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A Mysterious Sighting

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Rails: birds of great mystery. So few of us ever get to see them. One Friday, Bill and I led a trip out to a large piece of virgin prairie, studded with potholes and heavily vegetated in native silverbush, buckbrush, buffalo grass and buffalobean. Oh, it was gorgeous. BOTB thought there might be a sora hiding in a shallow wetland, and he played his iPod to find out. There was an immediate answer, whinnying from the reeds.

Our group lined up along one edge of the slough, waiting for the little actor to take the stage. And he strode out, silently, right up to Bill, walking back and forth before us, his corn-yellow bill matching the hawkweed blossoms. It was everyone's best ever look at a sora, a shy rail who's often heard, but seldom seen. Lovely, lovely.

He flew past us, legs dangling and wings whirring, into the light and perched momentarily on a rock. Oh, please. Behave!Then he retired to the cattails, where he did railly things like preen his shiny feathers. This would normally constitute a fantastic look at a sora.On Sunday, Bill and I led the same trip, and we decided to try for this cooperative bird once again, knowing that from here on out, he'd be left completely alone for at least a year, and probably for the rest of his life. Nothing doing. We waited and strained our eyes until they dried out, but he never appeared. Called, laughed derisively at us, but would not come out.
This couple is doing a darned good imitation of BOTB and Zick, but they're not us. 'Cuz I'm behind the camera, remember? And I'm more a cowboy hatter than a mushroom hatter. We stood and stared and waited. No sora today. Show's over.
One of our group--it may have been BOTB, with his sharp eyes-- looked over a distant line of shrubs and spotted something unusual moving about.

Eek. That big black biped looks like an anthropoid ape. It has to must be...can it be...Sasquatch?

Oh, yeah. That's Sasquatch, all right. Never thought I'd see that. But you never know what you'll see on virgin prairie.

At this point, sweet Phoebe Freaked All the Way Out. She was buyin' it, bigtime. Oren Krapp, the rancher who owns the prairie and the bison we came to see, waved his hand. "That's a bison." Oren, who can tell the sex of a bison a mile away... We begged to differ. Phoebe and Liam clung to me, trembling. "Is it real? Is it real?"

"Oh, yeah, honey. It's real. It's so real, I can tell it's a female. You know how? It's got a coconut shell bra on, that's how."

At this point, Phoebe's curiosity overcame her fear, and she ventured a look through the scope.
Sasquatch ducked and hid, sniffed the air, scratched herself, and disappeared. The next time we saw her, she was four-wheelin' toward us.She kindly posed for a group picture. I cannot tell you how North Dakota this was. You just have to spend time there to know. But trust me, this is textbook NoDak humor. Any wonder that I love the place, and the people, so much?You have to love Phoebe in this picture. I'm next to Bigfoot. I'm next to Bigfoot. Eeeeeyewww!

Know all ye: The only reason she's letting me post this is because I upgraded her account on DollWar to Supermodel today. My stock is high, for now.
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