12 January 2010

Northern Wheatear

Surely with the subject of "Northern Wheatear" this post will disappoint some people. In fact, here's a photo of a Savannah Sparrow. It's a very cooperative critter, not 15' from us, foraging behind a horse.

And here's a photo of the wheatear-wishful gathering crowd:

Here are thumbs of other angles for the SAVS and crowd:

Honestly, I'd have liked to get a photo of the little dog that adopted the Amish family. It was a very friendly and alert pup with a bone that any dog would envy; it was about half his size!

Lest I fail to wax poetic about a little bird who made us wait for nearly 5 frigid hours during the course of 2 days, I should mention that it is a remarkable creature. One belonging to northern climes, Alaska in the summer if the observer is lucky. We, as observers, were quite fortunate. The crisp, perfectly crafted peanut brittle made the drive worthwhile. The quiet, gentle conversation with John certainly made the cold bearable. His earnest work and respect for the land did not go unnoticed. Subsistence farming living at its best, the tiny farmhouse shelters at least 8 to 10 people.

While we waited, there were ample Savannah Sparrows, Vesper Sparrows, Eastern and Western Meadowlarks, a Northern Harrier, Sandhill Cranes, Mourning Doves, a Loggerhead Shrike, etc. Really, though, it was wonderful to see that a local naturalist was brave enough to open his property to hordes of curious birders. The gratifying experience was not the momentary glimpse of pale, muted grays. It was John and his lifestyle, welcoming birds as part of the farm, asking of the land only enough to survive. And reaping a Northern Wheatear.

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