Hip-Hop Blues Rap
And I do mean chirp! If you were expecting music (?), ya gots the wrong guy.
I was out checking the blues (bluebird nest boxes) yesterday, and every time
I hopped outta my 4X4 pickup, my femur would give my hip socket a solid rap.
By box number 180, my hip was putting out more scritchy/scratchy noise than
Run DMC and Snoop Dogg combined. Anyone have Dr. Dre's number?
By the time I finished with the nest boxes, it was 4:30 and hot. I thought I
could refresh myself with a hot dog and an ice cream sandwich at the
Stagecoach RV Park just above Wenas Lake. Unfortunately they were closed. I popped
open a package of fruit snacks and washed them down with the last of my orange
soda. Duly fortified, I was foolish enough to drop down to the lake to check
The edge of the lake is now two hundred yards from the bottom end of the boat
ramp. At its highest level weeks ago, in this drought year, the water ALMOST
touched the concrete ramp.
I had hardly walked twenty yards from the bottom of the ramp when I noticed a
No Trespassing sign posted just to the left of the channel of Wenas Creek.
The restaurant and resort have changed hands again. In the past, if you
accessed the lake on their road, you had to pay a one dollar fee. I'm wondering if
there is an effort being made to discourage fisherman who park at the public
access lot from walking over to fish on the private side of the lake. In
normal spring years, the sign would be underwater. I doubt if boaters using the
public ramp could be prohibited from utilizing any of the lake's surface. It
would appear that an effort is being made to encourage fisherman (and birders??)
to use the private access road. Unless, of course, your intent is to jump
Wenas Creek and stay on the far shore.
I followed the creek and stopped twenty yards from the water. The mud was
getting a piffle squishy; to walk closer would have meant sinking above my shoe
soles. Not wanting to sink n stink, I plopped my scope down.
To my surprise, a Spotted Sandpiper was content to actively forage ten to
twenty feet in front of me. Another two or three Spotties were working the
waters edge. I have become accustomed to observing this species through optics and
was amazed at how small they really are. This particular Spotty had more
teeter in his totter than I have previously noted in an individual. The tension
adjustment in his hips definitely needed attention.
Present close by were 50 Killdeer, 50+ peeps, four Greater Yellowlegs, four
Long-billed Dowitchers in rich rufous hues, and at least two Semipalmated
Sandpipers...maybe. Taking on the first big flock of peeps of the season under a
blazing sun when you are already on the verge of heat stroke isn't something a
card carrying member of the BBBB (Bodacious Brotherhood of Befuddled Birders)
recommends. But there I was. And there they were. Skittish too. Assorted
four letter codes (and words) ensued.
Was that a rufous scapular or tattered tertial? Primary extension or
complete exhaustion? Where was my copy of Paulson? At home, of course. Moving the
scope slowly, I would repeat, "Least, Least, Least...wait a minute..." And
then another FLUSH! Quick, check the axillaries and the stripe on the greater
secondary coverts. Dang...or some other appropriate four letter code like
darn. Missed it!
The Killdeer creeped closer as I repeated, "Least, Least, Least...what's
this?" FLUSH. "Aw ----!" Insert appropriate four letter code. I was ready to
vent...the wheeling birds had shown me enough of those.
Unable to differentiate between the greater coverts and the lower scapulars,
I packed it in. On August 17, YVAS will have a field trip for shorebirds at
Wenas Lake. Will I attend? I'm leaving it in the hands of my old mentor,
As I turned to leave, who did I see behind me but old teeter butt himself,
Spotty. You may know that I have poor hearing. But...does a Spotted Sandpiper
call go anything like, " hee, hee, hee"?
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