Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Sunday, October 11, was the Big Sit! People all over the country sit or stand in a 17' diameter circle and count all the birds they can see, hear, or otherwise perceive (there are some gray areas) from there. We do it dawn to dusk, invite a few friends over (sometimes more, sometimes less); eat, laugh, eat some more, look and listen hard for birds.
Marcy, Dawn and Zick scanning for hawks.
photo by Bill Thompson III
The 2015 Big Sit Indigo Hill team. Small, but lazy.
Dawn is exciting, when we hear the thrushes going over, the owls going to bed and the cardinals waking up. We even heard a woodcock dancing! (And I heard him again the morning of October 12th, too!)
Bill and I are both running on a bit of an energy deficit, he after seeing through the launch of the Midwest Birding Symposium, and only two weeks later, smashing the champagne bottle on the bow of an enormous ship called The American Birding Expo, held at the Grange Insurance Audubon Center in Columbus. Both were great successes. Vendors from 40 countries and way more attendees than expected!
I'm still a bit jet-lagged, but forcing myself through each day and going to bed early has gotten me through the worst of it. South African time is 6 hr. ahead of EST. You can imagine. Eating dinner at my midnight; going to bed at my 3 AM. My days seem endless, the nights too long. But I'm almost done with that.
So the Big Sit was small this year, and we had an all-time low of species (57, in comparison to our record of 72) but it was very very fun. Nobody cared that the birding was spectacularly slow. A bad day birding is still a lot better than a good day at work, right?
Life Is Good. Steve, Royal Meteorologist for the Whipple Bird Club, who blames his interest in birdwatching entirely on me and Bill, wears the birding shirt we gave him. Marcy emphasizes the point.
But nobody had more fun than Chet Baker. He loves company. Loves being part of a gathering, loves the petties and the kisses and the laughter. He gets his feelings very hurt in the early morning when it's too cold to have him up in the tower. Until the sun rises high enough to beam down into the tower, it's really chilly up there.
But when it does, I carry him up the two flights of tower steps, slung over my shoulder, and he basks like a hairy hairy lizard.
He paws up piles of newly-shed jackets and make hisself comfy.
He's got such a sweet little stop on his brow.
He wasn't the only basking shark. The weather was so beautiful we all collapsed sooner or later and just soaked it in. Bill told us to wake him if he snored. We let the poor soul go.
The Bacon had an agenda, and that included snacks.
He can look very charming indeed when he wants a bite of whatever it is you're having.
Boston terrier against barn red--what's not to love?
Hey little doggie with the sun in your eye. I love the way you're trimmed in white, tuxedo and jockstrap too.
Guv me a Timbit. Guv it me now.
Chet's other duty is to see off and welcome anyone using the tower trapdoor.
My bref isn't what it used to be. It is far worse.
But oh, Miss Marcy. It is not THAT bad, is it? I must stand here and welcome people with kisses. And bid them farewell with kisses. Even if my kisses bear the taint of death.
Miss Carol does not mind my kisses. She says her doggie's bref is worset than mine.
She knows how to hold me so I can see who is coming and going in the yard far below.
Which might include my brother. That boy is getting tall!
Mether calls this photo "Doughnuts, Fruit and Extraneous Minutiae."
Daddeh fills the trug with brefkits and Mether cranks it up into the tower using the Dinner Hook.
Me, I relax and let the sun pour down. I let the people massage my brisket and back.
But at the end of the day, this is the lap I love most. Even if it is not quite big enough for all of me. She is back from Africa and she is going to stay home awhile.
Life is good.