Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Continuing Adventures of the Very Bad Birder

(Copyright 2012, Dee Fairbanks Simpson, originally published in SCAS Limpkin)

In our last installment in the May Limpkin, you might recall the Great Blue Heron/Osprey debacle. Well, I ended the spring with the intention of leaving behind my reputation of Brevard's Worst Birder, and decided to devote my summer to learning more birds and perhaps moving into second place in the worst birding category (I was hoping that maybe there exists a piece of driftwood laying on Cocoa Beach that has less bird sense than I).

So armed with my Sibley guide, I headed toÉ my office to complete a major project for work with a June deadline. Aside from a quick run through Viera to see the usual suspects, June found me staring at a computer instead of out having fun. July, I figured, would be better. I started off the month with a solo trip through MINWR, which resulted in about 30 species, includingÉ hey! What is that thingÉI knew by the flight pattern it was a woodpecker of some typeÉspotted tummy, kind of stripped backÉ a quick study of Sibley's and ta-da! my first Northern flicker! I excitedly came home and bragged proudly to my resident expert. Feeling a new confidence in my birding skills, I immediatelyÉ returned to my computer to complete yet another big important deadline for work.

I did not have a chance to do much more birding, but in late July, on a much needed Starbucks run, I noticed two gray duckies in new storm-water pond just outside of Cocoa Village. I meant to look them up, but never got the chance. A few days later, I noticed them there once more. And when I went by in the evening the were there, when I went by a few days later in the morning they were there. I thought that was some what strange, because as a rule I would expect them to go out and feed and such, but again, I really didn't have time to research these rather sedentary ducks. I meant to ask my resident expert about them, but he was off big daying, and I was working and once again it slipped my mind.

Finally, my deadline successfully reached in early August, I figured I could relax a bit, and went off to the movies. While driving there, I once again saw these big gray ducks, and upon returning home, I finally remembered to ask David if there were any big gray ducks that he knew of. He kind of gave me thatÉ look, but kindly replied, "Uh, not that I know ofÉ" and we forgot about it. Until last weekend, when we were heading over to Merritt Island and passed the pond, where the two large gray ducks were STILL sitting! Excitedly, I said, "See? There they are! They are still there! What kind of ducks are those?" What kind of ducks are those?"

To which my resident expert replied, "Do you mean those Canada Goose DECOYS???" At which point, I decided that perhaps I had worked a tad too hard* over the summer, and I promptly came home and scheduled my vacation.

*Confidential to my boss, who is an Audubon member and will probably read this: Yes, Karl, I am blaming this incident on work. If you ever want to come to a meeting to dispute this, SCAS meetings are held on the 5th Friday of each month. On a house boat. Off of Key West. Hope to see you there!

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