(July 2, 2005)

IDENTITY CRISIS - I was just musing and amusing myself with the thought accepting an invitation to make a presentation to one of naturalist groups that has kindly offered to take me out of my comfort zone - which is usually behind my camera at Legacy Marsh or some other remote location. What would I say to a group of birders who already know more about birds than I will ever know? Why do you think I call myself the "Novice Birder"? By the way, did you notice that "Novice Birder" is an oxymoron, and I'm the moron who uses that term? It's like "amateur surgeon". Would you want an amateur surgeon to operate on you? By definition, a birder is someone who is an expert on birds, so either you're a birder or something lesser like a Yellowlegs. Back to the thought of making presentations, I've also been invited to appear at a photography club. You're not going to believe this, but I don't know much about photography either. I just point and shoot. (auto-focus, auto-exposure, auto-pilot ...) I bet you thought I was an Arthur Morris or Moose Peterson. Nope. I can't tell a focal length from a focal point, and with digital, the histogram is all Greek to me. Now you have the truth. I won't be offended if you want a full refund of your subscription fee. So if I'm not a birder and not a photographer, what am I? I'm not going to lose any sleep over that question.

Despite my preoccupation as a book salesman for the past 2 weeks, I actually have a few pictures to share. I rarely leave the camera at home. On June 27 I made a little detour to San Malo and was excited to see a flock of about 100 peeps - my first returning shorebirds. It was overcast and the tide was out so it was too dark and too far to get any pictures. However, as the clouds burned off, I made a point of checking out Admiral's Lagoon. I was rewarded with a Greater Yellowlegs, Baird's Sandpiper, a couple of Least Sandpipers. I found some Westerns there a few days later. Dolphin Lake and Kaye Road also produced a couple of shots.

JUNE 27/05 - I was truly excited to see the shorebirds return. I had so many questions I wanted to ask them. What was it like in Siberia or Alaska? How was the weather? How were the breeding grounds? Was there any disturbance? What was the success rate? ... (I talk to my cat too.)

WALMART GREETER - As I stepped on to the beach at Admiral's Lagoon, the Greater Yellowlegs was in the little freshwater creek to greet me.

I was so busy with the Yellowlegs that I almost missed the bird behind it. I did a double take when I saw it was a Baird's Sandpiper.

The other yellowlegs on the beach belonged to the Least Sandpiper. There were a few Least but no Westerns.

2 days later the Westerns were there. One of them was wearing a silver band with readable numbers.

SPOT CHECKING - I stopped at Rascal Lane again to check on the Spotties. It was mid-day and no one was home. I checked across the road at another pond and found a couple of baby Spotties there, but they were too fast for my camera. I did manage to click on a little Killdeer before it disappeared too.

JUNE 28/05 - An afternoon stop at Legacy Marsh wasn't very productive. The Redwing tried to console me with a dragonfly snack.

AND THEN THERE WERE 2 - On June 10 I saw one eaglet in the north Dolphin nest. When I checked again on June 29, the population had doubled.

JULY 1/05 - The Rascal lane Spottie saw me coming and took off across country. I knew I could never find it. A juvie Song Sparrow posed for me as I was heading back to the car.

There were a pair of Spotted Sandpipers at the almost dry reservoir pond. They were doing their best to distract me, but I didn't see any young ones around. Maybe it was a new nest. I almost got a picture of the Spottie in a tree but had to settle for a ground shot. Can you count the spots?

Jul. 2 - I scoured Kaye Road for the MacGillivray's and the Kestral, but all I found was the Downey Woodpecker. I didn't mind as I'm collecting new photos for Volume II. What? Volume II? Maybe, if I ever get rid of Volume I. Actually, I've had so many requests for Volume II that it's already sold out! Okay, I'm exaggerating, but everyone who has bought Volume I has asked for Volume II.

Jul. 2 - As I stepped outside this morning, was greeted by the plaintive squeaks of 2 recently fledged Chickadees. I knew that Mom was around, but she was teaching them independence.

128 pages, full colour, hard cover coffee table book. Anticipated publication date: June 23/05

BOOK UPDATE - I've established a few book outlets around the Island. I'm still working on a few more.













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