Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

Swainson's Thrush

My wife's college suite-mate became her best friend. Her best friend died a few years ago. My wife is also friends with her suite-mate's mother. This mom, V., lives in assisted living in the Oklahoma City suburbs. My wife drove up there today to pay her a visit. As I type this, it is Saturday evening and she is driving home after a very nice time with V.

I joined the 8 a.m. bird walk at Connemara Nature Preserve. This old farm meadow turned into a nature retreat is less than 10 minutes' drive from my home. Galen and Rodney lead these walks,which take place once a month. May is an auspicious time for this bird walk,because migrants are passing through, and arrivals are active in the nesting season.

Here is a picture of the meadow:


It has lots of open spaces, lots of little wooded sections, and some wetlands area.
In short, it's great, an oasis in suburbia.

We saw lots of great birds. We saw indigo buntings.

indigo bunting may 3 2014 connemara.

We saw a painted bunting. We saw a Baltimore Oriole, a migrant that we rarely see in our area except during migration, as few nest here. I spotted the oriole, and was glad to help others find it. I am only a low-level intermediate birder,so it was nice to contribute a little.

We saw lots of flycatchers-scissor-tailed flycatcher, great crested flycatcher, and western kingbirds. We saw two red-shouldered hawks, tufted titmouse and Carolina chickadee, a Swainston's thrush (my first ever), a ruby-throated hummingbird, a Nashville warbler, a downy woodpecker, blue jays, red-winged blackbirds, European starlings, northern mockingbirds, more northern cardinals than one can easily imagine, all singing, mallard ducks, blue-winged teal, barn swallows, rough-winged swallows, purple martin, green heron, great egret, an American robin, white-crowned sparrows,
great-tailed grackle. There were about a dozen of us plus two leaders and it was grand.

Mallard duck and blue-winged teal, may 3,2014

I saw a few other things in the air.


I also saw lots of thing on the ground.




The walk ended at 11 a.m. I called my wife,who was cruising northward through the lovely Arbuckle Mountains. I went to Subway,and had a 12 inch sandwich for breakfast and lunch.

After lunch, I felt like doing even more walking. I drove to Frisco's Limestone Quarry Park. I got good pictures of a western kingbird.


I also saw lots of daisies, though I am not good with sorting all the numerous Texas Spring daisies.


I drove to Staples to look at their sale computers, but found the McKinney store had very little selection. Then I went to the Allen Radio Shack. My laptop's DVD had died months ago. I had received a 10 dollar replacement via eBay. But it turned out the optical drive was not held in by Phillips screws, but by odd little crescent shaped bolts. I explained my dilemma to the clerk. We looked together, and found a little 11 dollar kit of every turning apparatus head possible. One could move each little turning head onto the metal bar. I bought that, plus a fifteen dollar pocket AM/FM/Shortwave radio from the clearance table and some batteries on sale.

I went home,and it took only 20 minutes to install the replacement DVD. It worked instantly. I felt so capable as a result that I sat down and drew up some paperwork for my job. Then I watched part of a nature video about Alaska's Denali National Park.
I liked it very much. I find my favorite DVDs lately are nature documentaries. I will quibble a bit, though, with the scene in which the narrator explained how a young moose separated from its mother did not have good chances. This line is obligatory in every nature video and thus need no longer be said. I watched 30 minutes of the 1 hour and 10 minute movie. I'll finish the rest later.

The afternoon was nearly over,so I headed to Whole Foods Market. I loaded up a little plate/tray with vegan food. I am not at all a vegan, but sometimes I like to cross over. I am not good with thrifty use of their "meal by the pound" program,because I like things like grapes which are heavy due to high water content. I did not save anything by going the grocery buffet route. Nonetheless, the meal was grand.

I was not yet tired of the outdoors, so I headed to Towne Lake Park. I walked on the wooded community trail. I saw lots of birds, and heard cardinals sing. I came upon one bird who was very shy.


Once I got a chance to compare its picture with a reference, I realized that I had once more seen my new friend, Swainson's thrush. It is not a rare bird, but its shyness means it is not easy to sight. Also, it is a migrant, passing through Texas for only a week or three. I felt happy to have seen it.

I also saw this northern mockingbird, among many other birds:


It was great to walk around the lake. The park is a great community park, safe and filled with diverse people with diverse interests--and lots of birds. After the park, I stopped at Half Priced Books and got a 4 dollar DVD about Antarctic wildlife.

I listened to "Selected Shorts" on PBS as I drove home. I was delighted that they read one of the Mr. Ed short stories by Walter Brooks. It was great fun to hear. I drove to the grocery store, as a Ray Bradbury story came on. I loved the story but did not get to hear it all. My wife called--she was in Norman, heading home. Then I decided to go buy milk rather than listen to the rest of the story. I got skim milk, clementines, and organic bananas.

I came home and took Beatrice for a walk. She got to see rabbits, and a nice little girl on a hand scooter stopped to pet her. We had a good walk.

I sat on our patio furniture and tried out the shortwave. I found one station in an Asian language. I found several stations featuring evangelism for conservative Christianity. One sought to debunk evolution by questioning the fossil record. Another hoped that the program just ending (which I had not heard) had enriched my life.

Now Beatrice is snoring. I am relaxing. It was a good day.

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