Thursday, July 31, 2008

Birding CT: Sunday Evening Walk-about

(Gray Squirrel: photo by Kathie 7-5-08)

This evening I took yet another walk about the streets in town. I found myself being observed as much as I was out to observe the birds. I walked behind a nearby restaurant where there is a wooded area along the edge of the parking lot in my search for birds. As I stopped to photograph a squirrel lying along the branch of a tree I happened to look up at the building behind me. It was actually a 2 story house and a man was leaning out the second story window watching me watch the birds! I jumped back, startled and apologetic. I didn't know there was a house there and I am technically standing in his back yard. He didn't seem to mind, though, and cautioned me to watch my step as I cut though to yet another parking lot down a small embankment.

From here I walked through the town office and police station parking lot. The manicured lawns are surrounded by tree where I often seen birds. Tonight the robins are out in force and before the night is over I would count 28 of them. I guess the people of this town must not get too many birders passing through because I get such stares and even questions about what I am doing. One gal asked me what I am taking pictures of and if it is my hobby. A child asks if I am a photographer. A man sitting on his porch drinking a glass of red wine asks what kind of birds I am looking for. Another man wanted to know if I am lost and need help! (I really think he wanted to know what I was up to. As soon as I told him I was trying to identify a bird in the thicket he lost interest!)

(Queen Anne's Lace; photo by kathie 7-5-08)

Queen Anne's Lace grows prolifically along the roadside. I smile to see this familiar flower, one of my favorites. It does not grow in Arizona where I now live.

(Killdeer in Parking lot; photo by kathie 7-5-08)

My route takes me past the schools I went to when I was growing up. So many memories fight with my desire to spot and count birds. A pair of Killdeer ran across the parking lot of a new school that has been built in the field that formally held our high school race track when I attended here. So many changes, but the old skating pond is still there on Halls Hill Rd. Only tonight it is ice free and full of lily pads with a Canada Goose family on the shore. As twilight starts to descend I look out over the water trying to find a few last birds. The geese walk towards me, begging for food I assume. When I offer none, the mother goose starts to hiss and snake her head at me. I stand my ground. Is she concerned for her goslings safety, or is she just mad that I didn't feed them? Finally she and the rest of her brood walk away and continue to graze on the tender shoots of grass that grow around the pond edges.

(Canada Goose Family: photo by kathie 7-5-08)

As I continue down Halls Hill Rd I come to the corner of Pleasant Street where I will turn towards home. Suddenly I spot something flying rapidly above my head. There are six of them and I am trying to decide if they are birds or bats. Their flight is swift, their bodies dark and chunky and their wings pointed and boomerang like. They remind me of the Vaux's Swift I have seen in Arizona and I realize that I am seeing the Chimney Swifts of the east coast--lifers for me! So, my evening ended in triumph as I head back to my mother's house which was once my grandparents home. Like all family homes, it is chock full of memories, along with the accumulated stuff of 70 years of life.

Note: The text of this post is taken from an earlier post but I have now added the photos I took that night. Click here to see the original: Hello From Connecticut.


bobbie said...

I knew it sounded familiar! It was a great walk, and the added pictures make it perfect.

kjpweb said...

Nice walk - and how great to find a lifer!
Cheers, Klaus

Anonymous said...

That squirrel is cooling off. Nice shots.

Shelley said...

Loved your relaxing grey squirrel. Had to laugh at people asking what you were up to with your camera - I have had that happen to me many times. Even had someone asked if I wanted a picture of them last week as I was walking along the lake shore.

Mary C said...

Kathie, how funny all of your photos are "familiar" to me -- I can see all of these critters here in my neck of the "woods." And yet it does "hit home" about what you do and don't see in Arizona. Amazingly, we have had a Queen Anne's Lace growing wild in our back yard this summer, and I did not know they grew around here. I'm glad you got to reminisce while you were back East. Thanks for sharing your photos and memories.