Well, you heard it here first: I may not be cut out for this blogging stuff. If there were a book called the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers, one of those habits would probably be “Don’t just drop off the face of the earth for three months, ass hat.” My timing couldn’t have been much worse: Springtime in the U.S.A. brings a flood of colorful birds, and with it a surge of excitement among birders new and old. Everyone’s checking the internet for the latest updates on bird movements, and more importantly the latest lampoons of birder behavior. Not only that, but while I was AWOL I actually got a shout-out on one of my favorite blogs, Bourbon, Bastards, and Birds. “Check it out if you haven't already, I think it will be going places.” My excitement, when I finally logged on and read that, was extreme, but short-lived – for I realized a moment later that I had proved its author wrong. (Unless of course the “place” he imagined BFH going was oblivion.) Sigh.
Still, there’s no use crying over spilt milk. And maybe there’s something to be gained from all this. Liberated from the pressures of bird-blog superstardom, from the impossibly high expectations that followed my meteoric rise, I can now reflect calmly on what’s important, both in blogging and in life, knowing that my true fans will still be reading. (Hi, Mom.)
Onward! What news, then?
1. I went to High Island, Texas in late April. It was probably among the top five most groin-grabbingly spectacular birding experiences I’ve ever had. I might post about it in more detail at some point, but if you want to get a sense of it in the meantime, you can do so very quickly, because…
2. I’m on Twitter! I know, I know. You’re thinking, “Who does this guy think he is, Kanye West? Ellen DeGeneres? Who cares?” Or, if you’re like most birders, you’re thinking, “What’s this Twitter? How do I dial into it? Did I take my heart pills this morning?” Either way, I suggest you check out my feed, with the help of a patient grandchild if necessary, and scroll back to April 28 – the day on which, I believe, I truly began to forge my legacy as a pioneer of the birding internet. Make sure to read from the bottom up for maximum effect.
3. After High Island, I traveled a lot (one of the reasons for my silence) but did not bird much. Sad. But something happened while I was away to light a fire under me. While I was in New York last week, a Red-necked Stint was found back home in L.A. County. WTF! This is basically a bird of Eastern Eurasia and Alaska that is “supposed” to migrate along the western Pacific Ocean, but rarely pops up in the western states. Well, this one had popped up like a half-hour from my home, but it did so on Tuesday, and I wouldn’t be back until late Friday night. So I waited, as patiently as I could, a renewed bird-chasing passion smoldering within me.
Well, here it is Saturday evening, and I hope you know I wouldn’t be sitting here typing if I hadn’t already made a run at the stint. Sure enough, when I pulled up this morning to the scenic (not) bank of the L.A. River in Long Beach, several spotting scopes were already trained on the little darling. It preened and foraged, showing off its trademark orange-red throat to an appreciative crowd. I’d come bearing only binoculars, but a nice couple let me look through their scope, which gave me a gorgeous, BBC-documentary-caliber look at the bird in all its crazy foreign glory. Just like that, a great life bird.
I sighed, stepped back, and looked around. The sky was gray, and the river, down in its concrete trough, was dotted with all sorts of garbage. I was in Long Beach.
Well, you can’t have everything. I guess you better focus on what matters.
See you soon.