Birding can expose you to so many things, can't it? New places, new faces...
This morning found me getting out of bed at Zero-Dark-Thirty to go meet Les (from this post) all the way over on the other side of town for some birding.
With his schedule, it's tough for him to get bird time other than banding, and I have such a poor sense of "bird" hearing, we both jumped at the chance to get out to the woods.
Les has great ears. There's a vast knowledge base in that brain of his, and I used it as much as I could today. And just like our first meeting, there was more to see than just birds...
I took this photo just for Delia's friend Matty. He laughs like a 12-year old boy when anyone says anything remotely vulgar. (I can hear his voice now, saying "Hehehe...you said "knob")
Delia, please make sure Matty sees this.
Pawpaws are starting to develop fruit...and that reminds me that I need to move the pawpaw trees I planted last year. Stupidly planted them in full sun. Duh.
A rare moment of seeing jewelweed in the sun.
Initially thought this was some kind of mint, but we decided it was beardtongue. (Which might also send Matty into fits)
We had no idea what this was....maybe Jim McCormac or some other plant geek could tell us? We assumed it was an exotic invasive, since there was so much of it.
Looks like a pea plant with "fern" foliage.
This one brought up a funny story.
This is a buckeye nut, before it ripens into the typical shape we are used to. Reminded me of the "infamous buckeye" picture from Cape May last year.
I told Les the story. He approved.
He also agreed that I shouldn't put this in my cleavage. Too spiny.
And the inside of a buckeye before maturity:
Three little wet "lima bean" things...it smelled good. Smelled green.
And yes, Laura...I have blue nail polish on today. Laura seems to take offense at my choices of nail color.
She thinks it must be some "Midwestern Thing"...and she thinks it's weird.
Which is exactly why I do it.
A very tired Mourning Cloak butterfly:
I've never been able to get a picture of one of these, but I see them in the spring and summer flitting about. This one was very tired and sluggish in the shade on the road, so I picked him up and placed him in the sun. That woke him up a bit.
I got ONE bird picture today. And it's not even a good one:
There's a blue-gray gnatcatcher in there. I promise.
Les got me a lifer today. We both heard and saw a Kentucky Warbler.
Did I get a photo? No, of course not.
That makes 219 on my Life List.
We also got fleeting looks at a few broad-winged hawks.
Les made it his mission to teach me as many bird calls as he could today.
He taught me that the Kentucky Warbler sounds like a "musical horse" galloping,
the Yellow-breasted Chat making a zillion different sounds,
the wood thrushes "night song",
White-eyed vireos say "Pick up the beer, Check!"...though I like this mnemonic better: "Pick up a realllllllll CHICK!"
...he is my own personal Yoda. Except he is way taller than me. And he's not green.
Thankfully he didn't quiz me at the end of our walk...but he did text me on the way home as I was listening to songs on my iPod:
"Are you studying those bird calls?"
I said, "Yes, YODA."
He responded, "Bird calls learn, you must."
What a kook. Must be why I enjoy his company so much. :)
And his company is a jewel. No one is 'born' a birder, and it's interesting to hear how others came to be these twitchy, nutty types who go to great lengths to see and hear birds. His story was way more interesting than my "cherry tree and birdbath" story.
(Geoff got me a bird bath and weeping cherry tree for my first Mother's Day and it's exploded from there.)
Talking with Les, I discovered how similar we are in humor, opinions....nice to find your "People", isn't it?
Here's a quick video of a White-eyed vireo singing, and me begging it to sing some more: