Monthly Archives: April 2014

All The Birds I Should Have Seen

Beloved Birders! here at Birds and Words, we’re in the middle of a monumental move, and though we’re thrilled with our new abode and the prospect of inhabiting a home-office that promises to be devoid of three-foot-tall unicorn poster & his faithful companion, the somewhat unsightly Texas Longhorn, still, nevertheless, this change of space represents a somewhat radical change, and it turns out that change is not exactly what we do best.

So we’re trying to remain even-keeled, and desperately grasping at strands of remaining sanity, and all that to say that yesterday’s hope of seeing the famed mature male King Eider was the main thing propelling me through the week.

And it is at this point, beloved birders, that I need to confess to you just how quiet a life we lead here at Birds and Words. That a move a mere two blocks away — a move is, in the grand scheme of things, utterly inconsequential — should catapult me into such a state of rootlessness strikes me as ridiculous, and something that I know I will laugh at in a few weeks. To say that I feel unmoored would not be an exaggeration.

How funny life is: that one can feel something so intensely and at the same time recognize the absurdity of said feeling.

And so back to the King Eider that was about to offer me respite from all things moving-related. The King Eider that was destined to recalibrate the world. The King Eider that would brighten my week. Here’s the King Eider I should have seen:

Here he is in all his splendor on Wednesday in Lasalle Marina, Burlington. Photo by Cam Millward.

Here is the Somateria spectabilis, decked out is in all his splendor on Wednesday in Lasalle Marina, Burlington. Photo by Cam Millward.

And, as you can guess, twas not to be. Who knows what happened — maybe the King Eider met a gal who lured him to other shores, or perhaps he flew off to visit a long lost penpal or something. These things happen. We drove all the way out to Burlington and got great looks at Red Breasted Mergansers, Coots, Ruddy Ducks, White-wing Scoters, Scaup, and Common Goldeneye. I’m not complaining because I managed to ID all of the above birds by myself, which is a feat equal or greater to packing up our entire apartment. And then we drove out to Grimsby, in search of the elusive Lapland Longsupurs who were supposed to be be displaying all sorts of wild behaviours in the Saltfleet area, and that too turned out to be for naught.

So when I came home and my husband asked me my favorite question, “so, what did you see today?” I smiled and told him that some days are just about the birds I might have seen, and that doesn’t make the day any less wonderful. (To which he kind of rolled his eyes.)

In the end, I made it out into the field, binoculars in hand, and that was pleasure in and of itself. Sometimes birding (like life) is about not seeing, too.