I couldn’t find the wood ducks again this morning, neither on the river nor on the pond, and was making my way home empty-handed, when I stopped to check on the Cooper’s hawk nest I spotted under construction yesterday. Is I searched the treetops for it or the hawk itself, a bird watcher came by whom I see every now and then in the park or on the Oak Leaf Trail.
I said “hi Charles” and proceeded to tell him about what I was looking for, and he glanced up and said right away “well, there’s the hawk, right there.” Ha! It was in the tree right in front of me, and it turns out to be a red-tailed hawk, maybe even the same one as yesterday, but how had I not seen it?
Anyway, it became annoyed that now even I could see it, so it took off, and I lost it in the trees. Not Charles, though. He quickly pointed out a little dark spot against the sky in a tree easily 150 yards away where it had perched. Uncanny.
So when I got home I googled “charles shorewood birds” and discovered that Charles is not just some shmuck like me walking though the park with a pair of binoculars. He’s Charles Hagner, “State Director of Bird City Wisconsin”, “former Editor-in-Chief of BirdWatching magazine”, and author of “American Birding Association Field Guide to Birds of Wisconsin“!
Holy Moly! No wonder he was able to spot a hawk in the tree right in front of us. Anyway, he seems like a super nice guy and never let on that he was a big-shot.
Okay, back to work. On the pond this morning, I did see the two pair of geese, about 3 mallard drakes and at least one hen, and our surprise visitor, Mrs. Gadwall, who seems to be in no rush to move on to her nesting grounds upstate.
Finally, the other fun find of this morning was a mobile phone, and not a cheap one either, by the looks of it. It was lying face down on the mud along the river about a foot from the water.
I had gone out again once it had warmed up, since my first trip this morning was such a bust, but I didn’t see much new, and spent some time picking up litter left on the mudflats by the recent high water. As I was walking home, I reached for my phone, but it wasn’t in my pocket. I immediately panicked, of course, and hustled back down the the mud flats only to search in vain.
So I headed home in hopes that I had simply forgotten to put it in my pocket when I headed out, which I have done before, but that was sadly not the case this time. Happily, however, google has a nifty tool that let me lock it up tight, showed me that it was indeed down by the river, and even make it ring, all from the comfort of the laptop on my dining room table. I got Anne to wait at home and press the button to start the ringing in 10 minutes so that I had enough time to hurry back over there.
I arrived back by the river a little early and as I wandered around retracing my steps from earlier and wondering where would be the best place to stand to hear it ring, I finally spotted it. Apparently, as I had bent over to fetch some water bottles out of the river, it had slipped out of my unzipped jacket pocket, and I never noticed it!
Okay, one last dash of color from another maple tree this morning.