Monday, October 09, 2006
You know it's going to be a good afternoon when it starts out this way. Boats all loaded up and ready to go; PBJ's and Peterson's Field Guide to Birds of North America in your dry bag. The sky was a beautiful steel gray with low clouds like cotton wads all across the horizon.
Some old friends of HWWLLB were in town this weekend. We had long, leisurely breakfasts and late nights with lots of wine, good food and good company. On Sunday afternoon we headed out to the Eno river for two of our favorite activities: paddling and harrassing waterfowl (known to some as "bird watching"). I like cool-weather paddling because it's the only time I'll wear sandals with socks. Wool socks + sport sandals are a great combo, since wool socks stay warm even when wet, plus it makes me feel very nerdy and Germanic (especially when the socks are either black or very colorful).
There were a lot of birds to harrass. As we put in, HWWLLB and I were taking bets on how many Great Blue Herons we would see. He guessed five. I guessed eight. I think we saw at least two dozen. There was one place where we could see nine, all at one time. We also saw dozens of Great White Egrets, a species I had never seen before in North Carolina, although they do winter here (they look a lot like the white phase of the Great Blue Heron, except their feet are black and they aren't as shaggy looking).
I just hate how much we disturb them. It's hard to avoid, since they are very shy birds and don't want to be anywhere near you, so just padding past, even on the other side of the river, really bothers them. They fly off and squawk noisily, sounding like an enormous crow with a cold. Then once you're past they circle back to the fishing spot they had staked out.
HWWLLB and I paddle in our great big green canoe, while our friends paddle zippy little kayaks. Together, we are known as the Birdisturbers. Watch out, waterfowl!