Windy, Wet, and Worth It.

The temperature is hovering around 5C+ and there's a stiff breeze off the Ottawa River. My hands are numb, and my feet are wet, as I completely forgot to pack gloves and rubber boots for this annual field trip. Clearly wasn't thinking clearly! We've trampled around the public marina, and seen a few birds, but because Spring has been late this year, there aren't many about this morning. In fact, there's more people than birds! 
But, the people are happy. Everyone is smiling, chatting cheerfully, and there's a low thrum of anticipation. Because you just never know what might appear out of the blue, and take your breath away. We are the watchers and the waiters, and  after a long, cold Canadian winter, the wait is almost over!

The Pembroke and Area Field Naturalists  club hosts a number of guided field trips throughout the year, and each one is unique in that there is always something thrilling that sets the tone for the event, whether it be a record number of owls spotted at the Owl Prowl in March, or spotting a Kingfisher during a recent Christmas Bird Count, or, as was the case yesterday, coming upon two Sandhill Cranes engaged in their courtship dance!

(forgive the quality of these two shots, my 20x optical zoom wasn't quite enough to capture the magic! )

We stood and watched from the top of a small knoll, looking down at the two cranes, as they swooped and pirouetted  displaying their feathers to one another oblivious to their captive audience of 20 people! This is a memory that will last for many who were there to witness it. You can't buy an event like this, you can't create it at will, you just have to show up and be hopeful that your persistence will pay off. 

The wait is over. 

Spring has arrived, and every morning for the past week, I've watched a feathered flotilla drift by my kitchen window. It make me perpetually late for just about everything, but gives me renewed strength, calm and sense of purpose. This year, the parade has been awesome!

And the best part? It's not over yet...still waiting for warblers, and the thrill they bring to a simple walk in the woods. I don't  know of any other activity that can engage all of my senses so quickly and so completely than a simple scan of the yard, binoculars ready, camera too. 

My collection of bird books, bird apps, binoculars, and bird art continues to expand and so does my curiosity. And perhaps that's why I'm a birder. It feeds my soul.