Birders are not exactly fashion plates at the best of times: zip-leg pants, faded tshirts advertising festivals past, floppy hats and those vests with big pockets. Leave it to me to find a way to make birding look even dorkier!
Look fast, these are the only selfies I’m ever going to post:
Now, before you start laughing, (OK, before you fall off your chair, at least) there is a logic behind this. I’ve noticed that when using a scope for long periods, like trying to ID shorebirds, keeping one eye squinched shut got tiring after a while, and that eye took time to focus right again. So by having it covered, I can keep the eye open. It’s much more relaxing that way.
There are drawbacks, of course — on a day like today, the covered eye is melting in the heat, and it can be hard to focus right away in the bright afternoon light. I have to remove my glasses to put the patch on so when I want to switch to binocs there’s some fumbling around. And of course there’s the snicker factor.
But we’re birders! We wear our khaki with pride! Why not add that ever-so-stylish buccaneer touch to our outdoor wardrobe?
I refound the Little Blue Heron today, but it wasn’t being cooperative for photography. It wandered in and out of cattails and loosestrife, preening and fishing. When it sighted a fish, its whole body became nearly horizontal, and the head and neck swayed like a charmed serpent while the eyes and beak remained locked on target. A few moments of this dance, then pow! and swallow.
Here’s one of the many Great Blue Herons at Vischer Ferry today.
I think this feather is from a Great Egret. What you can’t see in the photo is the delicate motion of the afterfeather, the soft tendrils that tremble at a breath. No wonder they were de rigueur for decades in a lady’s trousseau.
ETA 9/19: I’m not dorky, I’m channeling David Bowie!