Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Omens and Ornithology

We've been indoors too much over the holidays so today, despite blue skies which brought frozen ponds, I took the kids birding at Montlake Fill. The Fill is a famous and favorite site for local birders and has been described as "one of the best birding locations on the West Coast". For Christmas, Mum and I gave Frost a pair of binoculars thus ending, forever, the binocular wars of yore in which each child formed an enemy faction demanding control of the 'noculars and waving them about fruitlessly "I can't SEE ANYTHING" while the rare bird flew away.

Today, there was amity and joy as we saw the following birds.

I even saw a lifer - a marsh wren. It was a good bird (not as good as the crowned sparrows who rustled in the grass by my feet close enough for a passable shot with my point and shoot canon). Frost caught the bug and tried to track it in the grass, creeping along and making cheeping noises with his lips as we have seen Granny do.

I took the sighting of the marsh wren as a good omen. (Cardiology clinic on Jan 11th has me spooked and so I am reading omens in the clouds and blog posts).

"This means that Wren is going to be very healthy next year." I said.
"Or it means that Wren is going to fall in a marsh" said Frost, cutting to the quick of the difficulty with interpreting omens.

I think I am right although I was careful to guard Wren on the banks of Lake Washington after that even though he was excited to get a clam that he saw "innawater".

Other excitements were:
  • A bald eagle hunting for ducks over the Lake;
  • A red-tailed hawk which flew overhead and landed on a tree right next to us [that means I will look passionate in pants next year];
  • The ponds all frozen over (so the kids could smash the ice with stones and dance them over the surface through the reeds);
  • A jet making contrails in the high blue.
Here is our bird list:
  1. Belted kingfisher
  2. Golden crowned sparrow
  3. Song sparrow
  4. Bald eagle
  5. Bufflehead
  6. Coot
  7. Marsh wren
  8. Gadwall
  9. American widgeon
  10. Hooded merganser (eating a fish)
  11. Cormorant (catching and swallowing a fish)
  12. Red winged blackbird
  13. Red-tailed hawk
  14. Crow

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