Thursday, August 11, 2016

Birds & Books, or how I'm spending my recovery

I'm now a couple weeks past some extensive oral surgery and still in the recovery phase.  I'm feeling good enough to do some birding but mostly I'm reading a lot.  Hence, birds & books.

Tina and I chased the Snowy Egret seen in Pierce county recently.  This was a first seen in Pierce county and a fairly rare bird for western Washington state.  We anticipated a long wait for it to show and possibly some wading through mudflats to get to a nice viewing position.  Boy, were we wrong!  We drove to the location, got out of the car, walked over to the fence and looked down on the marshy area and the Snowy flew by.  Excitement ensued.  We were trying to find where he'd landed when he flew back by again and perched on a snag in clear view.  It's a wonderful feeling to chase a bird and get it within the first 10 minutes.

We ended up walking to the end of the fence to get a better view which is where I got this photo.  It's not a great photo but does clearly show the black beak and yellow feet which distinguish the Snowy from a Great Egret.

Having gotten the chase bird, we then relaxed and enjoyed checking out the marsh for other birds.  Tina, also known as Ursula Vernon's crazy-birder-friend-Tina, is a masterbirder and gave me a brief lesson in distinguishing Vaux's Swifts from swallows.  Both were present in good numbers so that was fun, learning something that I'd forgotten over the last 4 years of barely birding.

Unfortunately, I'm still at a stage where after an outing, I'm completely wiped out for a day or two.  Which brings us to books.  Worldcon is coming up so I'm reading science fiction mostly and one of the authors I discovered from a reference meander while doing the Hugo voting reading is Kristine Katheryn Rusch.  I ended up reading the entire Retrieval Artist series and enjoyed it during my surgery week and the immediate recovery period.  It's more in the entertaining SF mode but does have some interesting ideas about legal systems if there really were multiple alien cultures out there.  How would we resolve our differences?  What about the cultural things where something humans considered trivial was a death penalty issue for them?  The series is set in a far distant future where corporations have only grown in power and deals with the background I've mention and how that impacts the individuals enforcing the laws.  Fun stuff.

No comments: