Sunday, 20 May 2012

Murphy's Point Park-for the birds


The cats were impressed with me out working hard – birding. Why wouldn't you want to be out hunting birds?

I had my trusty GPS for comfort!
This was our route.
 It was the annual bird count for Murphy's Point Park. We began at 6 am. Truly. I hope you are proud of me, an amateur-, nay, virgin birder, and retiree. (Born again virgin, I might add!)

Now, as an insomniac, I am often awake early, but not to tromp around the bush, with a tall, younger man, with long legs!
The fog was beautiful.

Tobi Kieswalter is an amazing Park Ranger. Father of two, 3 years and 8 mos., he is tireless.
6 of us, all told.

Now, I work out, 30 min./day, but he had us climbing hither and yon to find birds. Our three muskateers included Tobi, myself, and Steven, an amateur birder. (Although he seemed pretty pro to me!)

The other crew members went with Alida, a sweet, young Park Interpreter, who is fabulous with the kids.

At 6 a.m. it was 11 C., but I kept peeling off layers, and then spraying with bug spray. I never use the stuff, but this was serious work. Overweight me, I was sweating. Tobi and Steven were cool as cucumbers.

In 3 hours and 20 minutes, we walked 7 km, stopped 760 times, climbed up 265m, and descended 288 m. Swear to it! It was a blast. I'm not usually so social at this hour, preferring to ease into the day, but after a long week of volunteer work, it was good therapy.

This middle-aged gramma is tired!
And the grandkids are coming Monday!

 I cannot tell you everything I learned. This blog helps. I learned much about birding. My brain is full. I will never walk through a forest with the same nonchalance again. Of course, my regular readers know this. I can spot a critter anywhere.

Sweet little toad.
Steve nearly stepped on a toad. Tobi was reading his Torah and walked into a branch!

The Rabi reads from his Torah!
I was totally lost. I've only ever biked on the main road into the park. Tobi knows the park like the back of his hand!
We made it back.

When I made it home it was to good news.

The good news?

The cats felt sorry for me, getting up at 5, only to get photos and to listen to birds.
Sadie did dishes, and emptied the dishwasher.
The boys, my twin 1-year-old black cats, took turns vacuuming. They argued about who should put the chairs back, so JB did it for them.
I arrived home to a clean house and clean kitchen.
Then, I finished moving soil into my new garden. I've moved 4 cu. yards of soil. Only 4 more to go!

Scarlet Tanager

Such a happy little boy!  Juvenile American Redstart
For all the photos:


Linda said...

Oh, my, what a wonderful day! How great to be able to keep up with those youngsters and experience all that you did! I am very impressed! And, more than a little jealous...

Red said...

You'll be hooked on birds after this! I do a bird count next weekend. I only walk about 7 km. The next day I sit on a viewing deck.

Jenn Jilks said...

You, too, can do this, Linda!
Red, the cats have been up with me at 5 a.m. two days in a row. They wanted to get up and out again, today. I'll be doing this forever!