Well, that’s just great! While I was in a funk I got nominated for a blog award over at One Woman’s World. You can vote HERE and you probably should because some of your favorites are in the running. I suspect I got nominated by my good friend who is nominated in the Happy Blog category as well as one or two others and rightly so. I like the categories for these awards; they include things like "Most Meetable in Real Life"- that one was easy for me. I am in the "Learn Something New Every Day" category which is a little ironic since I can’t even figure out how to put little icons in my sidebar. (Bet you didn’t know I’ve won Blogging for Books a couple times or that I’ve taken part in knitting things and charity things and bird things and all sorts of bloggy things; I just can’t put those icons in there.)
Anyway, I am honored to be in this category. Here at OutsideIn you can learn a little about this, a little about that. Because my mind is filled with a little of this and a little of that. Just a little.
Moving Right Along…Bullock’s Oriole. This is a charming little guy, a fruit and insect eater, who falls under the category, Neo-Tropical Migrator. Like most of God’s creatures, he’s adapted himself to a certain habitat and that is where he wants to be and that is where you will find him. Here is a map:
(Mz.S, in her best Mr. Bill voice: "oh,no! not another map!" Don’t worry, Mary- it may be science but it’s junk science illustrated with little down home anecdotes.) You see? Bullock’s Oriole is not generally anywhere near Michigan or Wit’s End. So why is this colorful creature here now? I don’t know. I just know that he is and he’s causing quite a stir in the birding community (not to be confused with bird watcher community). He’s been favoring one feeder and yesterday there were upwards of 30 birders from Audubon and Sierra Club and the University stomping around in the cold, watching him. Me? At 6 degrees and a -14 windchill, I look, take a couple pictures, come home and look some more, sitting next to the heat register.
A little digression: Yesterday was viciously cold. We went out to check on Wit’s End and the swans, in particular, after last week’s mid-air collision. Amazingly the hobbled juvenile survived, as predicted by FC, but yesterday he and his mate were frozen into the ice. Now that’s a pickle. But I’ve seen this happen before when we have a quick cool-down. It had been 55 midweek and then overnight the temps dropped into the teens so there was a flash freeze layer of ice over the lake. It’s a thin layer so it won’t take much sun for them to break free and they can handle up to a couple days like that. Now, I’ll have to check on them again tomorrow- if it’s not one reason to drive 2 hours it’s another. Here’s a picture I took yesterday morning. The sun was blinding, the ice and water layered and there are the swans.
Back to Bullock’s Oriole. None of the birders have come up with any good reason why this bird is so far afield and what it means. This morning in church my mind was wandering, as it is wont to do, and I was thinking about this: When I was about five we had this big coffee table-type book (I believe both coffee tables and coffee table books were a new idea in decorating at the time) on the Undersea World. National Geographic was just expanding their marketing realm and this book was a beauty. I couldn’t get enough of all those undersea oddities, especially jellyfish and moon jellies. I asked my father why we couldn’t live under the sea and he said, "Because God wants you to grow where you’re planted. And also you need to clip the edges around the lawn."
At the time, it seemed profoundly wise and also a good idea to go do my Saturday chore. It’s also the only time I ever remember my father invoking God as a reason for anything so that stuck with me: God wants you to grow where you’re planted.
As an adult, I think that’s hogwash. All those Bible people were wandering around as nomads forever. And Noah had to pack up the whole joint and get moving. So, it’ll be a cold day when I believe God wants me to live out my days in Michigan. Actually it is, another, very cold day. I’m fairly certain I can grow-or stagnate, my choice- where ever I am living. With that in mind, I’m going to pack for Florida and go see the Snarl.
Here’s a real puzzler for you: the Wallace Line. Alfred Wallace, who coined the phrase Darwinism without jealousy or rancor, was the first to write about what he and Darwin discovered almost simultaneously. There are places in the world, Wallace’s Line to whit, where fauna-birds and mammals- are distinctly living in one spot and less than 18 miles away, they are not. And never, it seems, does the twain meet. Parrots live and thrive on Bali, but there’s nary a one, except from PetsRUs, living in Australia. All those marsupials with big pockets full of joeys? Australian. You see any kangaroos hopping around in Asia? No. So, I ask you again: What is that Bullock’s Oriole doing out at Wit’s End?