Thursday, March 24, 2011

Still waiting for Spring

I'm still waiting for Spring to come. Yes, officially Spring has been here for a few days. But I continue to see snow and rain just about every day. As soon as the ground clears, another snow storm will be upon us. The lake is still frozen over. I should be happy that the ice on the ground is clearing and at least I can walk around some places outside, and I can park my car down our steep driveway again. I am anxious, to get out with my camera and enjoy the warm weather and the photo opportunities that it will bring. Flowers and birds, birds and flowers. Blue skies! No coats, or boots, or gloves. Today, it looked sunny outside, but you culd still feel the chill out there. But I could not wait any longer. My friend the Great Blue Heron had been at the fish pen for some time today. So I grabbed my camera, the tripod, and a jacket and ventured outside. I snuck around the neighbor's puckerbrush so as to not alert my subject. Tip-toed behind the boat house and set up shop. I even went high tech and got out my new iPhone with the iBird app and played GBH vocals and calls. He knew I was there, and kept a watchful eye on me. That eye was my focus. I only had a few minutes of battery and had lunch cooking in the microwave, so I decided to try and get a flight shot. I moved up a few feet, and then proceeded to make a fool of myself with awkward vocals and calls of my own. It worked, because off he flew and landed out on the ice. I pretty much missed the action, so I packed up and went back inside for lunch. The rest of the day, I watched from inside, my friend spent the entire afternoon there. Never did see a fish being caught. I really do love how cool his beak looks here. Very appropriate for catching fish.

I decided I really must name my Great Blue Heron friend since he is a daily visitor. The name "Blue Cheese" came to mind. But it is a little too literal, so I decided on "Bruchi's", which is a local restaurant and a play on Blue Cheese. So everyone, meet "Bruchi's".

I also used my new iBird app to identify a new bird that I saw a couple of days ago. Whenever I go to town, there is a certain fence in the Half Moon area that I always watch for birds. So far, I have added three life birds to my list by watching this fence. The first bird was a Say's Phoebe, then a Western Meadowlark, and now a Northern Shrike. A gray bird with a black mask. Simple enough to ID. An interesting fact about the Northern Shrike is that it is also known as the "Butcher Bird" because it stores food for later by impaling it on a thorn or barbed wire. The following is NOT my picture. Just posting so you could see what a Northern Shrike looks like.

My life list is now at 89. My goal is to get to 100! Of course you know I won't stop there. My life list is on the right, be sure to check it out! How many of these birds have YOU seen?

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