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Dear Grapefruit: February 7, 2013

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

I have to quit you.

Baby, I don’t want to. There are two of you down in my fridge right now, all round and red and juicy. There’s a half gallon jug I haven’t even opened.

I want you so bad.

But the doctor’s put me on this drug, and the one thing it denies me is you. You are too powerful. You jack up the dose.

No more quick swigs. No more of that fabulous rye/grapefruit cocktail Tim’s been mixin’. And damned if I didn’t just buy a $14 bottle of grapefruit bitters.

Oh sweet and bitter grapefruit, doctor says maybe I just need to take this stuff in the winter months. I cling to hope and console myself with the dream of a hot, succulent summer reunion.

It’s not you. It’s not even me, I swear it.

I am gonna ache for you as much as ever.


2BY4: January List February 6, 2013

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

I am not listing Tim’s birds. Or Dan’l’s. Or Amy’s (she is apparently joining us). I am only listing my birds for the month of January.

Thanks to the trip to Lake Champlain, 2013’s January total (37) exceeds 2012’s (23), although there are some birds I saw last January that I haven’t seen yet.

And so, here it is, my indulgent friends (who should at least like the names of birds): tufted titmouse, American goldfinch, dark-eyed junco, mourning dove, common redpoll, black-capped chickadee, downy woodpecker, white-breasted nuthatch, American tree sparrow, northern cardinal, red-tailed hawk, American crow, blue jay, European starling, rock dove, American kestrel, snow bunting, rough-legged hawk, common raven, mallard, American black duck, common merganser, common goldeneye, ring-billed gull, bald eagle, American robin, eastern meadowlark, horned lark, wild turkey, Carolina wren, hairy woodpecker, barred owl, black-backed gull, Canada goose, red-bellied woodpecker, mute swan, and pileated woodpecker.

February? Nothin’ new so far.

2BY3: Honorable Mention February 5, 2013

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

On the fifth of January, Tim and I doubled our 2013 bird count (from 15 to 30) by driving north to Lake Champlain, where we could add some water species. There had been reports of a rare bird: a common pochard (a duck not native to this country).

We drove around a bit, ran into other birders, got some tips, and eventually ended up at a bridge, where we ran into a man who was clearly a professional. We had a spotting scope with us, but he had a scope. Some sort of superscope with a box built around it. Not only did he have this superscope, but he had seen the pochard and had it in sight.

It was a cold, cold day. A hopping-around-to-keep-warm kind of day. An optics-keep-fogging-up kind of day.

Tim is claiming the pochard. As he stared through the superscope, he caught a glimpse of it bobbing in the waves two miles away. Of course, he couldn’t have made this ID with any authority without the professional standing right there—a man who, I found out later, was coauthor of a book on birding in the state.

I may have seen a red head bob up once. I am not claiming this bird.

No, the pochard is not my honorable mention. That goes to the eastern meadowlark we saw that day—a bird we had tried and failed to see in all of 2012, a bird we would never expect to see in January, a bird that shouldn’t have even been there. But there it was, hanging out with a flock of robins, eating salt by the side of the road. We watched for a long time from the warmth of our car.

How could I not love a meadowlark in winter?

2BY2: The Favorite Thus Far February 4, 2013

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

Back on the tenth of January, on the tail end of dusk, I was driving to yoga class, already worried about being late. As I rounded the bend by the old school house, which sits next to an open field, I saw the silhouette of a bird on the telephone wire. A big bird.

I pulled over. I got out my binoculars. It was dark, and judging by its shape, I was 99%+ sure it was a barred owl. But to be certain, I got out of the car, walked almost directly beneath it, and looked closer.

Definitely not a great-horned.

I hear owls often. To get to see one is much more rare. I was thrilled.

The barred owl didn’t seem at all threatened by my standing so close—I imagine I was just an annoying distraction. S/he didn’t budge. When I began thinking about how s/he could take me out with those talons, and how I was late for class, I got back in my car and sped off.

Ten days later, after a particular stimulating salon at Lali’s, I was rounding that same bend, talking with Lynda, when suddenly I slammed on the brakes and exclaimed “He’s there again!”—thus scaring the bejeezus out of Lynda. (With no context, how could she know I wasn’t braking to miss someone running into the road, or perhaps seeing/hearing some imaginary guy in my head? When I pointed to the owl directly above us, though, she was pretty psyched.)

Tim hadn’t gotten a barred yet, so I rushed home, dropped Lynda off, and forced Tim into the car. It was the nose end of dusk, and we got great looks at this magnificent bird, who eventually decided this is bullshit and flew off.

On Friday, my friend Kate, whose (4-year-old?) son is trying to do a big year, texted me to ask where I’d seen that owl, because they were taking their kids on a picnic dinner drive, scouting for birds. I told her, and an hour later, she texted me this photo:


This owl was perched maybe a half-mile from my spot. I like to think it’s the same one—or its mate.