Sunday, September 23, 2007

Of Birds and Men

I am going to try and enter the mind of a man as I write this. Perhaps I shall format my post the way Larry of The Brownstone Birding Blog reports his bird walks.

It all started out with my father who is presently in Chile with my mother and brother, Stephen. Dad needed a bill paid at an office in an area of the city that is a 60 minute round trip from the hospital. I procrastinated, and finally went there last Thursday. On the way back to work, I stopped at a reservoir on the grounds of the University of Waterloo for lunch.

There were multitudes of Canada Geese and Mallard Ducks, but in the crowd, two strangers stood out, glowing like celestial beings. (a man wouldn't say that!) I finally found a pair of the elusive Great Egrets who are migrating through our region this fall. Thanks Dad!

Fast forward five hours to my next significant male encounter. My husband called at 5 PM to say he had a flat tire. His buddy was with him and his boss was coming by to help and he would be late for supper. I told him I would be home by dark and I hurried back to the university in rush hour traffic to see if the Egrets were still there.

They were, and I enjoyed looking at them until dusk.

Yesterday, my husband had a ball tournament and so I left bright and early-ish for the same area. (I decided this at 8AM and left at 8:30 AM, a spontaneous birding outing rather than Larry's carefully planned trips.) I walked around the small lake and along a trail that followed the creek for over two hours. I identified 26 species of birds, excluding only starlings and house sparrows.
Is this a Phoebe or a Pee-wee?

My list included familiar birds, but also some that I had not seen for a few weeks. I saw an Eastern Kingbird, Kingfisher, Eastern Phoebe, Great Egret (1), Great Blue Heron (2), Blue Jay (2), Red-eyed Vireo, Gray Catbird (2), Redhead duck (several), Double Crested Cormorant (3), Red-winged Blackbirds (4) and two large, unusual gulls I could not identify.

As I headed back to my vehicle at noon, I went about 30 metres off the trail to the bushes and rushes where the Great Egret had been. I was startled by a Male Birder who was wearing his binoculars and nothing else! Do good birders wear buff? He apologized profusely and said he was cooling off after a long, hot bike ride. Well buddy, loosen your spandex biking shorts a little. This is not a guy's fishing trip in the wilderness. He called after my rapidly retreating back and asked me jokingly not to take a picture. Son of Adam, when you are in the public garden, please wear your fig leaf! (no photo)

By birding expedition ended rather abruptly as I was not going to raise binoculars or a camera to my eyes after that encounter. I had grocery shopping and laundry to do. Do men have to get home to finish these chores too?

No, I cannot think like a man!


  1. LOL, you made me laugh reading this post! Wonderful list of birds that you saw! :)

  2. Just happened by your blog--I LOVE that photo of the lone egret! Very nice! Also the Phoebe or Pee-Wee, whichever it is (I know more about shorebirds than songbirds...).

    I'll be back!

  3. What, no pic! Wish he could have captured the look of surprise on your face.
    Nice pictures.

  4. I was going to mention Peggy's blog, but I see that she has been here. She has incredible photos at her blog.

  5. Tom- You are a decent birder, I am sure! I enjoyed seeing so many different birds as an amateur.

    Peggy- Glad you dropped by. You photos are superb!, so I take it as a complement that you like the lone egret photo here. Looks like egrets are common to you, but this is the northern limit of their range. Hope I get an ID on that little bird.

    Jean- My face would have been a picture of disbelief! I will sing loudly next time I approach bushes.

    Beverly- Nice to have you visit too. Both you and Peggy have interesting blogs.

  6. I vote for a phoebe. Love the egret photos!

  7. Oh Ruth--this one is certainly worth a chuckle. I was innocently reading along until I came to the Male Birder.
    Snort. Chortle.
    I had to go back and re-read the lines to make sure I had read what I had read!
    Just cooling off--oh, sure. Around here we would call that indecent exposure--although with no pic, it is hard to judge.
    Thanks for a good laugh.

  8. Add a Bare-Cheeked Sapien (1) to your birding list. Thanks for the laugh.

  9. Kayleen- Yours is another new blog to add to my Google Reader. Thanks for dropping by and commenting. I thought the bird was a Peewee at first, but then started leaning toward Phoebe. It depends which bird guide I look in. Thanks for your vote.

    KGMom- Indecent exposure it was, if the police had seen him. I don't think he was a dangerous man, just a real naturalist. I didn't believe him when he asked me NOT to take his picture either.

    Femail Doc- I have been reading your terrific blogs the last couple of days. So much I can relate to as a mid-life female working with the geriatric population.
    Bare-Cheeked Sapien will be added to my life list!

  10. I wonder if it is ever possible to get inside the mind of a man? It seems like a mysterious place ... good question about the chores after work...

  11. Oh dear. Sorry you got an eye full.


  12. Anonymous6:11 am GMT-4

    I SOOOO think you should have photographed him. Maybe photoshopped a fig leaf into place... hahahahahaha....

  13. Anonymous6:12 am GMT-4

    P.S. Especially love the egret!

  14. LOLOLOL Ruth! Larry will be proud, though I'd bet we'd not find him... err... cooling off that way. What a nice day you had despite the odd scenery.

  15. Ruth, I am howling! Sorry, I would have tried a pic. Or maybe not, as I would have retreated, too.

    The minds of men are so different. I'm sure they never think about getting back to household chores.

    Larry is a very oganized birder but I don't think we'd find him in the buff. No, not Larry!

    Great bird list, Ruth. I love the photo of the Egret glowing like a celestial being!

  16. Holy smokes-I can't believe your encounter!You'll have to put that on a list of its own!-Ruth-I am spontaneous with my birding some times too!-No-I'm not in to that type of birding! Maybe if I was looking out my back windwow-that's about it!

  17. Kate- Great to meet someone new again! Yes, no one answered the chores question. I know my husband doesn't do laundry.

    Laura- I tried to make sure I didn't take in too much of the view.

    Jennifer- He actually saw me and called out a warning before I noticed him. No time for setting the camera!

    Jayne- It was a good day. I choose to admire nature fully dressed.

    Mary- I could just imagine the post you would write if you had a similar encounter. And I am sure there would be a picture. You are so prepared.

    Larry- I am relieved at your confession and will not be startled if I find you in the bush. I am also glad you do spontaneous birding.

  18. Gosh, I miss a few days of blogging and look what happens!!! Ruth this post was a riot. You got to see all those great birds and then the 'nekkid dude' shows up at the end of this great day. Your telling of the encounter and the comments have made my day! (and I can see that no matter how busy I think I am, I need to make time to keep up with everyone's blogs!!)

  19. Hey Ruthie,
    So you miss a few can always catch up later. I am crazy busy the next 2 weeks and the same will happen to me. Glad you got a chuckle! Have a good week.

  20. Wooo!!! Naked men - I should accompany you on your walks more often, mother. ;P

  21. Becka, maybe I need a body guard. I haven't told Dad yet, but if read my blog he would know ;-)


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