Sunday, February 5, 2012

More knitting and birds

Well, after hours and hours of studying the Mickey Mouse book and watching a really good video, I did indeed teach myself to knit. Sort of. I can't BELIEVE how much time I put into knitting last week! Then, once I learned the basic stitch, I had to practice and practice and practice. My homework was to knit a 7x9 inch "square". I literally spent hours knitting a 7X4 1/2 inch pathetic rectangle. I also spent too much time trying to teach Kaylin what I learned, but she was not into it and got easily frustrated. She was mad that I was better at knitting. Seriously, child?! Do you even know how much time I've put into this? Eh, I know my kid and imagine that one night she'll lock herself in her room, figure out knitting and emerge the next morning with a completed sweater with an intricate pattern. I'm not a bit worried about her current lack of knitting skills.

Yesterday in class we learned the other knitting stitch- purl. Hooray! Now I have twice as much to be confused about. I keep going back and forth... How much time do I want to put into something I have no plans to pursue? I suppose if I ever need foot surgery or am bedridden, maybe I can knit lumpy, rectangular washcloths. Sweet!

Friday, Duncan the dog and I had an amazing birding trip to Banner Marsh and Emiquon. Banner was deserted except for one dude out on the icy lake in his fishing boat. I "think" he was trying to break the ice because he kept going back and forth over and over. It was loud and annoying and a major waste of gas. Whatever. He finally gave up and left. Duncan and I basked in the beautiful day and took a long walk along the top of the levee. Birds were everywhere! Flocks and flocks of greater white-fronted geese and Canada geese flew overhead. Eagles were circling above and the brush was filled with American tree sparrows and song sparrows. Duncan has an undying hatred for killdeer (probably because they're obnoxiously loud and they run along the ground) and was busy hunting them while a trio of eagles circled overhead hunting Duncan. At 15 pounds, he's probably a bit larger than their usual prey, but there were three. At the end of our walk, seconds before we got into the car, Duncan rolled in dead fish. Super. Will I never learn?

Smelly Dog and I moved on to Duck Creek where we saw small flocks of both tundra and trumpeter swans. One was banded, but too far away to read the number with my scope. Meanwhile, huge flocks of snow geese flew overhead to our next destination- Emiquon.

I can't even begin to describe the number of snow geese at Emiquon. Tens of thousands, I'm sure. They were absolutely covering the south end of Thompson Lake and huge flocks were coming and going at all times. I have never seen so many migrating birds! At times the honking from above was deafening. At other times it looked like a giant black cloud was moving in quickly, covering the entire horizon. I would love to have somebody qualified estimate the number of birds I saw. It seemed like millions.

I had completely intended to do my usual birding loop and hit Lake Chautauqua, Sand Ridge Forest and Spring Lake, but I ran out of time! Duncan and I left home before 10am and didn't get home until 5pm. All told, I saw 35 different bird species and added 9 to my year list which currently stands at 54. It was a gorgeous day and well-spent outside hiking and birding. I spent too much of my weekend knitting and birding so now I need to spend the rest of my early morning reconciling my checkbook and paying bills. Despite the knitting, it was a GREAT weekend!

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