Monday, October 1, 2012

Rivers and Bird Songs

 When I named this post I didn't even realize I was almost making a Doctor Who reference (one of the characters is named River Song). But rivers and bird songs are two things often appreciated during a camping trip. Here are the rest of the photos from my Mt. Rainier camping trip. They are from the campsite and the river near the campsite. While everyone else was taking a nap, I wandered to the river and explored.

Giant Leaves!
Tiny Caterpillar
Staring Down at the Milky Water

D and I collected Sticks for the fire.
Campground Art That I Made
More Campground Art
Last Campground Art
I was so excited when I found this strawberry beer! Delicious! 
Marshmellow...heck yeah! 
My Ketchup Drenched Tofu Dog
  One item I brought to this camping trip (as shown in the previous post about camping) and didn't actually use was the bird identification guide. A couple of weeks prior to this trip, my boyfriend and I were outside in our front yard admiring the birds. We pulled out the bird guide (the bird guide I have is 'National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds') and it was great fun identifying the birds and learning more about them. Unfortunately there really was never much time to appreciate the birds on the camping trip. After all, our camping trip was only a day and a night long (I definitely over-estimated the amount of activity that could be accomplished in such a short trip.) But one thing I love about the bird guide is the way the authors describe bird songs (or voice, as the book calls it.). The descriptions are like miniature poems. Here are some examples.

  • Leach's Storm-Peterel: A variety of trills, screams, and cooing notes. (pg. 366)
  • Sharp-Shinned Hawk: Sharp kik-kik-kik-kik; also a shrill squeal. (pg 432)
  • Western Wood-Pewee: A harsh nasal pee-eer, very different from the sweet peee-ah wee of the Eastern Wood-pewee. (pg. 602)
  • Least Flycatcher: Dry, insect-like che-bec, snapped out and accented on the second syllable, and uttered incessantly through the hottest days of summer. 
  • Veery: Song a rich downward spiral with an ethereal quality; call note a descending whew. (pg. 666)
  • Lark Sparrow: Alternating buzzes and melodious trills. (pg 731)
  • American Coot: A variety of clucks, cackles, grunts and other harsh notes. (pg 468.)
  • Least Sandpiper: A clear treep; when feeding, a soft chuckle. (Pg. 496)
  • Bonaparte's Gull: Rasping tee-ar; soft nasal snarling note. (Pg. 513)
  • Yellow-billed  Magpie: A raucous qua-qua-qua and a querulous quack. (pg. 634)
  These are not a even a survey of the very best bird voice descriptions. I found these by thumbing though pages at random. I remember reading one description in this book a long time ago that described the bird song as sounding like 'the creak of a rusty-hinged fence blowing in the wind.'.... or something similar to that. But I can't remember which bird was being described. Someday I will be outside riding my bike or taking a walk and will hear a rusty fence blowing in the wind, only to realize that there are no fences around... and the air is still! I will look up to see a bird singing on a branch and realize the bird is the creaking fence. 

(Bird book cited: Udvardy, Miklos D.F., revised by John Farrand, Jr. National Audubon Society Field GUide to NOrth American Birds. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2000. Print) 


Ghadeer said...

Encounter with nature :)

Mohala Johnson said...

Beautiful pictures, I may use one as inspiration for a painting, would you mind terribly if I did?

Glad you had a great time as well, those smores looked delicious! lol

Amber said...

Ghadeer- yes! I need my encounters with nature in my life.

Mohala- I would be completely honored if you used one of my photo's for a painting inspiration. If you decide to do so, I'd love to see your painting!

Mohala Johnson said...

It's a deal, Thanks!