Tag Archives: vagrant

Ross’s Goose in Franklin Lakes, NJ

ross's-goose

After dipping on the Barnacle Goose yesterday, I really wanted to get the Ross’s today, especially since it is so close by. I called my birding bud this morning at the crack of dawn (well it was really more like 8:30, which is still pretty early for a Sunday.) to see if she wanted to come along and got a reluctant Yes. It would be a lifer for both of us.

We arrived at the pond to see 2 young men getting back in their car with long faces. I rolled down my window to ask the all-important question. Did you see the goose? They both broke out into big grins and came walking over. Yes, indeed, they had. It was with a small flock of Canada Geese.

It was one of those rare occasions where you go to where the bird is and get out of the car and Voila! There it is. And I mean right there. No scope required. Nice. I love when that happens.

All kinds of things turn up in wintering flocks of Canada Geese.  It pays to scope them out and read the local ListServ.

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Red Crossbill in NJ

female-red-crossbill

On the 3rd try I finally got a really good look at the female Red Crossbill that I have been stalking since last weekend.  She is a late riser, so I didn’t kill myself getting there super early only to find out that she had been spotted at 7:30am.  Figures.  But not having to work, and wearing heavy winter gear; I was prepared to camp out for hours if need be.  Within 10 minutes of standing in the driveway, however, she appeared at the neighbor’s feeders.  Karla spotted her first and we all got on her.  She would fly back and forth from the feeder to a bare oak almost always with a male Goldfinch.  I left shortly after 11 having seen her many times.  Now, I need a good photo of her.   I have hope, she has been here a week and does not appear to be going anywhere.  This photo is one of the ones Karla Risdon took crawling commando style across her dining room floor as the Crossbill fed in a window feeder.  Thanks Karla for letting me post it.

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The Addiction – a short story

Paul pulled up to the ATM, stuck in his card and punched in $300. He had held out as long as he could. He needed cash. There was no time to waste. The machine whirred and spit out a receipt that said INSUFFICIENT FUNDS. Paul slammed this fist against the front of the machine. He put the card back in and asked for $200. Again, INSUFFICIENT FUNDS. Crap. He HAD to get to the meeting place. He racked his brain. Maybe if he went home, he would be able to find some cash under the sofa cushions. He snorted at the idea. That would not be enough. Maybe he could call a friend and borrow some emergency money. He ran through a list of his friends in his head and sighed. He had already borrowed from everyone he knew. He frowned. As a last resort there was always credit. He wondered how close he was to maxing out.

Paul pulled into the empty lot of the fire station to check his bags. Maybe he had some unspent cash stashed from the last visit. His rummaged through all of the bags in the trunk. His stuff was there. Perhaps he hadn’t needed all of it. But it had been such a steal. As he was kicking the tires in frustration a cop car pulled in.

“Everything all right here?”

Paul nodded and quickly got back in the car and pulled away. The last thing he needed was a ticket. He drove to the park to see what was around. He scanned the area. Nothing. He sat in the parking lot with his head sunk on the steering wheel.

Well, that was it. He was finished. He wasn’t going to make it this time. He wanted it so bad he could taste it. Why did these things always happen before payday? He sat up and took several deep breaths. OK. Stay calm. Think clearly. How much would it actually cost?

Paul slowly got out his cell phone to talk to his fiancée. To beg her one last time.

“Honey, do you have any cash I can have?”

There was silence on the phone.

“Please tell me you are not going up there”, she replied.

He considered lying. The hesitation was enough. She hung up on him. He hit redial.

“What.”

“I promise after this time, I won’t do it again.”

“You promised last time.”

“I know, but I mean it this time.”

“You meant it last time.”

“ I know, but honey, it is a Red-footed Falcon. It doesn’t even live on this continent. It is a once in a lifetime thing.” He knew he was groveling. He didn’t care.

There was a heavy sigh on the other end of the phone.

Was she weakening? He took a chance. “I love you.”

Again the sigh. “OK. But this the last time you chase after a bird.”

Paul hung up, turned the car around and headed home singing “On the Road Again.”

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