Monday, September 28, 2015

What Migration?

So its been a while since my last post. Sorry. So much has happened beyond my writing desk (the kitchen table) that I am hopelessly at a loss as to how to catch up with everything going on outside. I haven't been in the field, hardly at all. Work on my dissertation, final chapter of six, has been basically non-stop since August. When not at work - I'm researching and writing. Meanwhile the cat relaxes in the middle of the clutter with her music. She really does. She has her own pair of headphones. I have mine...

Kiwi while I write.

I did see autumn sneak in behind a blue ox, though. So I knew it was coming. But I had to get home and finish a section I'd left dangling. I have no idea why I decided to take a break with this ox. I just got up from the table one Sunday afternoon and drove up to hang out with him. He's an old friend.   Note the trees turning yellow in the background. One of the birdiest places at the Landis Farm is the ox pasture. Poop, hay, grassy field, brush, ox = sparrows, chickadees, wren, cardinal, mocker, some fall warblers, finches, and overhead a red tailed hawk.

A blue ox. My one foray beyond the computer.

I have been so focused on GETTING THIS DONE that I really haven't done any birding except in this ox pasture. Oh my. I've missed a spectacular songbird migration. Forgot about looking at any stars or the eclipse of the moon. I did start a painting of some black vultures but it sits pretty much the way I left it a month ago. The writing is non-stop.

I've been watching my FB friends post their spectacular pictures of their birding finds - trying not to get so distracted that I run out the door to join them. Living basically as a shut-in, I asked my old friend Mike for some help. We were in the same ranger training class years ago - not many birders in that group that year! We stuck together! He gave me permission to post his picture of one of two Maryland vagrant Brown Boobies this year. The pair has become quite the celebrity duo in the touristy environment of Baltimore's Inner Harbor. They've been perching on the mooring lines of a naval ship and have been the focal point of hundreds of water taxi trips. Water taxis - laden with birders! And here I am missing all the bird party fun...

Photo by Michael Lathroum, 21 Sept. 2015

I've noticed that the early morning hours - once filled with birdsong from my woodsy backyard - is now silent. I get up at 0430 and start writing, stop at 0600 and go for a walk, then leave for work at 0800. It's all silent except the loud hollering of the Carolina wren who announces everything I do with gusto. "SHE'S UP! SHE'S UP! SHE'S UP!" and "WALKING! WALKING! WALKING!"

Carolina Wren.

For now I have to stay focused and hope that the end of Chapter Six comes before the end of migration. Please forgive me if I'm not posting as often as before. I have three draft posts in que, but it takes me hours to put them together - hours I need to put towards the dissertation! But they'll come - maybe out of season - winter reading for some? Summer reading for friends south of the Equator for sure!  In any case - be patient. And keep checking back.

Kiwi and her music.

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