Tuesday, April 08, 2008

More and more birds

Nearly every day in the past couple of weeks that I have gone running, I have seen new migratory birds arriving for spring. Previously, I reported on the red-winged blackbirds, robins, bluebirds, phoebe, song sparrows, tree swallows, and even a sandhill crane. I am happy to say they just keep showing up!

On Monday morning, the first killdeer of the season made its presence known. This cute little shorebird was making all kinds of noise along my route with its shrill, peeping vocalizations echoing throughout the neighborhood.

Today, in a small patch of open water along my trail where a creek flows into the lake, I saw a mother and father hooded merganser. The mother dove underwater, but the colorful father stayed put and even displayed his magnificent crest for me. I have never had such a close-up view of this species. He is one of the most beautiful ducks! This just made my day and was one of the more amazing bird sightings I have experienced in recent memory.

Although they are not new, I continue to see the eagles at their nest in the park. One is in it, and the other standing guard along side. I always greet them, and the one outside the nest usually tilts his head to look at me. Huge birds, definitely an older pair, and they are impressive creatures to say the least.

As I was heading home, I thought about all of the wildlife encounters I would have missed if I didn’t run.

I looked back at my running spreadsheet and it reads more like a birding list as opposed to a running journal! This is why I run outside all year round, because there is always something to see, even if it is the tough little chickadees who still manage to sing when it is -15 below zero in the winter.

And if you go running at 6 AM on a beautiful day and are lucky enough to see a hooded merganser in full breeding plumage? That, my friends, is about as good as it gets.

Until next time,

Jean
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