehow knew that adding me to the Susan, Mary, Lynne and Beth mix would just be too much for anyone to bear. As it was, I did trips with Kathie, KatDoc, Nina, Jane and Tim. One day, for Cranberry Glades, I was all by myself and very quiet and well-behaved.

I missed the chance to be silly with the others, but one benefit of being on different trips was that the others could tell me what to look forward to on each trip. The highlight of the High Country trip for everyone was the bobolink field that we visited late in the day. Bobolinks and Meadowlarks aren't new birds for me, but seeing them this way, surrounded by mountain views, was a new joy.

Another joy, whenever I'm out birding, is meeting dogs along the way. These two local pups barked their way suspiciously into our group, and Jane, a self-proclaimed cat person, interrupted her quest for bobolinks for a little doggy-love.

Nina took this pic of me that I'll use when I win Birder of the Year.


That little dog attached himself to my ankle. Cute!

I carried that ridiculous lens everywhere for a week and took all of three bird pictures. The next time I go to W. Va. in early May I'll bring my macro lens so I can take pics of all the wonderful wildflowers that bloom there. I wish the festival would have advertised that aspect a bit better for the likes of me.

There were lots of little, slow moving things to take pics of that I couldn't really give justice to with my big lens. I had to back up a half-mile to get this soft pic of a funny fungus we found growing in a little vernal pool. We tried making it into Golden Club, but decided instead that it was some fungus that I can't remember the name of. Connie Toops stopped me at breakfast the following morning to tell me the name of it, and well... I hadn't had enough coffee yet, I guess.

The second of my three bird pics... a sweet Chestnut-Sided Warbler. My eyesight is pretty poor and I tend to use my ears first for IDing birds, so I kept confusing these with Hooded Warblers which were everywhere! No matter how many times I listened to the songs of both on my birdJam or asked one of the field trip leaders to help me tell them apart, it didn't help. At least the Chestnut-Sideds aren't nearly so skulky as the Hooded Warblers.

I was hoping to see a bear at some point on the trip, but the closest I came was seeing some bear poop. I didn't take pics of it, instead I was amused by everyone else taking pics of it. Silly birders!


Mary said...

I love that photo of you outstanding in your field :o)

It would have been terrific to be on a trip with you, Laura! And really, we weren't all that bad...Susan was the one, you know. LOL!

Next year I'll be hoping for brighter skies but honestly, the rain created its own beauty in the mountains.


Beth said...

I agree with Mary - Susan was the one. Definitely. Really. Honest.

Anyway, I remember Connie pulling up that fungus for us, too, and she said it was a flat-topped coral fungus. Hope that helps. I know zip about fungus (except the edible kind), so I took her at her word!

Love your pix!


KatDoc said...

That picture of you in the bobolink field was the best.

If you want a picture of bear poop, I can send you one. Actually, I have two pics - two different poops! (Silly me)


Lynne said...

Actually it was the Susan/Beth combo that rocked the bus and made the "serious" birders in the back of the van all pinchy.


Mary and I just giggled and wheezed quietly.


NCmountainwoman said...

I nominate you for birder of the year purely on the basis of that photograph! You definitely look like a woman on a mission who knows everything about birds.

And I don't believe for a minute that Mary and Lynne were all that quiet.

Susan Gets Native said...

Hey! I resemble that comment.

Lynne and Mary are full of %$#@.
MARY was the one who said, "F&*% the
Swainson's!" And got all of us in a froth.

*Susan, who enjoys making uppity birders all pinchy.

Anonymous said...

I like that field shot, too!
Don't you wonder what dogs are thinking about humans sometimes?

We used to have lots of bobolinks in the hayfield behind our house, but I just relealized that I haven't seen them in a long time. There are other birds that have gone missing too, but then we have some we didn't have before.

Mary said...

I have tears in my eyes from laughing so hard!

John said...

The field shot is really awesome.

Pablo said...

I hope you win Birder of the Year. I love that photo!

Bird Girl said...

I love this post! And that picture of you will be great when you become 'birder of the year!' Cute!

Kathiesbirds said...

Laura, you are so sweet. I am glad you came along and glad that I met you. What fun we had and I hope you win Birder of the year. Just tell me where to vote!

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