I’m getting back in shape, after drinking my way through the last semester of my MBA and eating my way through Brazil. Running and biking are my methods of choice. The worst part of getting back in shape is that those first few times out … either on the bike or putting feet on the pavement… hurt. Seriously. Sore back, sore legs, breathing cramps, muscle cramps, even my hangnails hurt more while running. It gets easier; it always does. But in the beginning, it’s so damn painful.
One nice distraction from the pain I’ve been enjoying this week is birdwatching. This past year I read To See Every Bird in the World, which was a fascinating tale of extreme birdwatching. (Next thing you know, A&E will do a reality show on these folks, know as listers.) Anyway, it just fueled my love for birds and gave me some better techniques for identifying them in the wild.
This week, I’ve been lucky to see sandhill cranes and two crane juveniles:
A Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker Woodpecker:
I had a red-wing blackbird dive-bomb my head, and hover about a foot above it, the entire way across a bridge behind Olbrich Park. Persistent little birds.
Yesterday, in Tenney Park, I saw a remarkable bird perched on a branch above the water. It was large with long black legs, the plumage coloring similar to a loon, and what I think was a white ring of feathers around its neck. I saw it, stopped, and it flew away before I could make it out. Any guesses?
Its a reason to go back out there, run and bike through the pain. And for every remarkable bird that I see – that gives me an excuse to stop, look, and catch my breath, I am always grateful.