Wednesday, May 21, 2008

May Long Weekend 2008

Every year on the May long weekend we go birding with my mother's family. We have done this since I was eight. It started just being my mother, my grandparents, my great-aunt and great-uncle, and my uncle and I. It has expanded in recent years to include as many of my mother's siblings and their spouses and children as can arrange to come along, as well as the occasional poor soul who is a friend of a sibling or a child. These poor, unsuspecting folk never seem quite prepared for the intensity with which we attack this weekend birding sojourn. We are out to see birds. Rain (or sleet, or hail, or snow, as has been the case sometimes) is no barrier. Freezing cold winds? No problem. Hunger? There are muffins in the car. And bathroom breaks are for the weak and whiny.

You are, however, welcome to look at/for other wildlife, and maybe even plants. So this trip, despite the annual grousing about the weather (which was awful, except for the two hours during which fishy took these photos) we had a great number of sightings. Not just birds, but enormous rainbow trout, a muskrat, a garter snake, dragonflies, turtles, leopard frogs, green frogs and a bullfrog, schools of dace, and a fox. One of my favourite flowers, the marsh marigold was blooming:

There are always at least a few good birds to see too, and this year was no exception. We had fantastic luck at a couple of flooded field patches; at one we saw a stilt sandpiper, which I believe is a first for me, and at the other we saw black terns, which I have never seen outside of Point Pelee and which we failed to see there this year. They're one of my favourites, so I was really pleased that we had the chance to see them after all.

It's one of my favourite spring rituals. I had to miss it a couple of years ago, and I cried. I always wish the weather was better and that we'd seen more (four warblers! that is not enough!) but that, I think, is part of the fun.
(photos by fishy)


Anonymous said...

Your family always seems so convinced that guests to this event are overwhelmed and baffled by the ordeal. They all seem perfectly content and mostly entertained to me. You just like to think that you are traumatizing people. Sorry, they enjoy it.

greenpixie said...

Oh, I'm not saying it's not enjoyable... but you have to admit, *you* were traumatized by my family...