Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Raven! (and other less exciting things)

I saw a raven this morning! I had just left the cabin for work and decided to take the dirt road short cut out to the main road. Now that the ground has frozen again, this route past the paintball headquarters is faster. I just cleared the woods and had an open view of Roundtop’s north parking lot when I saw a large black bird on the opposite side of the parking lot sitting in a low tree. I just about had time to think, “Boy, that’s a big one” when the bird turned his head, and I saw that familiar giant bill.

I slowed the truck and started to inch my way across the lot, hoping the bird wouldn’t fly. I’ve seen ravens before at Roundtop, though rarely. I’ve heard them more often than I’ve seen them. I kept moving, wishing I’d had my fantasy digital camera, or any camera, with me, but I didn’t. I got within 25-30 feet of the bird. It was all puffed up, making it look even larger. The bird didn’t seem too upset at the sight of a truck slowly crossing in front of it. I chose not to get any closer than I did, hoping the bird will stay around for a while, at least long enough for me to put a camera in my hand and get a picture of it. It probably won’t, but I can hope.

January was a tough month for my yard birding since I work away from the cabin during the week and work down at the ski slopes on Sunday. Because it gets light so late and dark so early, I really only get to bird on Saturday, although I might see a few early-rising birds in the pre-dawn semi-darkness just before I leave for work. And in this past January, it rained buckets on at least 2 of those Saturdays, limiting my explorations even more. My Saturday birding is limited further by the unfortunate need to run errands and occasionally doing something that vaguely resembles housework, not to mention also walking the dogs, who demand enough attention that I can’t actually focus on watching birds when I’m out with them. Nor would I want to. That’s their time.

This limited birding time is why I always miss seeing some species that I know are around in January. And, worse than that are the species that *might* be around, if only I was around enough to see them. This would include yellow-bellied sapsuckers, common redpolls and pine siskins, which I’ve only seen here occasionally, though I expect the sightings wouldn’t be quite so occasional if only I could look for them more often.

In dog news: I’ve made an appointment for Baby Dog to get spayed near the end of the month. I can’t believe she’s old enough for this already. I also think she’s not going to get as large as I first thought. She hasn’t gotten much taller in the past few weeks. I used to call her a chowbrador, but lately I’m thinking she might be a chowder collie (or would that be a border chow?). She’s a solid as a rock, and her weight is in that solidness, but she doesn’t seem to be getting as tall as I thought she might.

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