Everyone else was busy today. The Snarl had her best friend from back home fly in last night (U-M’s winter break) so the two of them plus the best friend from down here are history. They talked us out of the old clunker Jimmy that is in retirement down here so they could do the beach thing this week. The Snarl was ready to literally ride around the neighborhood on her bike and buy the first car with a for sale sign on it under 2,000 she could find- sans inspection, test drive, history- just so she would have a car while Caitlin is here. We decided haste would mean just more car waste and our tolerance for that right now is zero. So she has the Jimmy. I give that truck, with it’s 160,000 miles and the Snarl at the wheel until about Tuesday night at 10:33 pm. We could take bets on when the car gives out but a hundred bucks say Caitlin goes back to the airport in a cab. Please, please, please Higher Power- gimme some good car karma and prove me wrong.
And Rich was busy writing some proposal or another so I took off on my bike for the Bay to see what I could see. Coincidentally, I found some cars for sale. They’re having a big car show at the waterfront by the Vinoy, the fancy pink downtown resort. Which one do you think the Snarl would like? Too bad- she’s at the beach.
Then I went and ate a leisurely lunch at The Moon Under Water, a swell British Colonial Tavern where you can get both the best fish and chips in town and also the best Indian curries. I settled for a cobb salad and some pappadam with raita. I read my book and ate slowly and didn’t particularly care that there was a growing line of snowbirds. I’ve decided that home ownership, especially now that we’re hanging a new garage door today, gets me out of that crowd.
My primary focus was on the green parrots. Actually these are Quaker or Monk parrots. They are a “non-native”, otherwise known as an invasive species. I’ve been at odds with the U-M Birders list members forever because of their running warfare against non-natives, including sparrows, cowbirds and my mute swans. Many members act like they should be eradicated like purple loosestrife along the highway; my favorite part is that they act like these “non-native” species just waltzed past the border patrol under cover of night on their own steam. I mean, I’m not an expert when it comes to who’s crowding who and to what degree but I certainly know who had a hand in the problem. (Remember the spreading chestnut tree?) And as though these birds also aren’t creatures of the earth and I believe there’s a Book that repeatedly sings the praises of the lowly sparrow and…okay, topic drift. That’s my rant for the day, but if you ever want to engage in a discussion about non-native species in the greater scheme of things- well, let’s go. You and me. In the alley. (And Hoss, I don’t want to hear about killer bees…)
The parrots. These clowns are a great way to kill an hour by the Bay, any day. There’s a very large flock of them that live in the botanical palm garden in the park and most months they move as a raucous and brilliant crowd from tree to lawn to light pole to tree.
Today, I could hear them- the racket was deafening in a background kind of way, once I tuned in. But I couldn’t see them, other than an occasional quick solitary flight. That’s because they are all paired up and on nests right now and the low undersquawk was the sound of hundreds of baby Quakers. They’re not yet fledglings because I darn near got a migraine straining to see up there and didn’t see anything but scolding parents. The nests are up a good 50-70 feet and these were the best shots I could get with the telephoto. At that, they wanted me to just leave. Go. Get out. Stop with my invasive, non-native tactics.