Thursday, May 6, 2010

How Do We Get To The World From Here?

I'd like to start things off by giving props to Brendan Kelly (of Slapstick/The Broadways/The Lawrence Arms/The Falcon fame) for giving the best breakdown on the ongoing Nerds vs Geeks vs Dorks debate that I have ever seen.  Being a birdwatcher automatically sticks you into one or all of those categories (and, questionably, even associating with them), so anyone reading this should be compelled to read the magnificent treatise right here.

In other news, I'm surrounded by cougars right now.  Not mountain lions, or even pumas, but attractive older women.   Packs of them rove Tucson at all hours of the day.  It's terrifying/fascinating.

I guess I get easily distracted these days.  I do have a cougar story of another kind.  On Tuesday morning I was trekking down Josephine Canyon (on the south side of the Santa Ritas), when I heard kind of a loud, piercing yelp.  Or maybe a wail.  Yelping wail?  Wailing yelp?  Yelping whale?  Whelp....

Right.  Anyways, I'd never heard anything like it.  At first I thought it was human.....Josephine Canyon is a superhighway for illegal immigrants, so it wouldn't be surprising.  Then it yelped again, and I thought it was some sort of trogon call that I'd never heard before (there were at least four in the canyon that morning).  Finally I figured out where the sound was coming from, and was surprised to see a mountain lion trotting down the trail, away from me.  I was pretty stoked, since Ive only seen one before, but quickly realized that I had to go the same way the lion went to finish my surveys.....

So down the trail I went, following the lion, talking VERY LOUDLY to it so I wouldn't take it by surprise.  Now I'm no stranger to dealing with weird shit going down in the woods, but this was my first time where I was hanging out with a lion without any physical barrier between us.  Oddly, I found myself talking in a Borat accent...."Hello lion! You are my friend!  You are very nice, I like......"

While yammering at the lion in this stupid accent, I suddenly heard a loud, bassy "WHOOOSH-HUMMMMMMMM" a foot from the back of my head, which scared the fucking shit out of me.

Turns out a Magnificent Hummingbird had flown in to admire the red jacket I was wearing.  All in a day's work.

Yeah, I really like Magnificents (magnificence?).  They are the second-biggest hummingbird in the U.S., and dwarf anything that we see back in California.  All these photos were taken at my feeders.  Word.


  1. I used to sing what i called mountain lion songs in Texas on the transects because I was rather terrified of encountering them. their big fat fresh scat and giant prints were all over the place and one killed a deer right underneath one of our transect flags (creepy). Borat accent is a good one, i'll have to try it. I've had a couple encounters with them, both poop inducing (but not the good poop inducing like birds bring). Totally rad after the fact, but shit. Cool sighting - that's pretty rad! How close was it?

  2. Ummmmm.....40 meters? A good viewing distance. I look forward to the album "Mountain Lion Songs", I'm sure it will garner some awards!

  3. i'm sorry i said rad twice. that was lame and i only meant to utilize it once. I hate to admit, but most of the Mountain Lion Songs were country songs - Texas brought that about.

  4. This is where I go wrong. Borat. Sure. Every time I get a little nervous, everything comes out like BooBoo Bear. Like that's gonna work.