Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Woodcock Returns!

Tonight's featured performer appearing in the Stardust Lounge for your listening pleasure!

After a 12-day hiatus, the male American woodcock who performs nightly in our upper meadow has resumed his show. I am certain he's back by popular demand (the ladies dig him--we hear them purring when they fly past him as he peents).

Phoebe and I were heading out to toss the softball just at dusk when we heard our meadow man start his nasal, spring sonata. I immediately realized that I might get a shot of him with the digiscoping rig, and so, ignoring Phoebe's whining exasperation, I tip-toed into the meadow where I scanned for our guy. It took us a while to find him in the ankle-high green meadow grass, but soon we did, and I got him in the scope. Like any good, conscientious Dad, I stiff-armed Phoebe out of the way until I could get a snap off a few frames with the digital camera.

When Phoebe was little and we'd take her out to look and listen for the woodcock, she'd always ask us to hold her off the ground. Finally one night Julie asked her why she needed to be held.
"Because I'm afraid the woodchuck that's making that noise will run up my leg and bite my face." To this day we're still not sure how Phoebe came to be such a strange, sweet little bird. We told her that the woodcock (a bird, not the furry mammal) would only do this if she had earthworms on her face (the woodcock's favorite food). And as long as she washed her face everyday, she'd probably stay earthworm free.

As we walked out into the meadow tonight, still scanning for the woodcock (not woodchuck), I noticed that Phoebe was looking in precisely the right direction for the calling male, but she was looking up into the trees, not down on the ground where our guy was bound to be. She's still confused about this mysterious nocturnal bird. At least I did not have to hold her off the ground, but then, she's really good about washing her face.
Phoebe finally gets a look at one of nature's great mystery creatures.


At 8:58 AM, Blogger Rondeau Ric said...

Hey you missed his shadow and actually got the bird. What happened?


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