Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Well. We've been having temperatures around 100°F in the Bear's part of the world. No fires, so far. Thankfully.

But it is so hot that even the air conditioner cannot keep our "cave above the trees" cool. Sigh. Meaning we have trouble sleeping at night.

So this morning, J and I were both awake about 5:00 a.m. (I know some of you regularly get up at that time; my heart goes out to you.) And having nothing better to do at that hour of the day, we hopped in our Volvo and went bird watching for a couple of hours. It was a summer mini-vacation.

J had not seen or heard a Meadowlark this year, and very much wanted to find one. So off we went, along the road which took us to our old home, out at the lake. 

In the end we saw three (count them, three) Western Meadowlarks.
They sing very beautifully. We were both thrilled.

Other critters on the list today included:
Song Sparrow
Northern Flicker
Rudy Duck
Black Tern
Bonaparte's Gull
Black-billed Magpie
Red-tailed Hawk
Common Snipe
Old Squaw Duck, with babies
Canada Goose
(That's all I can remember; usually I write our list, but I didn't this time. If I had, there would be twice as many birds listed.)

We also saw some American Bison. A number of farmers have switched from raising beef cattle to raising bison. The meat is not as fat, and is quite tasty. Recommended for two-legged carnivores and omnivores.

After two hours, we came home. And went back to bed.

BTW, if you have not read my previous post about What Really Matters, place check it out.


Golden Eagle said...

I'm sorry to hear about the heat!

It sounds like it was a great birding trip--those are a lot of birds to identify.

Tattieweasle said...

That is what I would call magical! Though sorry to hear it is so hot I'll blow very hard in your direction and send some cooling rain - we could do with less of it at present!

DJan said...

I think the meadowlark song is the most beautiful I have heard from birds. That is a huge list, and I am mighty impressed. I was roasting at 81 degrees and just don't know what I will do when we get to 100... if we ever do... :-)

ReformingGeek said...

That heat is awful for you northerners. We are a little more accustomed to it down here and we still complain about it.

I'm glad you enjoyed the bird-watching outing! I love to see birds in their natural environments.

Stay cool!

Diana said...

See all of the wonderful things you miss when you don't get up at the butt crack? I'm telling you, that's the reason I get up so early. Of coarse I'm in bed by 8:30 but ya know, nothing interesting happens after that anyway!!
Seriously Bear, we had 8 days straight with temps above 100. It was horrible and all I wanted to do was sleep. I couldn't be outside, it makes me feel ill. We're getting a bit of a break now, 90's maybe 80's this week.
I am so glad that your early rising gave you some time to appreciate some of the glory that God made!!
Love Di ♥

susan said...

That's a very beautiful bird - I just wish I could hear its song (in the wild, that is).

I'm glad you were able to sleep once you got home.

Chatty Crone said...

I can't believe you both got up at 5am and wanted to take a drive and go bird watching. More power to you both. You are living you own words of wisdom. I am thrilled. sandie

betty said...

I think it was great to get out like that and explore when the weather perhaps was a bit cooler; what a great "batch" of birds you saw too!! I hope you were able to sleep when you returned home.


Rosaria Williams said...

This is insane weather for most people, and now you too are suffering the heat wave of the century.
Hope you get relief really soon.

kj said...

this is so cool that you hopped in your car in search of birds!!!

i have a very close relationship with birds except the birds don't know it. :^) but i will try forever

glad to hear of such a nice day, mr. bear. i wish i were up at 5 am more often....


The Broad said...

I would have loved to have shared that early morning drive with you, and would that I could send some of our cooler air your way...

Jeremy Bates said...

I hear you on the heat. I always turn the fan on to assist the air con when that happens here in Manila.

I am not much of a bird watcher, I'll admit, but I do like to get out and about and watch whatever critter passes in my line of view. The human ones are the most mysterious. lol

Just Two Chicks said...

We've been up to the same lately, as far as not sleeping. The heat has been way more forgiving so far this year, than it was last year, but our AC can't seem to keep up, making it warmer than what we're used to when sleeping.
I love the spontaneity of a bird watching trip... as it is right now, I'm up reading the news, and people's posts, while the wife is soundly sleeping with the aid of Nyquil.
I hope you guys eventually rest, but it sounds like you're making the best of it with some nice drives :)

Irene said...

That certainly is an impressive list of critters you saw and the best thing is that you could identify them all. That is quite a feat.

We don't have your problem with the heat. It is cool here with lots of rain. I find it pleasant enough. It's easy enough to stay warm and dry.

I hope your heatwave will be over soon and that you will get a good night's sleep.


Suburbia said...

Bear, that sounds a wonderful trip for an early morning :)

cheshire wife said...

I am jealous. The temperature here tomorrow is going to be 64F. And this is high summer! Oh to be in England.

Rob-bear said...

® The Golden Eagle: What can I say? When you're hot, you're hot! (Just not so hot, please). One way to beat the heat is to drive in the country, slowly, with the windows down, listening.

® Tattie Weasle: Thanks for the kindness, but blowing against the wind is like trying to push a river. Or change the universe.

® DJan: Well my wife had not heard a Meadowlark this year, and wanted to, because she loves hearing it. You understand.

® ReformingGeek: We are cool up where. We are also hot. The problem is that there are several understandings of both words. I leave it to you to figure out how we can be cool and hot at the same time.

Rob-bear said...

® Diana: It is true that the early bird gets the worms, but I don't particularly want worms for breakfast. But it is a good time for birding.
Hope things have cooled a bit down you way. Today it's 84F; with the humidex, that's 99F. Normal for this time of year is 77F. Things are a bit different from usual.

® Chatty Crone: Actually, we didn't get up at 5:00 to go birding; it was too hot to sleep at 5:00, so we went birding. (For the record, we need to keep these things straight.) And let the apartment cool off. Then came back to sleep.
We did have fun in the process, Sandie.

® That corgi: We had a wonderful time when we were out, and slept when we got home.

Rob-bear said...

® rosaria williams: We're getting all the Gulf of Mexico air up here. I don't pretend to know why. I think it has to do with the continental jet stream, El Nino, and Russian experiments with radio signals in the Arctic. Or so I'm told.

® kj: It was cool to be in the car, watching birds.
And if you love the birds they will know. Someone has a picture recently of an adult daughter who feeds Humming Birds. (I wish I could remember who!) This time, the Humming Birds didn't wait for the feeder to be put up; they just crowded around her arms and started eating. Imagine; a feeding frenzy of Humming Birds! Cool, or what?

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

That Medowlark is beautiful!

Anita said...

I suppose you've heard of our heat waves south of you. This week we've actually seen the cool high 80s. LOL
Tomorrow we're back to the 90s here in Virginia - so I hear.

So how long does it take one to learn so many species of birds? Are you a lifelong birdwatcher?

Nice that the two of you can enjoy birdwatching together, and then go back to bed! :)

Rob-bear said...

® Cynthia Chapman Willis: Thanks for stopping by. The bird is beautiful; the song is just as beautiful.

® Anita: Hot sumer all across the States; some from the sun, some from fires. Hope you get to cool down a bit, soon.
I was birding with my parents when I was in elementary school. So, close to 60 years. I learned the common birds first. Then just added new birds as we found them. I don't know how many I would recognize today, and how many I have forgotten. Sadly.
Watch the birds and go back to bed. Good start on a morning with not a lot that needed to be one.

Furtheron said...

Seeing the fires etc. in USA makes me think - we have floods and are complaining (I know awful for those directly affected) but we had had two years of little rain, nearly empty reservoirs etc. he gives on the one hand and takes with the other - or some such quote isn't it

That Janie Girl said...

Wow! I've got to come up there, camera and ThatManILove in tow. That's some major wildlife you've got growing up there!

And, by the way, due to your urging, I'm posting again! Come see!

Cathy Olliffe-Webster said...

What a perfect way to spend some early morning time. I love birdwatching - the common snipe is one of my favourites. Not as pretty as the meadowlark but cartoonish and charming in its own right!

Amanda Summer said...

that is a gorgeous bird - lucky you to have spotted it. driving through our city a while back i heard a mockingbird and stopped to listen to it for a long time. singing away by itself in a burned out part of town, creating beauty.

the list from your previous post is arrestingly good. i particularly like 'contradictions exist everywhere'. oh yeah, the glorious ambivalence that is life.

Helen said...

Can't imagine anything nicer than early morning, the sounds of birds singing ... experiencing it with one you love. AND then back to sleep (just like a bear, eh?)

Hilary said...

You certainly saw some wonderful birds during your outing. Keep on birding. I hope you find some relief from the heat soon.

Rob-bear said...

OOPS! I missed replying to a whole group of you "in the middle" of the comments. Fortunately, I can blame this problem on the fact that I am a Bear, and not always too bright. (Who said, "Far too convenient"?)

Truth is, I have recently been working on five (that's right, five) of my six blogs. I don't know what got into me, but, well, it happened. Note to self: must set up a system of cross-referencing posts on various blogs.

Rob-bear said...

® The Broad: You would have most certainly been welcome to ride along. And even cool thoughts might help at this point.

® Jeremy Bates: When you're hot, you're hot, and there isn't much you can do about it. Sadly. But thanks for the tip about the fan and the AC.
As for critters, the Humans often seem to be making life more difficult for the others. Sadly. Again.

® Just Two Chicks: Sorry about your lack of sleep. We're having the same problem with the AC's inability to keep up with the oppressive heat.
This morning, while J sleeps, I'm up blogging. We had rain overnight, and the humidity is beastly in the "wee small hours." Our hygrometer says the relative humidity is about 85%. So we rest when we can.

® Irene: Lots of birds out there, and there were a lot which we could not identify because they were fast and we were slow. There were quite a few grassland sparrows, and a few warblers, and at last one thrush.
The weather should be a bit more seasonable early next week. Then, after a couple of "normal" days we are back in the proverbial oven for a while.

Rob-bear said...

® Suburbia: Oh, yes, a wonderful trip.

® Cheshire Wife: Um, well, 64F is a bit chilly for "high summer." I always prefer cooler temps, because it is easier to warm up (put on a sweater or something) than cool down (there are only so many clothes one can remove and still be presentable). Hope we can work out an average temperature between western Canada and western England.

Rob-bear said...

® Furtheron: Weather is so unpredictable, and so influential on our lives. We certainly do a lot of complaining when it doesn't suit our preferences. Or causes major problems (like floods and fires).
Congratulations, again, on the release of your CD. Hope sales go well.

® That Janie Girl: Glad you're back to posting. And that you had a good time on your Greek vacation.
Any time you want to come up and visit, there are lots of critters to see. We often get deer right in the city; saw one a week or so ago. Occasionally, we get cougars or wolves (which are not so welcome). We had a cougar about a block from where our grandchildren live last summer. A touch disturbing, to put it mildly.

Rob-bear said...

® Cathy Olliffe-Webster: It is nice to get out and see the birds in the morning. And the Snipe is, indeed, something of a character. You, right; "cartoonish."

® Amanda: Glad you stopped for the Mockingbird. I have not see or heard one for a long time. One of our eastern bird species, I believe.
And the previous list was fun!

® Helen: Glad you "came along" with us. And as things cooled a bit while we were out, the sleep was good.
We are Bearing up in the hot weather. I've taken to sleeping on several blocks of ice; a trick I learned from our white (Polar Bear) cousins.

® HIllary: We do have lots of birds, and I like seeing them. But I've become much more of an afternoon person than a morning person. Sigh.

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

We are fortunate to be in an area that has a number of "home" birds as well as being in the flyway across the Gulf of Mexico. Seasonally, we see the annual migration as well as our daily regulars. We have a pair of Great Horned Owls in our woods and I love hearing the high-pitched screech of a soaring hawk.

I love reading the list of your birds as well as seeing the meadowlark image.

Helen said it so well in her comment...


Rob-bear said...

® Genie: You are so fortunate to be on a flyway!
We used to live on a flyway in Ontario when I was growing up. When I was back to visit my parents shortly before their deaths, my father mentioned that the urbanization of the southern part of the province had so upset the natural habitat that the flyways had been disrupted, and it was hard to find lots of birds during migration.
A warning to all of us.

Lydia said...

I haven't seen a Western Meadowlark for so long, and am envious of your early morning excursion.
It's too hot to sit at the computer but I'll check out your previous post before I head out of here.
(btw: I haven't eaten red meat since 1976, but not under any circumstances could I everever eat buffalo.)

Rob-bear said...

® Lydia: Sorry you haven't heard a Meadowlark. They are wonderful.
While it is hot here, I keep on blogging.
If you don't want the bison, do you mind if I have your share? I don't eat that much; two shares would last me about a year.

About Last Weekend said...

Glad to hear about the heat too, mind you a bit jealous as its been chilly in these Norcal parts (and in France too). A sighting of a bird in these suburban parts is getting so rare these days (people put it down to cats?) I would love to see so many beauties.