Sunday, February 26, 2006

Horsewomen 1, Boys 0

Today dawned bright and sunny after yesterday's rain, and a wonderful day for a walk. As I made my way into Onion Creek greenbelt, I heard someone firing a .22 rifle or maybe a pistol against the bluff on the other side of the creek. I could hear boys' voices, excited. Then, "pop! whinnng!" the whinnng being a bad phonetic rendering of the sound of a bullet coming more or less in my direction. They are not shooting at me, but are taking potshots at who the hell knows what. Damn. Good reason to walk another way.

Then nine shots as quick as the shooter could pull the trigger. This isn't about marksmanship. I think it's a pistol. I was far enough away I was not too worried about incoming, but I was walking parallel to the creek and away from their fun. Two horse women pass me (horses move pretty fast compared with bird watchers) and are gone, going down toward the creek.

Pop! Pop! Pop!

Hearing this, the horse women are enraged, put their horses into a gallop, sweep down toward the creek like the Indians in a John Wayne movie, hollering "Hey! Hey you! Stop that! Stop it right now! Cut it out! Whaddya think you're doing? You can't do THAT!"

No response, then I catch a glimpse of one of the kids scurrying over the top of the bluff just as I hear a woman shout like a fox hunter sighting the fox, "I see him, THERE he is!" as they gallop into the creek while the kid disappears into the brush on the other side. The women have the final say on the matter, "idiots!" they shout, into the returning silence.

After that it was a fine day for birdwatching, but the birds were not sure that the rain had stopped, and were staying quiet. Phoebes were out, and crows--and butterflies.

Here's an Eastern Phoebe

Another wintertime Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

After I get home, here's an orange crowned warbler on my birdfeeding wall

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