First stop:  my friend's sister's gardens

First stop: my friend's sister's gardens

What an evening it was.  First, several weeks ago, we decided to visit a bear’s den up in swamp-country, with a friend who is a biologist.  Then, because of fierce brambles and a million wood ticks, we opted for the birding tour.  Later, we switched the date until Sunday night (which actually ended up being a good thing, as Saturday’s winds blew fierce and flakes of snow might have ruined the ambiance).

On Sunday night we planned to meet at the Hilltop at 7:30 p.m.  I parked right in front and waited for the ladies.  No sign.  They parked right over to the side and waited for me.  No sign.  Finally, about twenty minutes later we finally spotted one another.  After much laughter, we piled into one vehicle and headed for our bird tour.

One small detour.  We stopped at Nancy’s sister’s house and admired her beautiful home along the rushing river.  Her perennial gardens were beginning to bloom and the gardeners among us looked closely at every single flower while Pam and I trailed behind talking about how fun it is to dive into brambles and explore the woods.

Then we drove further up the road and began to listen to bird song and look for the black throated warbler.  And lots of other birds.

Sometimes you need binoculars to find little birds

Sometimes you need binoculars to find little birds

We learned quite a bit.  I never realized there are so many birds that you never even see.  Somehow you think that the birds around your bird feeder are representative of the birds in the woods.  Not true.  There are dozens and dozens of birds building nests, singing, and fluttering above the swamps and woods that we’ve never even spotted. 

The helpful bird book

The helpful bird book

Pam knows so many bird calls and songs.  We would try to be quiet (the birds quit singing when four ladies are talking animatedly as they walk down the side of the road attempting to find birds) and Pam would identify, “That’s a red-wing blackbird”, “That’s a yellow warbler”, “No, ladies, that is a chorus frog.”

Blood root plant and flower

Blood root plant and flower

It really was a lovely evening.  Part of me would like to begin learning the individual bird song notes and bringing the bird book back in the swamps and woods for better identification.  There is so much we don’t know!

The birders

The birders

The only bird which allowed itself to be photographed (redwing blackbird)

The only bird which allowed itself to be photographed (red-wing blackbird)

It truly was a delightful walk.  Truly.  What followed next was perhaps not-so-delightful.  We decided to get our original vehicles and travel the back roads home.  “It’s much closer,” said at least two of the birders.  “You should know how to get home this back way,” said another.

OK.  I looked a bit anxiously at the time, as I have a plane to catch tomorrow morning.  I have to write Monday’s blog at 6 a.m.  And Sunday’s blog wasn’t even posted yet.  OK.  Let’s try the back roads.

The sun was preparing to set.

Sunset on the back roads

Sunset on the back roads

We headed off toward home.  I was the only car in the group, following the three-vehicle caravan.

We drove.

We drove.

We drove.

Over rocks and rutted trails, skirting downed trees covering half the road.  It got dark.  We kept driving.  One of our party consulted her GPS regularly.  We drove.  It was 9 p.m.  9:30.  10 p.m.

At one point we discovered we had gone too far in one direction, and re-traced our tracks back to a previous intersection.  They were not worried about being lost.  And I suppose, given a different day, it might have been a fun adventure.  I just wanted to get back home and finish packing!  Really wanted to make that plane Monday morning…

Finally, finally, we recognized our road!  Almost home now. 

The blog was posted by 11 p.m. and I fell exhausted, but grateful, into bed dreaming of airplane flights.

Stay tuned for tomorrow night’s posting!  You won’t believe where outdoor adventures will take us during the next week.  (And don’t worry, I will get outside today before that plane takes off. Promise.)

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