Friday, September 24, 2010

September 24: Anticipation

Last night at about 3 a.m., the full moon shone into my window bright enough to make it look like dawn was breaking. I woke up and, as often happens, could not fall back asleep. My periodic insomnia is always worse when I'm on a birding vacation. I start thinking about what I might see the next morning, hoping the wind shifted to carry in a fresh fall-out of warblers by dawn. I think about the birds I missed. I start to anticipate the morning--the early light on the harbor, mist rising off the meadow, flocks of small birds in the spruces... And I make myself more and more awake with the growing belief that today I will find a really cool bird or two.

About an hour later I got up and realized it was raining. When I came back to bed, I fell asleep with a weird feeling of relief, knowing that I wouldn't have to jump out of bed in an hour so as not to miss anything. When I did wake up, half an hour before the breakfast bell, I hit the trails, and almost immediately found a new species for this trip, a black-and-white warbler. Not an uncommon species usually, but elusive these past three days.

After breakfast, one of the first birds I found was a red-headed woodpecker--the first reported out here this season and the first I've seen in several years. In other words, a cool bird. And later today I was shown three black skimmers on Nigh Duck, the little island just outside Monhegan harbor--a first for me in Maine, let alone on Monhegan. I guess sometimes those middle-of-the-night feelings of anticipation are right on.

Awake with the moon
I anticipate the day
ahead--gifts of birds!

No comments:

Post a Comment