Saturday, October 17, 2009

I Try To Give More Than I Take



I don't know what's up with you eastern people. Why can't you keep your campgrounds open all year? If people want to freeze to death in their tents, who are you to stop them? Now because of this annoying tendency, I'm in another motel, this time adjacent to North Carolina's Outer Banks. I passed Kitty Hawk on my way here, which is where the Wright Brothers achieved flight. I saw the hill they launched off of. Pretty cool, eh? Now imagine, if you will, what a Kitty Hawk looks like. It's the stuff nightmares are made of.



To compensate for buying another stupid motel room I am eating a can of beans for dinner. It's one of the jumbo cans, with 6 servings. I'm going to try to eat all of it. Beans are one of the great underrated foods.....in White America's culture anyways. John Steinbeck knew this.....he goes into the wonders of beans in great detail in Tortilla Flats. I must admit that knowing I have some Yuengling (Pennsylvania's local beer) to wash it down with does help make every beany bite that much tastier......and the damn Death Bottle in the fridge is capable of making me forget I even ate beans for dinner. Hell, the Death Bottle is capable of making me forget what a bean is. I need to finish that thing....it's like an albatross around my neck, and it weighs down my soul as long as I have to take it with me.



Right. Birds. This morning I was at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia, and after walking a number of miles I concluded that it was super lame that they charge you to get in when you can't even take the trail that has all the birds. Oh well. Highlights were some Wilson's Snipe, an American Golden-Plover, huge flocks of Tree Swallows (several thousand strong), Broad-winged Hawk, Blackpoll Warbler, some distant Northern Gannets, and a small flock of Lesser Black-backed Gulls on the beach. I didn't even know you could see a flock of LBBGs anywhere on this continent....but that's west coast ignorance for you.



Yesterday was Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, which was substantially better. Tricolored Herons, Little Blue Herons, White Ibis, gannets, Brown-headed Nuthatches, Pine Warblers, Northern Parulas, Black-throated Green Warblers, Blackpoll Warbler, Marbled Godwits (they're rare here), huge flocks of scoters offshore, Peregrine Falcon, Merlin, bla bla bla bla bla. The weather is still sucking in a big way, but I can't do much about that except be glad that I'm inside for the night.



In other news, Facebook keeps telling me to befriend all these birdwatchers I may or may not know, which is really embarrassing to say the least. We are a well-connected folk (well, those with rudimentary social skills anyway), but if all your friends are birders, something is seriously wrong.



All these pictures of the Pectoral Sandpiper and the fall color were from Donegal Lake in Pennsylvania, and the Merlin was at Chincoteague in North Carolina yesterday. The light sucked but the bird was really friendly, so I had to throw it in. It dove right at my head at one point, only to change direction to swoop at a dragonfly at the last second. I may or may not have wet myself.

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