Saturday, April 5, 2008

rainy day and new binoculars

Originally uploaded by Captain_Peleg
The refuge beach is officially closed for the piping plover nesting season and I was scheduled to be south plover warden this morning. I woke up early in anticipation that the rain would actually stop. And a weird awakening it was -- never mind the rain -- I'd fallen asleep listening to The Voyage of the Beagle on my new iPod Touch. In one ear Charles Darwin was riding through Patagonia in the 19th century and simultaneously in the other ear (the one the ear bud fell out of) NPR was telling me all the bad news of the 21st century. It took me a couple of minutes to fully realize what I was hearing. By then, I was wide awake.

Being awake and all, I decided to drive up to Newburyport and have my coffee at Plum Island Coffee Roasters in the hopes that by that time the rain would have stopped. Coffee of the day is Capt. Red's blend. Still raining. Decide to go to the refuge anyway. There' s no one at the gatehouse and no Bob at the north end of the beach either -- he probably had the good sense to sleep in. Watch loads of pintails upending themselves at the salt pannes. Listen to red winged blackbirds. Drink coffee. Drive to south end of refuge.

A very cold mourning dove sits on the fence cooing. A few robins sing in the parking lot. It's wicked cold on the beach despite my many layers but it has stopped raining. I finish the coffee while sitting on a rock watching some oldsquaws, I mean longtailed ducks, bouncing on the waves. It starts raining again.

Frustrated with my binoculars, for like the zillionth time -- I just don't see the detail I should be seeing -- I decide it is time to buy new binoculars. Perfect day for it. I want binoculars that gather enough light to make it possible to id distant scoters on a rainy day.

At Birdwatcher's Supply and Gift I tell Steve my binoculars suck and I want to replace them. He points out that it's a perfect day to try out new binoculars. My thoughts exactly. I try three pairs, focusing across the Rt. 1 rotary on some pigeons and closeup under the bushes in front of the shop -- the darkest place I could find. I compare and contrast. I tell Steve I want the special Rick Heil binoculars that can see through fog. He knows what I mean. I finally settle on a relatively cheap Nikon pair.

OK, now that I've got the new binoculars I head back to the refuge to give them a workout. It stops raining briefly. I watch a whole mess of long tailed ducks and two common loons cavorting in the waves off of lot 1. I check out the redwinged blackbirds and the mourning doves and a lone song sparrow. I'm liking the new binoculars a lot.

Another day of stimulating the economy.

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