Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

man at the park and building plans

The weather today featured lots of sun, temperatures around 17 degrees C., blue skies with intermittent clouds, and all the other things that, on paper, make for an ideal day. But today also featured a biting,sub-arctic wind, not entirely out of character for the place and season.

I spent much of today walking on trails and in parks. I walked:
1. on the Chisholm Trail in Plano
2. in Shawnee Park in Plano
3. in Bethany Lakes Park in Plano
4. in Allen Station Park in Allen; and
5. in Glendover Park in Allen (this last accompanied by my loyal companion, Beatrice).

That list reads as if I did a lot of travel, but all of these places are more or less stops on my usual circuit from home to Weight Watchers to church to lunch and back to my home. No walk lasted more than 40 minutes, as the biting wind drove me in each time.

I like Shawnee Park, a small park in Plano with a pond and a walking path by a set of creekside trees. I walked into a nook of the park where I sometimes see sparrows. In the Winter I like to see sparrows. Someone asked me, lately, which are my favorite birds to see. I said then my favorites are the Painted Bunting, a colorful songbird and the Merlin, a falcon who comes for a short while in Winter. But I think I like sparrows best.

As I walked in Shawnee Park, I noticed a tent. I did not investigate, as I suspected that someone was camping in the city park. A man walked up to me and confirmed this was the case. He was a nice enough fellow, a grown man wearing a letter jacket. He introduced himself as Robert, which I told him was my name as well. He told me that he and his wife had been, unfortunately (his words) been camping in the park for some weeks.

I had seen a couple earlier in the month sitting in the picnic area, so I deduced they must be the same folks. We chatted a bit. He told me he had seen me bird watching, and that his father bird-watched, too. I hope he and his wife have an upturn. I had seen different tents in that park before, as it is apparently a known place to go when folks are living in tents.

After church, I stayed for an all-congregation meeting about whether the church should embark on a new fund-raising for a building project. I had come into the meeting prepared to be against it, as I dislike that churches get enamoured of building projects and I had the mistaken impression that the proposal was to
borrow a lot of money for construction to go beyond needed repairs. But it was instead a vote on whether to canvass members for building fund pledges. So it was a non-event, easy to ratify.

I am internally contradictory about these things. On the one hand, I love Boston Avenue United Methodist Church in Tulsa, a wonderful deco church. On the other hand, I have seen church building projects where perfectly lovely sanctuaries were "modernized" from a lovely early 20th C. wood interior to an imperfect painted tan interior. Years later, of course, a new capital campaign was required to fix it. I prefer, I suppose, well-thought-out small churches that look grand the first time.

In Allen Station Park, the woods were alive with Eastern Bluebirds, Yellow-Rumped Warblers and American Goldfinches. I liked to snap their pictures. Only the bluebirds came out just right.

I kept records of all the birds I saw during my five stops. This month I keep checklists almost every time I walk. This is to solve the problem I noted in my eBird statistics. Although I walk almost every noontime and a fellow times each weekend, I only logged statistics when I had a long list or a list with new birds to add. This made my results less useful to me, as I could not tell what birds I see at which sites on a regular basis.

I decided to keep my eBird log like a LiveJournal--to record almost daily what I see. This has so far netted some fun results. While all of last year, I recorded but 103 species in my home county, my January count is at 49. Last year my January count was 31 species. It's true that sometimes several lists have no effect upon my count for the year. But I get a better idea already of what I see in what locations.

I am also trying to focus on birding my two very local places--Glendover Park near my home, and the Watters Creek Trail I reach by walking from my home. Part of this motivation is to see how much I can see without a car. Part of it is to be a bit more "green", as I drive a lot of miles a year with my work. Part of it is a desire to know a lot about things nearby.

Today I dined on:
a. Kix cereal and skim milk
b. three soft beef tacos at Casa Taco
c. turkey pannini-grilled sliders and salad.

We watched "Victoria" on PBS and settled in for a quiet evening. I have a busy week ahead.

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