Howdy, gang! Miss me? Sorry my plan to go birding every day and then write a full synopsis about it hasn’t worked out, but all this snow we’ve been getting has kept me indoors where it’s warm, and also where there aren’t any birds, unfortunately. But today I just couldn’t take it anymore! I realized that my body wasn’t shaking because I was chilly, I was experiencing bird withdrawal!!! And we all know how to remedy that: find some birds! But where could they be? When considering where I wanted to go, I figured the best place would be one that has a bird in the name! So naturally the first thing that came to mind was my favorite restaurant, Red Robin! Then I thought: that’s down at the Waterfront, but isn’t there another bird-named and possibly more bird-friendly place near the Waterfront? AHA! Duck Hollow! So I packed up my binoculars and my dog and I headed right there!
I got there and jumped out of my car to scan the water before anything flew away. Yep, there were ducks there all right! Mission accomplished, Huck & I decided we should go on a hike on one of the trails in the area. Now’s the perfect opportunity to introduce you all to my dog, my best friend, my spirit animal: Huck (pictured below.) A lot of people mistakenly believe his name is short for Huckolas, as in Nickolas, but it’s actually short for Huckleberry, as in huckleberries, like Val Kilmer says in that one movie. He’s my favorite actor, and I was originally going to name the dog “Val,” but I was worried other people would think I was calling him “Fal,” and then they’d be like “What kind of name is ‘Fal’ for a dog?” So I figured I’d just name him Huck in tribute to Mr. (Dr.?) Kilmer, because nobody could misunderstand me then!
Some of you blog-viewers, especially those in foreign countries, are probably looking at that adorable picture and wondering how there could possibly be snow on the ground already when it’s not even winter yet. Well, technically it is winter… for birders! Normal people consider the first day of winter to be Christmas Eve, but we birders are different. We know that birds don’t actually use calendars and are in fact illiterate, and so a written date is completely useless to a bird! Therefore birders need to use signifiers that are more in tune with “Mother Nature,” as we call her, ergo we consider the first day of winter to be whatever day it first snows! So happy wintertime, birders! The winter wrens should be arriving any day now!
You’re probably yelling at your computer: “Hey Triple B, I didn’t come here to read about seasons and dogs, I wanna read about BIRDS!” Well, then I’m glad you read this far, because here goes the bird talk: After my hike, I realized that dang it, I hadn’t even identified any of those ducks I’d first seen! The Birder’s Code is to identify every bird you ever see, so I went back to the water’s edge to do my duty. Looking out into the middle of the river I spotted what at first appeared to be some black & white leaves floating downstream, which I thought was nothing special, but then my birding instincts kicked in, and I realized those “leaves” were actually ducks! Hooded merganser ducks! They were in a formation referred to as a “Birder’s Dozen,” because there were twelve of them. Further downstream I saw EVEN MORE ducks, making me realize they really hit the nail on the head with the name of this place. Speaking of heads, these other ducks had heads which looked rather buffly, so I’m fairly certain they were buffleheads. However, the highlight of the evening was finding a beautiful baby swan!!! I couldn’t believe my luck, even in just being able to spot such a white bird through all the white snow!
I figured I should probably leave before they had to plow me out of there, so I left.