One spring afternoon in 2005, I was walking along a path that follows the Connecticut River. It is only a few hundred yards from my house. I remember it being an extremely windy day, and was curious if the wind might have any effect on what birds might be around.
I was searching for birds in a small wooded patch about 5o feet from the river bank, when a very odd bird caught my attention. My first thought was, -What's that odd looking seagull doing in a tree?-Seagulls don't sit in trees do they?-Hmm- it doesn't have gull feet-. After a couple of minutes of observation, I reasoned that it definitely wasn't a seagull.
What the heck is it? Wow-It has red eyes, and look at that little wispy feather coming off of the back of the head.-Hey, wait a minute-I've think I've discovered a rare tropical bird!-It has to be.-At this point I started to take notes and tried to make a sketch. -(That is not a pretty sight.- I am a lefty who was converted to a righty by a second grade teacher. I had forgotten all about it, until my sister pointed it out to me a few years ago. She noticed I was writing with my right hand instead of my left.
Besides having poor penmanship, I also have a dyslexic tendency to flip flop letters in words. -I wonder why the teacher decided to do this?-any ideas?)
After I had made a sketch, I ran back to my house by cutting though a neighbor's yard. They must have thought there was something wrong by the way I was running. I grabbed a disposable camera -the only kind I'd ever used. I took pictures of it until the film ran out.
When I went back to the house, I started rifling through a field guide. My notes and sketches had paid off. There was no doubt that what I had seen was a Black-Crowned Night Heron. It was a very exciting find for me, but a fairly common bird. I went from being Roger Tory Peterson back to me in just a few seconds.
After having the pictures developed, I was in for another shock. The bird looked like the size of an ant! I couldn't even tell it was a bird by looking at the pictures.
-That was the day I decided to get a digital zoom camera.