Ever get this, when you’re out for a spot of urban birding? —
Lady walking dog: Playing detective?
You (flustered and tongue-tied, waving vaguely at the bushes): I…ehhhhhh…birds!
I mean, sure, lady. That’s what I do. I come out here in my poppy-red coat, sit on this fence — y’know, ’cause I’m not conspicuous enough, already; I’ve got to make myself six inches taller — then, I point my great, clunky telephoto lens at the bushes, and I think I’m Columbo.
What’s to be embarrassed about, anyway? I really was ehhhhhh…birds. Birds! See?–birds. Does one look that strange, that foolish, skulking about with a camera in broad daylight? Could I be deemed a suspicious character? Do people smile at me because they think I’m going to jump off the fence and eat their faces? Birds! Birds! I…ehhhhhh…birds! Honest! That’s all!
This reminds me of that time I was birding over on Burnaby Street, and one of those community watch officers, you know, the ones in the red jackets, mistook me for a tramp. I probably did look homeless, back then; all my clothes had holes in. But I’ve bought new ones, since then. Maybe I need a haircut. I am looking a bit shaggy.
At any rate, I spotted a nice little colony of song sparrows, a family of mallards, and something tiny and fast, that vanished before I could identify it. I heard chickadees, and searched in vain for wrens. And I shooed gulls off my feeder all day.