Monday, July 16, 2012

An hour, 15 common species, a memory that lasts forever.

I'll be brief. And I'll try not to cry.

Sunday was a great day this weekend. Why? I went birding, but I didn't just go birding. I went birding with my dad. We don't get so much time to do that anymore. I'm pretty busy, he's pretty busy and there's just less time to do that. The kids and Rachel went to a friends birthday party. I needed to run some errands and decided a one hour walk at a nearby spot would be nice. I texted my dad and he said, "Sure, let's go."

We went to a place nearby that has some fields, forest and also a pretty big pond. We figured it'd have the most diverse stuff nearby. I don't care what we saw, it was in the going not in the finding. We found some good birds. We had some nice Common Yellowthroats, three Caspian Terns (one was banded and I'd guess that was a loud affair), Great Blue Herons, Cedar Waxwings, American Goldfinches, Song, Chipping and Grasshopper Sparrows, one flycatcher that never vocalized so I can't say what it was and several other species.

Probably most memorable for me were a pair of Belted Kingfishers just sitting on a leafless branch. They seemed to be doing exactly what we were. Just spending quality time together. It was hot and I guess they got their fill of fish before the heat clamped on full boar. There were a few reeds leaning to and fro in the slightest breeze between us and them. We watched them for a long time and dad remarked that this sure would make a nice photo. I agreed, but I wasn't talking about the birds.

Dad and I out birding last fall.

Dad and I. Not birding.

Punk Rock Big Year
Paul Riss


  1. Sounds like a proper bonding nostalgic kind of a trip. My fondest birding memories always coincide with times my dad was in the field with me.

    A pair a Belted Kingfishers? As I recall from earlier posts, you're a pretty prodigious fisher too eh? So, assuming your dad can work the lure, and that both of you were wearing belts, to sounds like there were two belted kingfishers looking at a pair of Belted Kingfishers. Very symbolic...

  2. he got me into it so really i have him to thank for all it's given me. funny that i'm SO into fishing but dad never was. his thing was flying. he's a private pilot with his own plane. he's really in his element cruising 5000 ft. above us.

    1. Ha! coincidences...My pilot pops got me hooked on birding too. There's something about flight. Whether you're a professional flyer or an amateur birder (who also gets motion sick extremely easily in my case) it never ceases to amaze.

  3. I don't get motion sick from flying but once I was doing a shoot over water from a helicopter. Frigatebirds and ibises and herons soared past under us. We even saw a large shark hunting. Our pilot tried to get us a better look at the shark. It took some fancy coptering and in the end I puked. Not such fun but a good story...

  4. As someone who doesn't get nearly enough time to go birding anymore - kids have a kind of damper effect on that - I can totally relate; it's the going, not the finding. Especially if you're lucky enough to go with someone who brings meaning to your trip.

  5. Cynthia; Kids can definitely slow a birder down but what I did this year was try to make my yard THE bird hotspot in my town. we planted for them, got more feeders, next is some form of water. it's a nice way to make time with the kids more birdy. Thanks for reading.

  6. The pictures are epic and laurence relating the belted KF's to the two of you... very meta man. :)

    I have grown up watching 'foreign' movies where dads take their sons fishing, boating, hiking, play baseball and such. Strangely, I have no clue what dads (where I come from) do to bond with their kids. I'm a city kid and malls are a rage now in Bombay. Yea, now. Wonder if bonding sessions take place over a McD and a visit to the Hamley store. But before malls... I have no freaking clue. The beach, carnivals and the circus, I guess. :D

    I was invited by an elderly gentleman (somewhere in the US) once. He said I should look him up if I were in his part of town. He would take me fishing, even tho he was in a wheelchair. That was over the phone, when I was working for a tech support outfit. :)