Monday in Linden Hills

IMG_0424I am on holiday and I am spending it close to home.   A good choice.  The afternoon weather has turned a bit overcast, but it doesn’t feel like heavy weather.  That’s almost a disappointment, actually.

I have the propensity to rally behind over-the-top weather.  If we’re experiencing a streak of snowy weather, I want more snow.   Heavy rain?  Why not some more?  Let’s go for a record.  Same for bitter cold, high winds, wild thunderstorms (a favorite), and dense fog.  Make it something to talk about.  That weather is best.

There’s something exciting about extremes.  In fact, other than stretches of heat, sunshine, and drought, I like extreme weather streaks.  And I only find heat and sunshine uninteresting because I lived in Tempe, Arizona, for ten years.  Droughts simply are not a good idea unless you live in a desert.

IMG_0411When I see the last bands of persistent heavy rain disappearing from a weather radar with only clear skies behind, I feel disappointed, almost a sense of loneliness.  So I hope for maybe just one more deluge before things calmer, more tepid days return.  Maybe some lightning and thunder, too.

Until then today has been nothing less than a decent one away from work.

Should I tell you about my walk in the woods?  Why not.

I notice from time to time deer tracks that appear to show a deer dragging a leg a little.  I have seen this before, not just recently, so I wonder if it is a way deer walk.  I doubt it.  More likely one of the deer is somewhat lame.  Although it is more common to see this dragging print in the snow.  Perhaps deer just get a little lazy and shuffle along like a bored kid impatiently trailing behind busy parents.

Not a warbler.  It's a cardinal.

Not a warbler. It’s a cardinal.

The birds were out and so were the birders.  I chatted with two.  The first birder told me he was watching some sort of warbler.  I just nodded, pretending to know exactly what he was talking about.  He also corrected my owl identification.  I have been seeing — and hearing — barred owls, not great horned owls.  Although I do know for a fact that I have spotted great horned owls more than once in the woods and heard them in the back yard.

I took quite a few photos.  My camera works great!  But I need a tripod.  When on deep zoom, my ability to steady the camera doesn’t last long and with uncooperative birds that is proving to be a problem.  Still, I get a semi-decent picture from time to time.  As they say, even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.

Going down the trail I noticed some bright white stuff on the ground beneath a tree.  I got excited.  It looked like egg shells.  Here was my chance, I thought, to find a hidden nest and earn some birder bragging rights.  Surely above these broken fragments of egg shell there was something special.  The pieces looked large, like potato chips. But no nest.  It made no sense until I got closer and saw that my discovery was a torn up styrofoam cup.

Barred Owl

Barred Owl

Nonetheless, I think my instincts and logic deserve a compliment.  It could have been what I thought it was.

The second birder I encountered had a camera bigger than some beer coolers I own.  He had a tripod out of simple necessity.  (Have you ever tried to hold a beer cooler steady?  It isn’t easy.)  He told me he was photographing some bird nesting in a hollow tree.  Instinctively he seemed to know that the species would be irrelevant to me.

I did show him a couple of my pictures, however, and he seemed to be more than polite about them.  Feeling smug and chatty, in the whispering birder sort of way, I also commented on the “morning” warblers I learned about from the other birder.   When I came home and looked them up in my bird guide, I discovered they are mourning warblers.  I suspect the guy with the giant camera wouldn’t have noticed my mistake.

I do have a Sibley Guide to birds.  It is great, however I can’t really carry that in my back pocket.  I am thinking of getting a field guide, but I’m not sure if I really have the patience to stop and look up a bird.  And none of the serious birders seem to have a guide stuck in a back pocket.   I don’t want to look like a dork.

I wonder if I should get a photojournalist’s vest instead.

IMG_0423I’m not sure how I will finish my holiday.  Perhaps I will find time to embark on my Big Ambition.  I should probably check in at the bar, however, and make sure nothing has changed.  And I do have a couple clients I want to call.  Strangely, I tend to like making calls on my days off.  Those calls seem so unworklike.  I like that.

Whatever it is, I have to decide soon.  The afternoon is running fast and I have a very acute obsession with time, recently, especially the lack of it.  That Big Ambition can wait no longer.  To make something of a high art reference, these are indeed the days of our lives.



One thought on “Monday in Linden Hills

  1. Pingback: Tracking Wildlife in Minneapolis | A Little Tour in Yellow

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