No matter your approach to birding, it's sheer joy to have birds around, to be around birds in their ennobled company, watching them engage in sophisticated actions, curious antics and quirky activities. Much can be learned in the patient art of just watching - perhaps more about oneself than about the birds. Certainly, without our perennially popular perambulators of the skies, the parks and woodlands do seem lonely, a bit prosaic, even. And with their adored presence skittering and flashing about, they liven up a quiet scene, and a much missed connection with the natural world is re-established by tuning in to the birds.
|SAY'S PHOEBE (I dare say)|
(Slightly off-topic mention: how about the equally never before seen White-headed Woodpecker, although spotted farther afield on the Tahoe Rim Trail in mid-September. OK, bring it on, Whitey! Show your face again!)
In between all these new first sightings, I've also had several glimpses of exotic looking flycatchers hangin' out on a barbed wire fence near Wildcat Knoll and in the Burrowing Owl habitat at Albany Bulb. I'm guessing they're Ash-throated and Say's Phoebe's, mebbe. Throw in a raft of unID'd sightings of vireo/warbler type birds, plus a slew of strange goings-on with the elusive California Thrasher, and you've got the makings of a perfect storm of know-nothingness. But the Thrasher is now a familiar friend, an interesting - nay, charismatic - bird I've seen just a handful of times over the past few months, most recently a last-minute sighting the other day at the Albany Bulb when I turn into an area just to see, and sure enough, I see the curve-billed bird, well-camo'd, flushing out of underbrush to alight on a branch for a few moments of posing, minus the singing, like one day up on Wildcat Knoll when I hear a lilting song emanating from a bush, but seeing nothing, I leave frustrated by my complete lack of bird song ID skills. Minutes later, near Conlon / Nimitz Way juncture overlooking the San Pablo Reservoir and Mount Diablo, I hear the unmistakable song again, and - there's the Thrasher singing it. Bada Bada Bing!
And still the question goes unanswered. How is it that previously unseen birds, once seen, are then seen many times in quick succession? Is it a principle of physics? Some twist of morphic resonance? Or deep natural laws of attraction at work? Maybe it's merely odds, timing, just a symptom of my utter naivete and whimsical approach to birding, with a modest underpinning of academic rigor and taxonomic certainty. It's an enduring mystery that will continue to delight the serious, casual, or obsessed birder, take your pick.