Docsplainin' -- it's what I do

Docsplainin'--it's what I do.
After all, I'm a doc, aren't I?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Kite Runner

No, not that kind. The Swallow-tailed Kite!

Real unusual in our neighborhood, one showed up just north of my office over the weekend. So I left work in the middle of the day to run up the road and look at it. I rationalized that (1) it would be good for my mental health--certainly true--and (2) that anything that is good for my mental health is bound to be good for my clientele--possibly true.

This was unplanned. No scope, no map, didn't even have any extra camera gear (basics, you know, like a tripod?). But off I went. And sure enough, the Kite showed up a few minutes after I did. After soaring near the road for a few minutes and giving us several good views, it disappeared again.

I trudged up and down the road for a few yards in either direction, getting all hot and sweaty in the middle of my work day, no less, while the other birders jumped back in their truck and went on their merry way. Sensible people, that lot. I was just about to give up and go back to work when I saw the Kite pop up from behind some trees again.

I got so excited that I pulled over on the side of the road again and hopped out to try to get a photo. I was alternately looking at the bird through my binocs and trying to snap a shot off with my compact digital camera (never got one--this one was taken by another birder) when I felt something bite my ankle. I looked down and saw that I had been standing in a fire-ant hill for several minutes! So right after the LIFER! Dance, I did the Fire Ant Dance for the entertainment of passing traffic. My right foot had been smack in the middle of a mound the whole time: I was lucky only one of the little bastards had got onto me.

After that, the Kite left again and I did go back to work.

It's a beautiful, graceful bird. Its white is the purest white, its black pure jet. It soars, but then so do a lot of birds. What makes this one stand out to me is the way it swoops on bugs. When it snatches a meal off the top of a tree it does so with such grace and pin-point accuracy that it does not appear that the leaves even stir!

Great way to spend a lunch hour. I may even do it again tomorrow.

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