Tuesday Great Day Birding


I just got home a couple of hours ago and have been going through over 300 images that I took today.  Of course, about 280 of them will be trashed, but I did get a few good ones.  In all, the three of us, Ann, Carl Williams, my neightbor, and I saw/or photographed 43 species of birds.  We never left the San Angelo city limits. 

One of the highlights was to see a Western Grebe in the Middle Concho River.  It is an unusual bird to be seen around here.  It usually abides further west.  Then when we were driving throught Spring Creek Park, Ann pointed up into a tree where a Great Horned Owl was sitting on a branch.  It was back-lit by the sun, but somehow I was able to come up with a barely acceptable print.  Below is a complete list that we reported to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

  1. White-crowned Sparrow   12
  2. Brown-headed Cowbird   4
  3. Bullock’s Oriole   4
  4. House Sparrow   10
  5. House Finch   14
  6. Northern Mockingbird   22
  7. Red-winged Blackbird   12
  8. White-winged Dove   29
  9. Pyrrhuloxia   1
  10. Orange-crowned Warbler   1
  11. Northern Cardinal   3
  12. Golden-fronted Woodpecker   5
  13. Mourning Dove   4
  14. Scissor-tailed Flycatcher   24
  15. Lark Sparrow   10
  16. Barn Swallow   8
  17. Chipping Sparrow   4
  18. Bewick’s Wren   1
  19. Black-throated Sparrow   1
  20. Turkey Vulture   12
  21. Great-tailed Grackle   36
  22. Common Grackle   12
  23. Vesper Sparrow   6
  24. Black-necked Stilt   4
  25. Northern Shoveler   12
  26. Ash-throated Flycatcher   4
  27. Red-tailed Hawk   1
  28. Pied-billed Grebe   3
  29. Inco Dove   2
  30. Curve-billed Thrasher   2
  31. Double-crested Cormorant   10
  32. Neotropic Cormorant   3
  33. Black-crested Titmouse   2
  34. European Starling   3
  35. American Coot   3
  36. Western Grebe   1
  37. Great Blue Heron   3
  38. Savannah Sparrow   2
  39. Yellow-rumped Warbler   1
  40. Black-crowned Night Heron   1
  41. Osprey   1
  42. Eastern Bluebird   1
  43. Great Horned Owl   1

I hope you enjoyed this post.  I will have more photos later in the week.  I was somewhat rushed to get this done to publish it today.  Don’t forget to vote in my weekly Bird ID quiz at this link:   https://bobzeller.wordpress.com/2012/04/14/birding-quiz-of-the-week/ or at the “Birding Quiz of the Week”  post on right side of this page.  Results will be published Friday.  Then on Saturday I will have a brand new quiz for you.  I have already written it, and can’t wait for you to see it.

A time to be thankful


Then

A friend of mine asked me a couple of days ago, “Do you have your Christmas shopping done yet?”  I replied, “I sure do, and tomorrow I am going to shop for my wife.”  A little humor there, but in reality I am thankful for my wife, Ann.  She has put up with a lot of stuff from me in our 52 years of marriage.

It all started those 52 years ago, of course.   I am going to relate this story because I was inspired by this story http://threestatesplusone.blogspot.com/2010/11/some-things-to-be-grateful-for.html.  It was written by my friend, Toby, up there in Maine.  His story is about how he met his then wife-t0-be on line.  A great read.  Just click on that link, then come back and catch the rest of my story.

My story is similar except it was done the old-fashioned way, i.e. thru the United States Postal Service.  Now how can that be, you may ask.  Well, it all started 52 years ago, as I said before.

I was 23, and in the Air Force stationed at Ardmore AFB, Oklahoma.  I was dating a few local girls off and on, plus writing to a few girls.  Ann, age 19, had moved to Muskegon, Michigan,  from Beulah, Michigan.  Beulah is 150 miles north of Muskegon, and famous for the annual Smelt run in the creek that runs through town.  You can dip the Smelt out of the creek by the bucket full, literally.  I know, because I”ve done it.

Anyway, the reason for her moving to my hometown of Muskegon, was to go to business school there.  With a stroke of luck, for me, anyway, was that she rented a room on the second floor of my grandma’s house.  Now, my 80 year old grandma wished to be a match-maker, so she wrote me that I should write to this cute girl that was living upstairs.   She may also have said that she had great legs, but I don’t remember that for sure.  🙂

I dropped her a line.  It must have been a great line because she answered me immediately.  Curious, I guess.  That was on March 21, 1958.  I answered her, she answered me, I answered her, etc., etc.  I think that within a month or less, we were writing everyday.  I had dropped dating the local girls and destroyed my mailing list.  Well, we really got to know each other through these daily letters.  About two months later,and I don’t remember this important date, but I wrote and asked her to marry me.  Five days later I got the answer.  “Bob, I don’t know how to tell you this”…………(Uh Oh, what’s this)……..”but I’d be honored to be your wife”.

Oh, my God, what do I do now??  🙂

I thought I had better call her so we could talk and set a date.  This was going to be really something, because I had never talked to her in person, nor of course, had I ever seen her.  She had previously sent me two pictures, (Yes, she did have great legs).  I sent her a bunch of me, ‘cuz I wanted for her to see what she was getting into.

Problem.  My grandma didn’t have a phone.  Ann didn’t have a car.  I called my Dad, asked him to go pick up Ann, bring him home, and I would call back later.  Talk about awkward.  My folks had one phone and it sat on a litle stand right next to my Dad’s favorite armchair. 

Now, before I called, I went over the calendar so I could check out when I would be getting paid, etc., so I could afford to come home to get married.  I had decided that August 18, 1958 would be a good date.  I would get paid on Friday morning, then I could take a Greyhoud bus and meet her at the bus station on Saturday.

So I made the call.  She thought that the plan was great.  That way, people wouldn’t think we were rushing into it.  Yeah, right…..  She said that she would line up the church, the preacher, etc., and every thing that goes with a wedding.

So during tht two and a half months interim, we just wrote more letters.  At one point I though I would try to fly home one weekend.  It would be a tight schedule, and I would probably be able to just meet for an hour or two before I would try to fly back.  My plan was to hitch-hike to Tinker AFB, in Oklahoma City and get a free hop on a cargo plane to maybe Detroit, then get a bus to Muskegon, then turn around and do it all in reverse.

I called my Dad to tell him to go tell her that I was coming.  I hitch-hiked to Oklahoma City.  But alas, a huge thundrstorm came in, grounding all flights.  I couldn’t fly out.  So I called Dad and told him the news, and he had to go tell Ann.  She was understandably devastated.  I was pretty disappointed my self.

We never did talk again on the phone.  So on Saturday August 16, at 2:00 PM I met my lovely wife-to-be for the first time.  It was like we had known each other for years.  There never was any doubts about what we were doing.  The wedding rehearsal was at 4:00 PM.  We were married on Monday night August 18.  My Dad led Ann down the aisle.

There is more.  I didn’t have enough money for a bus ticket back for her.  I had expected to get a bit cash for wedding presents.  But not.  I had an old alto saxophone that I had left with my parents, so I took it to a local music store and managed to get enough money for her ticket.  We packed all of her belongings into seven suitcases and put them on the bus and shipped them as luggage.

Before I had left Ardmore OK, I had put a deposit on a little garage apartment, and bought a week’s supplies of groceries.  The day after we got back, Ann got a Civil Service job at the air base.  A day after that, our landlord’s son said he would sell his 1953 cream-puff Buick Roadmaster, and he financed it for us. 

So you can say that the the Lord was definitely looking after us.  And he has been looking over us ever since.  Sometimes I say to myself, why me?  I am not anything special, I never did anything special, but I am blessed with a great wife, great friends, great health for my age, a good  sense of humor, and enough money to pay the bills.

Now

So I am continually thankful.