10 random things I learned while birding with the dream team

1. A Rotary in New England has nothing to do with spinning props, it’s what normal people would call a circle or roundabout. The proper way to approach a Rotary in New England is at 80 mph, accelerating as you enter it.

2. You can’t assume that someone from a warm state will understand what ‘bitterly cold’ means. Next time take an extra ‘winter’ coat.

3. It’s worth being called a bank robber look-alike by your team mates when you first don your ski mask as they’ll be begging for one after only 10 minutes. In addition, you can keep mentioning how smart you were for bringing one alone, although that won’t win you any brownie points with the team.

4. Never assume that there are easy birds during a birding competition. Blue birds have been known to play hide and seek during birding competitions.

5. A bowl of New England clam chowder in New England is a meal unto itself – you don’t need two portions of calamari and other extremely filling starters on top of that.

6. Travel time should be multiplied by at least 3 when given by a local. If the local says ‘it’s about 5 minutes away, it’s more like 15-20. In the case of our local we only multiplied by 3, because apparently speed limits don’t apply while competing a bird competition (just kidding Christopher).

7. The house sparrow invasion in Essex county, MA is complete and human surrender is imminent.

8. Even while travelling at high speed on during bitterly cold arctic conditions; it is a good idea to open your window if another birder in front of you does so. This lesson applies mostly to the drive back and Patrick and Corey will understand it best.

9. Mentioning the fact that gas is cheaper in New Jersey and that we have people to pump it year round (especially during the cold winter months) makes the locals mad, they DON’T think it’s funny – now drop it.

10. If you see two gentlemen with massive lenses and tripods crouching low in the snow looking up at something in a small pitch pine, get out and briskly walk over there – it’s something cool. If you’re lucky like we were, it will a Long Eared Owl and you’ll get some killer photos while elbowing what turns out to be not-so gentle gentlemen.


Lynne said...

A car-load of guys and an open window- 'nuff said.

I want to hear the Long-eared Owl story.

N8 said...

I'm from a warm state and I wasn't that cold.

Layering works.

Christopher said...

OK I can't let this go without a few comments from the New England local:

RE#1: um... yes I agree, except that only experienced locals ought to approach that way. The best way for you visitors is to pull over, park your car, then hire a local to drive through it for you. (C'mon admit it, getting the van up on two wheels was fun!)
RE#2: quit whining, you baby
RE#3: it was quite the look - but you can't argue with the results.
RE#4: d@#& easy birds.
RE#5: we certainly made sure there was enough food this weekend.
RE#6: Hey, I did the speed limit a lot. (mostly when there was somebody in front of me was and I couldn't get past them)
RE#7: Resistance is futile
RE#8: Can't say I'm sorry I missed that
RE#9: Grrr :^)
RE#10 Luck had nothing to do with it. Our keen powers of observation led us on to that owl. ("Hey, I wonder what those guys are photographing?")


Owlman said...

Lynne, it was challenging at times having all the boyz in one car - trust me ;-) The LEO story is a classic. I'll post my thoughts an pictures soon.

N8, you looked VERY cold at times dude but you hung in there like a trooper.

Christopher, #2 was more about N8 than me. He looked like he was suffering, but apparently he wasn't. Thanks for the funny comments old man ;-)

N8 said...

The temp wasn't too bad. It's the wind that kills.

Patrick Belardo said...

Great list!

I was trying to think of something to add, but I'm not feeling clever.

Owlman said...

N8, so does crack - I've heard that anyway I've never actually tried the stuff. However, the wind came pretty close to killing me this last weekend especially at the invisible Gannet site.

Patrick, I know the feeling. Besides I attend fewer weekly meetings than you do. We all meetings destroy brain cells.

corey said...

I have no idea what #8 is referring to...

And "invisible gannet"? Just for that the next time you're in a car with me I'm locking the windows.

N8 said...

Yeah, I have to admit, that stop was effing brutal.

Owlman said...

Corey, did I say invisible? I meant super duper elusive - my bad! ;-)

N8, brutal is right on!