Sunday, March 21, 2010

Tell Me How To End Up In Your Dreams

In front of the San Pedro House the other day, a strange Swedish man notified me that this has been the coldest spring in 100 years down here in southeast Arizona.  "Ze paypear zes zat zeet haas beeen one hun-dred yeos zince eet haas taken zees long for eet to reach eighty degris in Tucson."  Well, I believe it.  The snow is several feet deep on all the high peaks, making our high-elevation sites god-awful to get to.  I'm going to be sleeping in it in a couple days, which at the moment I am rather unprepared for.  Mt. Wrightson is a formidable peak, and I would be lying if I said that I didn't have a touch of The Fear.....

But I see all of this as conditioning for my summer job, which is seabird research on Buldir Island in the western Aleutian Islands of Alaska.  It's home to about 3.5 million seabirds of 21 species....and about 5 people, including me.  It's substantially closer to Russia than it is to Alaska, as you can see above.  This is, without a doubt, the most absurd thing I've ever done.  No internet, no phone, no bourbon for months.  It will be a cathartic experience, to say the least.  Weather permitting (on hot days, it might reach 60 degrees!), I doubt I will have anything to do beyond read, watch seabirds, and prowl the island for rare asiatic vagrants.  The island gets absolutely obscene birds that have no business being there, mostly of the Russian variety, and I have some serious studying to do before I am deposited out there.

A few years ago this would have seemed like an awful idea to me, but it's pretty much the best thing I could possibly be doing right now.  Maybe I'm just masochistic.

Pelican parts on the beach at California's Santa Clara River Estuary.  Life is pain.

Anyhow, you may want to begin preparing yourself (emotionally) for the state of torpor that BB&B will be entering just two short months from now.  Maybe......*sniff*......maybe you should find another blog to read.  A blog that isn't a dysfunctional, long-distance relationship.  A blog that will pander to your every need, and isn't written by someone who prefers birds to sports, Darwin to Jesus, punk to metal, Tecate and Olympia to whatever youre drinking, The Argus Lounge to Cassanova, LSD to PHDs (ok, joking on that one).....a blog who can make you happy!  That's all I want!

Mexican Jays roll in big family groups...they are the local mafia.

Nah, not really.  If you're not there for me when (if) I come back, I will be bitter and handle it badly.  My social skills deteriorated noticeably on Midway, so who knows what kind of state I will be in when I return from my new island. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, as they say.  Selah.

In local news: Saw my first Zone-tailed Hawks of the year fly over the Tubac bridge on Saturday, along with a Gray Hawk.  Lucy's Warblers and Painted Redstarts are here in numbers now, and are unrelenting in their pursuit of insects.  My hummingbird feeder has brought in 5 species now, with a male Magnificent Hummingbird being the latest addition....oh and I saw my first ringtail cat in Carr Canyon last week.   Siiiiiiiiick.

That's human that Bambi is munching makes her eyelashes prettier.


  1. Despite prefering Metal over Punk, I'll be there when you come back.
    I'll be waiting.

    Shit, this sounds like the best job in the world. And it's not even in Australia!

  2. if i mention your summer gig to my husband, he'll have a fit of jealous rage, I fear. Sounds pretty sweet, but no bourbon for months huh? It does sound pretty freaking awesome, Im jealous too. We were supposed to be going to Mongolia for 4 months but that doesn't look promising at this point. Which is bullshit.

    Zone tailed hawks are cool. We had a nesting pair near our swanky trailer in Texas, that was cool. Your deer photo is pretty damn cute.