I didn't even know if I wanted to. I had a few other things to do, like figuring out the rest of my life. But the blue sky told me I had to. Ilya & telescope were waiting at the porch an hour later, way down south toward White Rock.
Folks, he's pretty slow. I'd see everything first: "Hey, Ilya, there's a patch of blue sky." "Um, don't see it, Carson, I'm looking--mine's got GOLDFINCHES in it." S-L-O-W. Try again: "Hey, Ilya, I've got a tree in my scope! Just empty branches! Look!" "Uh, gee, Carson, can't get it in my scope--all I see is a tree with a ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK in it."
Oh, COME ON. You'd think with a nice scope like that he could keep up with me! "Hey, Ilya, look at this sandy shore. Just sand, as far as the eye--" "I'm trying to find it, Carson. Mine has a couple of AVOCETS in it." Oh, YIKES. Talk about SLOW. "Hey, Ilya, nice back yard. This is where the jay used to be. Nice tree, huh? D'you see the nice empty tree?" "Phooey, Carson, I just can't find it. All I can see is a tree with a SCRUB JAY in it."
Well, I was nice to him, because he's just learning. But gee, you go out with someone like that and you sure come home with a low count for empty spaces.
Being older, I provided the transportation. My borrowed cool import car, hardly dented at all. Good over pot-holes, and we did manage to locate a good number of pot-holes for our March 1st count. Rumble, rumble. "Uh, Ilya, you don't have any baling wire on you, do you?"
"Not just at the moment. Searched all my pockets; sorry. Problems?"
"Well, not really. But the baling wire holding the muffler on just broke."
That's what families are for. Later I traded Ilya for a few strands of baling wire, and the borrowed import car performed flawlessly all the way home.
All the way home, carrying me and a slightly suntanned face. And these new numbers for the first of March:
Month (March): 56 species
Birds I know I saw today but didn't count, 'cause they were miles away: 2 (Dunlin and Black-bellied Plover)
Heard only: one (Flicker)
Thanks, Ilya. Lots & lots of fun.
Good birding, Folks!