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The Streak-backed Oriole


Thomas Slater
 

In life, and in birding, there are the Haves, and the Have-nots.

We've all seen them, the Have-nots are shuffling around the campground or on the trail, a little ruffled, a little twitchy and touchy. While the Haves are showing up on the second or third day for "better pictures". Silently, the Have-nots want to scream at the Haves for being so audacious enough to show up and whine about the lighting. 

You identify with what I'm writing because you've been there. And so have I. All too many times.
But not today baby! Today I got the damn bird!

It took Owen and me three trips, traveling from the Nipomo Bird Sanctuary all the way to MDO, where all the birds that should have been at Oso Flaco were hiding this year. 

We learned from our previous 2 mistakes and showed up this time at 6:15 am this morning to catch this skulky oriole. Actually, we didn't. We birded the back loops for 2 hours and gave up. A cold front was coming in, everyone said. It must have moved on. We were just about to walk through the locked gate by the Ranch House when I said... "Hey Owen, the sun is coming out from behind the fog, let's go back and give it one more quick look." So we did. And you know what!? Nothing! We didn't see jack. 

Just then the eldest Hampl brother came huffing up (to his credit!!!) and hollered in a winded voice, "I found it!" pant pant "In the front loop" pant pant. Then the marathon of teenagers, middle-agers, and geriatrics all hustled over to stare at a coffee bush. The coffee bush. I can't really keep straight what happened next but it was a parade of jogging, shuffling, and sprinting all over the first loop of the campground. This Houdini would go into a bush and magically appear up the hillside, or in another bush, leaving almost everyone facing the wrong direction. It was dizzying. 

But oh so sweet. The last look I got, I went with the bins instead of the camera (a near-impossible bird to photograph) and followed this beautiful bird all the way across the campground soaking in it's dazzling colors. Owen and I high-fived, the Hampl bros and I bumped elbows, I congratulated Bill and Brad, and then I booked it to Starbucks with 3 minutes to spare so I could teach my online class.

So to you Have-nots... I'm sorry. It sucks to be you.
Ha ha, no I mean it. We're all Have-nots with some birds that are still off our lists. 
And I feel for you. But don't give up. You may still get it yet. But you might not.
You see birding isn't about Having. It's about the search, the beauty, the birds. Sometimes you see them and sometimes, we miss them. It makes us empathetic. It makes us grateful. And it keeps us out on the trail.

Bird on,
(photoless but grateful)

Tom Slater
Nipomo Birdless Sanctuary


Thomas Slater
 

Ps- after getting home from the oriole I had to climb right back into the car and drive back to MDO for the Little Gull. The cherry on the cake was my son went after work at 5pm and got it by himself. Proud papa. 

Bird on,




On Friday, November 6, 2020, 11:57 AM, Penny Rand <penrand@...> wrote:

Love this! And congratulations!

On Nov 6, 2020, at 11:15 AM, Thomas Slater via groups.io <tomslaterphotography@...> wrote:

In life, and in birding, there are the Haves, and the Have-nots.

We've all seen them, the Have-nots are shuffling around the campground or on the trail, a little ruffled, a little twitchy and touchy. While the Haves are showing up on the second or third day for "better pictures". Silently, the Have-nots want to scream at the Haves for being so audacious enough to show up and whine about the lighting. 

You identify with what I'm writing because you've been there. And so have I. All too many times.
But not today baby! Today I got the damn bird!

It took Owen and me three trips, traveling from the Nipomo Bird Sanctuary all the way to MDO, where all the birds that should have been at Oso Flaco were hiding this year. 

We learned from our previous 2 mistakes and showed up this time at 6:15 am this morning to catch this skulky oriole. Actually, we didn't. We birded the back loops for 2 hours and gave up. A cold front was coming in, everyone said. It must have moved on. We were just about to walk through the locked gate by the Ranch House when I said... "Hey Owen, the sun is coming out from behind the fog, let's go back and give it one more quick look." So we did. And you know what!? Nothing! We didn't see jack. 

Just then the eldest Hampl brother came huffing up (to his credit!!!) and hollered in a winded voice, "I found it!" pant pant "In the front loop" pant pant. Then the marathon of teenagers, middle-agers, and geriatrics all hustled over to stare at a coffee bush. The coffee bush. I can't really keep straight what happened next but it was a parade of jogging, shuffling, and sprinting all over the first loop of the campground. This Houdini would go into a bush and magically appear up the hillside, or in another bush, leaving almost everyone facing the wrong direction. It was dizzying. 

But oh so sweet. The last look I got, I went with the bins instead of the camera (a near-impossible bird to photograph) and followed this beautiful bird all the way across the campground soaking in it's dazzling colors. Owen and I high-fived, the Hampl bros and I bumped elbows, I congratulated Bill and Brad, and then I booked it to Starbucks with 3 minutes to spare so I could teach my online class.

So to you Have-nots... I'm sorry. It sucks to be you.
Ha ha, no I mean it. We're all Have-nots with some birds that are still off our lists. 
And I feel for you. But don't give up. You may still get it yet. But you might not.
You see birding isn't about Having. It's about the search, the beauty, the birds. Sometimes you see them and sometimes, we miss them. It makes us empathetic. It makes us grateful. And it keeps us out on the trail.

Bird on,
(photoless but grateful)

Tom Slater
Nipomo Birdless Sanctuary

Penny Rand