Saturday, December 06, 2008

Nice Friggin' Bird!

I took this photograph of a magnificent frigatebird in Panama in October, but it reminded me of a conversation I had with a fisherman years earlier, while looking at another frigatebird.

This was on the Sanibel Island causeway in Florida. It was frozen icy winter in Ohio, where I'd just come from. I was less than an hour off the airplane, driving my size-of-a-rollerskate rental car out to Ding Darling NWR, when I decided to stop along the sandy road shoulder to glass a few Florida birds.

Brown peilican: nice! Dozens of winter-plumaged willets: sweet! Hey! Sanderlings! Right on!

A few steps closer to the water was the ubiquitous broken picket line of retirees fishing. I smiled and nodded at a rotund man smoking a stogie while he removed some plant material from his fishing lure. He moved with the slowness of someone who has all the time in the world. I was envious.

Just then the shadow of a bird passed over our heads. I looked up into the blinding sunlight just long enough to catch a glimpse of a magnificent frigatebird scything low over the palm trees and out across the inlet.

"Nice frigatebird!" I said to no one in particular.
"Yeah, that IS a nice friggin' bird!" came the reply from the porcine pescador.
We shared a smile and a thumbs up. I headed back to my ride, laughing quietly.

Birders. There's a new one born every minute.

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