Monday, October 10, 2011

The Natives Are Restless

A male Long-billed Curlew prowls the mudflats. Worms and crustaceans cower in fear.

There's nothing like a rainy day to make you feel guilt-free for staying indoors. The guilt of staying indoors in early October is bad is still prime vagrant season, after all. Humboldt County birders are no doubt drooling and chomping at the bit to get outside tomorrow. One birder up here is in the midst of a Humboldt County Big Year, and currently has a staggering 321 birds already. Jesus.

Meanwhile, I have firmly settled into the life of long-term unemployment. As long as you are not broke, I highly recommend it. Getting plenty of sleep, complete freedom, and ample opportunities for birding and bourbon consumption heals the scarred 40-hour-flogged-soul like nothing else. It is good to be among friends (of both the birding and non-birding persuasions) once again, and to be truly Human. The key, of course, is keeping occupied, but I am blessed/cursed with various writing projects and a strong instinct to socialize.

Red Knots, Marbled Godwits, Black-bellied Plovers and Willets wait out Humboldt Bay's high tide at the Arcata Marsh.

This is a strange cycle of lifestyles to be caught in...not many can do it. Working hard for months at a time in far-flung places, then suddenly dropping it all and getting really entrenched in city life. A lot of biologists my age are currently in grad school or are fiending to get in one...when I ask why, they usually mumble about wanting to design their own study and quickly change the subject. I really should look into this bizarre phenomenon, which I believe has lemming-jumping-off-a-cliff type motivation somehow involved.

Weird ramblings on this dreary day. I think I'll get out for some Humboldt birding at least one more time, lashing flocks of shorebirds and chickadees for the rare bird that must be in there. And if that doesn't will go on. 

Brewers Blackbirds gain more appeal when seen outside parking lots.


  1. Getting studies funded these days is really difficult, but that's a whole nother rant. I'm like you Steve, I retired early and do what I damn well please most days. It's a great life.

  2. That is a fancy-ass curlew struttin up there. And grad school? Vomit.

  3. I was trying to think of something clever to defend my grad student status ... will get back to you after I FAIL this next experiment.

  4. @Jill/Anne/Jen - Ya'll are hella cool.

    @JK - Ha!