Sunday, April 06, 2008
Birding the Parking Lot
In between afternoon appointments and tonight's concert, I managed a little break to get outside. Although the morning carried on the last two days theme of dull and dreary, the afternoon was starting to perk up.
Over at the "daffodil house", I found the blooming still a bit patchy, so resisted a long shot as yet. But this new variety, with its thinner, pointier petals and more nodding demeanor, this to me is a narcissus. In mythology, Narcissus was the boy so beautiful he couldn't look away from his own reflection. Eventually he died, and the flowers sprung up where he'd been.
(Actually, there's three or four different, great versions of Narcissus' tale, as a few mouse clicks have shown me. You can check 'em out here. I think the one with Echo is my favorite.)
I can totally picture these guys planted along the bank of a stream, where they could gaze down into their rippled reflection in the passing waters.
When I got back to the parking lot at work, I found the robins were having their run of the grassy hill below the powerlines.
They are so much fun to watch, the way they duck and dash, then stand tall, listening for worms. They can hear the worms. Amazing.
And you know, for such ubiquitous birds as these, the American robin is quite striking, appearance-wise. Of course, I say that about all the birds.
As I headed inside, I heard a rustling in the bed of Jeff's truck, and this white periscope head popped up as I drew closer, and then this Great Black-Backed Gull was flying up. I'm always impressed with how big these guys are...and I never fail to hear the voice of Ivan (was that his name? I have to find time to read that again!), from Watership Down in my head: I come from Peeg Vater...
Anyway, this guy hopped up onto Jen's truck so we could better regard one another and I managed to get off a few shots with my camera. Obviously his white front caused a little over-exposure from the angle of the sun, but it was still a cool moment.
We studied one another a bit, as I moved a little closer to him. Maybe he was surprised that I wasn't shooing him away. But first, I figure live and let live. Second, do you see how big he is? Until I grow a beak like that, he can do pretty much whatever he wants to.