Thursday, December 28, 2006
Sunday, December 17, 2006
We still had a great time, stayed in Gautier with ML, the Ninja Fairy and Lilly Saturday night, and stopped for a while at Jamie and Bethany's in Wiggins on our way home Sunday.
Later in November, I got out early on a cool bright Sunday morning and went in search of anything worthy of a photograph. I saw there were several Great Egrets roosting below the reservoir spillway, so I decided to try to creep up on them and maybe get a nice picture.
While creeping in the weeds, I spotted this little duck.
I sent this and another to an expert birder to see if he could identify it. He replied saying it was an Oldsquaw, or Long Tailed Duck, female. Turns out it's a rare or uncommon bird for Mississippi, and I was asked to submit my photos with some paperwork to the Big Birder of our state who keeps up with all the records.
On the first weekend of December we made another road trip to the Delta.
If you look closely, you can see my name on the big electronic board at Delta State's superfine swimming facility. Wifeunit and I and my 2 teammates from the Flowood Y Fighting Flounders went to beautiful Cleveland, Ms. again for the Southern Masters Short Course Meters Championship Swim Meet. It was my first official swim meet, and I finished just about where I thought in every event - dead last. That's ok though, since I may have won something in my age group. Everyone from age 18 to 80 competes in the same race. It was fun and gave us a chance to do some shopping at the famous pottery shops of the Delta, Peter's Pottery in Mound Bayou and McCarty's in Merigold. (I'll post another story about Wifeunit's long lost cousins of Mound Bayou when the photos are ready)
On our way back home we were able to spot several Northern Harriers, a bird sometimes called a Marsh Hawk. Harriers are apparently quite common in wide expanses like the Delta, but I had never seen one, or knew it if I had. I didn't get any pictures, but they're easily identified by their flying close to the ground over brush, listening for mice and birds to pounce on. They are more slender than most hawks, and have a white patch on their tail (coverts) that can be seen from a good distance. Below is a great pic from a Google search.
Photo: Mark VanderVen, Western Washington University (Link)
Thinking back, I know I'll always remember the trip for the nice, peaceful feeling I had driving home - the sun a fading red glow in the clear western sky, the Family Truckster all cozy and warm while the temps outside fell into the low 30s, cruise control set at 60 mph on Highway 16, listening to Garrison Kiellor's Prairie Home Companion, as I drove right past my exit to Hwy 43 and into the dark.