Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Day Past Earth Day

This ole world just keeps on spinning.

Spent the morning leading a bird walk for Earth Day. A little different activity than my first Earth Day 40 years ago. Back in 1970, I was in junior high and our bus driver heard our pleas to "get active for Earth Day." She stopped the bus about a mile from school, opened the door and out we went. We walked the rest of the way to school and thought "what a contribution!"

Actually, it was kind of weird and I think the driver got reprimanded. Something about safety. Later on she said that was the quietest mile she had ever driven and was worth the rebuke. Back to yesterday. Spent the morning at the Deschutes Land Trust's Camp Polk Meadow Preserve. With a small group, we scoured the willows for kinglets and warblers, but only turned up kinglets. Then we crossed the meadow to Whychus Creek and scanned the pondos for woodpeckers, jays and nuthatches.

Although we didn't encounter many species (about 30), there were some great looks at kestrel pairs, stellar Steller's jays imitating northern flickers, flickers "wicka wicking," and western bluebirds looking fine in the breeding duds. A good time was had by all.

It seemed appropriate to spend some time at a preserve that is in the process of returning Whychus Creek back into its old meandering self, complete with steelhead spawning grounds and a wet meadow holding water. The area has come full cycle from since the first Native Americans harvested fish in the creek and probably plants in the meadow. Today, the creek's restoration project is to undo past manipulations and let the creek wander across the valley floor. Now that is a contribution to Earth Day.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Natural History Writer's Vacation...

...almost sounds like an oxymoron. We go snorkeling and look at corals and reef fish, pull out the field guides, and talk about moorish idols and humu humus. Then sit on the beach and watch breaching humpback whales arc across the water. Everyone else around us is getting a tan, reading a mystery or sipping cool ones and not even aware of the whales. Me, I'm jotting down notes and figuring out some markets.

Hiking in Haleakala Crater is for fun, but out comes the camera for some non-family vacation photos. "You working?" the family asks. I refocus and get them in the picture.

Yeah, the thin line between vacations and work is marginal at best. Story ideas sneak up like sunburn and become just as evident. Plus, as my writer friend asked, how are you going to write off the trip without some work out of it? How, indeed.