Friday, November 12, 2010

Day 43: Stalking

UMass Labs parking lot and Bussey Hill, Arnold Arboretum, Jamaica Plain, 6:50am-7:30am
chilly, slight breeze, clear skies

Jet lag hit me hard this morning, and I was only vaguely aware of the alarm. Next thing I know it's 6:45! I barely made it in time to a parking lot sunrise.

Afterwards I trudged over to the Arboretum, pausing every several meters to check out my surrounding soundscape. It's really hard to hear subtle sounds when you're moving -- even gentle footsteps and the most moderate breathing are relatively noisy. Add some leaves underfoot and even the best ears are outta luck.

Additionally, most birds take off when I get within a certain distance, a few yards. I decide to experiment with how close I can get before this happens, trying different approach methods (how do cats do it?): slow, continuous, gradual movement; then, periodic slow movement with long pauses in between for them to get used to my presence. I stop short of getting on all fours and actually crawling, though I'm sure being shorter would help. Ultimately my mammoth size gives me away.

I'm starting to be able to pick out the cardinal's chirp - super-high, and a little longer than other birds:

The bird of the day is new to me, about the size of a chickadee, though not as plump, very smooth bluish-grey feathers, white chest. The one I got a good look at had a small black mark in the middle of his chest:

Did you like the hawk at the end of the last clip? Here is some more of him:


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