Date: 3/17/21 11:21 am
From: catherine paris <cparis12010...>
Subject: For newbies AND oldies
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There's a lesson in this tale.

I have a dear friend who decided she would like to come birding with me one
Thanksgiving on Cape Cod. It was a new moon promising extra high tides in
the marshes on the Atlantic side.

There were reports of a yellow rail in or near the few remaining fresh
water cat tails at the foot of Fort Hill. Surprisingly, the marshes often
have fresh water upwellings where sailing ships would load potable
water.This marsh is huge and protected by a changing barrier beach. Henry
Beston's book Outermost House is a fine testament to the area. So imagine
"finding" a once every 15yrs. small yellow rail!

I swung by and picked my friend up and immediately noticed flat bottomed
still white sneakers, white pants, a wind breaker, and some kind of ball
cap. Not only did her outfit scream non birder but if you've ever stood
next to the ocean on a dark, dreary November day, you would last 2 minutes
outside the car. And, you might might never locate that hat again. She
looked like the book seller she is sans the half glasses on the chain.

My next worry was managing the trip walking down the hill. For some reason,
no path near the ocean is flat, dry or contiguous. I personally had
executed a perfect forward flip adorned with camera, book, binos after the
sneaky briars caught my toe (both briar ends firmly attached) I stuck the
landing only because I concentrated solely on the safety of the camera. I
continued nonchalantly down the hill without looking back at the audience
above me.

Eventually we arrived at our destination which was a single large rock from
gosh knows where. I immediately realized our feet were sinking into the
muck and suggested she hop up on the freezing cold rock and wait there
while I walked toward the phragmities which has invaded the fragile

Since it was nigh on high tide, a dozen or so birders with scopes had
Some chatting and some studiously scanning every floating hunk of debris
knowing at some point the rail had to come toward land.

It got darker, colder and windier. I was lucky to find some Nelson's
sparrows then returned to the rock worried about my friend. I noted
everybody had given up.
She moved over to share the rock and just as my butt hit the rock, a bird
15ft in front ran toward us and popped into the cattails!
I whisper shouted, "that's the yellow rail!" Her comment was, "it didn't
look yellow to me".

Thus her first on her bird list was a yellow rail.

My motto is I'd rather be lucky than good. I'd love to bird with any of you.

I also have a branch of the avian tree named Parisi embarrasus. For those
sightings I've morphed into faux birds.

Catherine Paris
Ozark County

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