Dear Mother Nature,
I took a long drive to Port Rowan, Ontario near Lake Erie this morning with a new pair of binoculars. My destination was the Long Point Bird Observatory.
I arrived around midday at the visitor’s facility. I found a route branching off towards the South. In front, there were multiple signs planted in the ground, warning adventurers of poison ivy and a possibility of ticks carrying Lyme disease on the trail. Nice. I applied a profuse spray of insect repellent on my body and carried on.
It astounded me how many birds I heard in the surroundings as I traversed the tall bushes and forestry surrounding my path – far more than you might find at a city park or trail. But as I discovered soon, finding and identifying them was a another challenge.
Early on, I arrived at an observing platform.. Dragonflies buzzed around at the pond nearby. After a couple minutes of viewing, a small bird landed on a metal pole no more than ten feet out from me. I was so breathtaken that I forgot to record it with my photograph, and I therefore cannot pinpoint its species. My best guess is that it was some sort of hummingbird.
With the help of an app on my mobile phone, I distinguished a couple creatures I observed today. Among those were the Red-Winged Blackbird, the Common Grackle, and the American Robin – all very common species. I think I’ll get better at finding more elusive varieties as I learn more about birds.
My clearest view and most enthralling view came at the end of the day, on a sandy path nearby the Long Point beach. There, I found a group of white-bellied birds which I identified as tree swallows: beautiful, acrobatic fliers with shiny blue backs. A couple brown-feathered females also rested on the branches of their tree. I walked up to around twenty feet away from their spot and got a great view of the half-dozen swallows perched there. Captivating.
The location where I found the tree swallows.
Was my journey a success? To even a novice birder, no. I struggled to put a name on even some common species in the area. But as I dive deeper into your rabbit hole, Mother Nature, I’m becoming more and more mesmerized.
Humans all have moments of intense enthrallment. The first time a child sees snow. The first time a mother holds her baby. More than ever in my recent years, I feel that I’m experiencing more and more of these moments in your presence, nature.
I’ll be back at Long Point soon.