Monday, March 7, 2011
The widgeons have moved north, the storks have moved south, and the geese can't seem to make up their minds: "Do I stay or do I go"? In other words, the changing of the seasons is upon us. The days are getting longer, and, this past weekend, some incredibly blue skies and beautiful (if f*cking cold--I was out there for three hours, so I think my use of the f-word is appropriate) weather gave rise to the opportunity to watch some birds for the first time in over a year.
It's the best time of year, actually, to don a pair of binoculars. The foliage hasn't come in yet, but the shift in the passerines is occuring, as relentless as the tides. Songbirds are easy to identify amongst the bare branches, a strangely gratifying experience, as they are in theory easy to delineate, but in practice they all become lumped together into the "little brown birds that go 'twit'" category.
I ended up following the Hollandse-Deutsch kanaal for a short distance on my way back, and was rewarded with the sight of a pair of shelducks and a little grebe--it was so little that I thought it was a duckling at first, and only stopped because it was too early in the year for ducklings. I wish I had a better lens--I've learned that you can rent tele-lenses for €25/day, but then that begs the question of whether I really want to carry something that costs more than a month's salary around on my bike.
New things are going on, exciting things are happening. It's spring, in more ways than one. I think the Romans had the right idea, having the new year begin with the start of spring. Makes more sense than having it start in the depth of winter, anyway, before things start waking up.