Friday, April 8, 2011

The Whatsit

This is an entre' act, an interlude. Sometimes birding gets goofy. I'm standing with two other birders when all the small birds vanish. Total silence. That's the signal that there's a hawk in the vicinity. One birder, "Oh, there it is, up in that tree." What tree? "The beech tree." Okay, forget bird. Where's the beech tree? "That big tree over there. Right behind it." Now I'm getting the giggles. Behind the big tree. Okay, let's not worry about what kind of tree this is. Where's the bird? "Up there." There's up and there's way up. There's also a squirrel way up doing wheelies. And since there are no leaves and drab light it's a matter of staring into the sky. Oh, way way up there, a shape, something bigger than a sparrow, but it seems smaller than any hawk I've seen. A something. No sooner have I seen the something then it zooms south. Seems small and faster than any hawk I've ever seen. Suddenly there's a face off, the something meets up with a very definite red tailed hawk. Both birds zoom towards Bow Bridge. Hmmm... so what was it? A short time passes and the other birder announces, "It's back." Back where? "Way up there." Oh, back to craning neck, tilting backwards.

Another birder comes along, looks up, doesn't blink an eye, "Oh, a sharpie". A sharpie? A sharp-shinned hawk? Others come along and gawk. "See how its tail has a scallop." I want to see its shins. It seems small. It doesn't look as reddish as a cooper's.

Impressions: It flew very fast. It seemed small. Its tail had a scallop. The top of its head seemed dark. The back was speckled.

Chipping sparrows are lovingly called Chippies. Hermit thrushes becomes Hermies. Sharp shinned hawks, Sharpies. I'm not sure what I saw, so I'll call it a Whatsit. Live and learn. If it was a Sharpie it will have been my first. Very interesting Whatsit. And I met nice people too.


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