Dear Birders, Who Will Understand this Simple Joy....
I have heard people say that birding in July is “slow,” or “quiet,” and not really worthy of a birders’ attention. But this morning, Clem Nilan, Michele Patenaude and I spent a good chunk of time at Lagoon Road and it did us justice. True, no “new birds” for the year, unless of course you would consider the hatchlings, and…oh...my...did they capture us! Grand Prize for cutest shorebird of the day (and perhaps dethroning the Killdeer chick from this status) goes to three, fresh-out-of-the-eggs, Spotted Sandpiper chicks. Total poof balls with bold black mascara-eyelines and a racing stripe from the top of heads, down the length of their backbones, these cuties resembled a cross between their parents and miniature burros. Tiny feather-duster tails bobbed while they foraged independently through the forests of grass and when they disappeared, we’d wait patiently for them to return. We were not disappointed as they resurfaced again and again, always somewhere new and unexpected: ascending the mountains of mulch, scritching in the mud for a tiny morsel of food only they could see, weaving along the edge of the flooded field, stopping beside a giant Snipe, freezing in a pose like a Pointer (only they were the predator) and then striking with speed and accuracy I’d expect from an experienced hunter… Always on the move, coming and going, living by instinct, new born babies… when we finally turned our attention away an hour later, I swear they looked bigger.