Friday, August 27, 2010

Taking Flight for Fall

I know I haven't blogged much in recent weeks, but in truth I haven't birded much either. Summer in Utah is viciously hot, with unrelenting sun and no relief even from the occasional thunderstorm or brief shower. The birds are less active, and so are the birders.

I have been less active as well, only keeping up my feeders and caring for my backyard birds. They appreciate the attention for sure, and I appreciate seeing them visit my feeders, peek in my window, and splash in my bird bath. I still long for the morning bird walks when I'd see amazing warblers, or the visits to the local pond with widely varied waterfowl, but it is the birds here at home that are amazing companions with their fun personalities and energetic lives.

In the next few weeks, as fall gets underway and bird activity increases, I hope to increase my posting as well. The actions of birds are erratic and you never know when something may happen, or how long a period may pass when it seems you only refill the feeders and never have any avian excitement. It is time, however, to learn to re-appreciate all the birds around you, every one.

I may have landed for a bit, but it's time to take flight again.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Getting a Life, Getting More Birds

Part of getting a life is giving yourself time to live it. As a freelance writer, I work continuously - it's always easy to do just a bit of work in the evening, tend to one task on the weekend, or take a few moments on a holiday to cross one more thing off the to do list. My work is such that for over a year I've not taken a real vacation or holiday - every day, all 365, I've worked in some way. That includes on birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays, and in the end, none of the days feel special. This past month, however, has been different.

For the first half of July it was work as usual - in fact, more than usual as I crammed in a whole month's worth of work into less than three weeks. At the end of that time, though, the computer was turned off, the notebooks put away, and the laptop unpowered. They would sit unused for more than a week as my husband and I explored Portland and the Oregon Coast. We rented a luxury condo with a private hot tub, enjoyed Pacific sunsets, poked carefully into tidepools, tasted cheese curds, walked along the beach, and just had time to relax, to talk, to decompress.

For a birder, though, no relaxation is complete without birds. We visited Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock, walked through Portland's public parks, found trails around Lincoln City, and along the way, I added a dozen new birds to my life list...

  • Black Oystercatcher
  • Common Murre
  • Pigeon Guillemot
  • Tufted Puffin
  • Pelagic Cormorant
  • American Crow
  • Chestnut-Backed Chickadee
  • Brown Creeper
  • Black Turnstone
  • Brant
  • Hermit Warbler
  • Fox Sparrow

Since this wasn't a dedicated birding trip and we didn't take any lengthy birding walks, I was surprised to add as many lifers as I did. The hermit warbler, chestnut-backed chickadee, brown creeper, brant, and fox sparrow were the most exciting - each one took some study on my part from different views, but I was rewarded with really being able to see the birds and enjoy them. What I learned was more important, however -- just like the birds, we all need time to let ourselves fly.

I won't be working myself to death anymore, nor will I be working 24/7/365 again. Oh, my lists are just as long as they ever were, and there is just as much to accomplish, but priorities have to be made. It's time I made myself one, and took flight again.