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.


Butch said...

Good morning,

Great segue from those beautiful Daffodils to Narcissus. Those flowers would do anyone "proud" being represented by them. I think you captured the gull with the wings spread, proudly, and showing off his beautiful black wings.I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the noble and trusting Robin.

When I was in Ireland an Irish robin ( smaller than the American one and more closer to the size of the Finch than anything I can remember ) sat in a bush near by watching me near Glendalough. I sat very still and the bird surprised me by coming closer to me and eventually landing on my shoe. We had a wonderful conversation. When it was time to move on, my sister and her husband and I got back into the rented car and as we started to pull out of our spot, this wee robin tried to go with us. If the window hadn't been up, I am sure it would have been in the car! I can only imagine if in a past life ( or two )this creature might have recognized me. ( nice fantasy )
;-) Anyway, many thanks for the pictures and jaring my memory.

Greg said...

What a delightful memory! I'm so happy to have brought it back to you. That little guy was quite taken with you...

...I had a pretty enjoyable conversation with a black bear, on a long ago evening in my Adirondack garden. He was waiting just across the property line (about five feet from me) to use the falling dark as his cover to hit a nearby ice cream stand dumpster...while I was trying to finish off a new shade garden before I lost the light.

Of course, he didn't sit on my shoe...but I set down my trowel to show him I was threat-free and sat back on my haunches and we talked (well, he seemed to listen, anyway)for a moment or two...before I called it a night and cautiously backed away.

I wish more people could enjoy such peaceful encounters with our fellow creatures.

Butch said...

Greg: Equally exciting and a special memory you will remember for quite a long time. Glad he chose not to sit on your shoe, I think you would have had a lot more to talk about. ;-)