Friday, June 29, 2012

Mergansers and tanagers

Ok, clearly this is one of the things I will be spending time doing in retirement. Bird Watching. Well with my dear husband and I it looks more like this.

Himself: Look, look, on the stump. There.

Me: Where, where, what stump?

Himself: There, right in front of us.

Once sighted there is much ooing and ahing. Then the bird book (actually books) come out.

Himself: I think it's a finch.

Me: No, I think in the sparrow family......

Much time passes as I look through 700 plus pages trying to find a matching picture.

Me: Well, it could be a (insert something from New Mexico here), oh, but they never get up this far.

Himself: Maybe it's lost.

Me: Maybe it is an escaped budgie from the next campsite.

Second book comes out - also over 700 pages.

Me: What does the pink colour mean on the map?

Himself: (well actually by this time my dear husband has headed in for a nap)

Me-muttering to myself: How do I know what kind of beak it had? Yellow spots on tail feathers, how would I see spots on tail feathers?

Hours later.....

Himself: Figured it out yet?

Me: Yup, western tanager!

Himself: I don't remember the wings being black.....

Me, wistfully: Maybe it'll come back tomorrow.

And it did! TADA!

And yes, we also saw a merganser, but don't ask me what kind.....I need to get better binoculars.

And then there was that unfortunate incident in Yellowstone last year where I was convinced we had found the only two nesting whooping cranes in the United States. (They turned out to be sandhill cranes, but they did look like something that should be instinct.)

It took me a year to figure out those big, brown speckled birds are Flickers (thanks to my dear sister). AND, the bird song I love most of all since I was 14 I just found out is a chick-a-dee. People say that the hummingbirds that come to our feeder are Anna hummingbirds, but they don't look like the picture in my is so complicated.

Oh my god, this is exciting.......


  1. My Dad taught me that Red-Winged Blackbirds sing in French: Bois pourri, bois pourri
    Since they are found along the water, I'm guessing they know from rotten wood.

  2. What fun you are having! I too watch the birds. My dad watches birds and can tell me the names of each one he sees while I'm trying to look them up in a book.

    The best bird book I've found is one with actual photos of the birds. Somehow Dad ended up with my copy and he loves it!

    Have you seen a Hairy Woodpecker yet? They are quite spectacular!

    PS I lost you on fb when I closed my acct for a few weeks. Can you friend me again......please? I keep looking for you but can't find you. akkk fb sometimes!


Add your thoughts....join the conversation.