Earthquakes and Egrets

Yes, we felt just like we were back in Costa Rica last week as we felt the unmistakable shake, rattle, and roll of an earthquake! I say “unmistakable” now that we spent those years in Costa Rica and experienced quite a number of temblors (the Spanish word for earthquake)—from barely discernible to pretty substantial—but if it hadn’t been for that I suspect we would’ve wondered what the hell had just happened.  As it was, we looked across the living room at each other in amazement and simultaneously pronounced, “Earthquake!”

It was only 3.3 on the Richter scale but located quite nearby, just about 10 miles SSE of us. Unlike many we felt in Costa Rica—where the epicenter was likely to be much further away but the strength of the quake stronger—this one gave a good solid “boom” and the whole house shook resoundingly. The Costa Rica quakes seemed more likely to be a rumble felt most distinctly “under-foot” sometimes even with the telltale “rolling” feel.

Other than the general local advice that one should always be prepared for anything—earthquakes, wildfires, floods, whatever!—there seemed to be no stepped-up warnings of anything more serious to come our way after this one.  So we just enjoyed it in the rather perverse way we enjoyed the quakes in Costa Rica, thankful that in these small ones there was unlikely to be any damage or injury so one could just freely appreciate the excitement.  ;-)

Bear River Migratory Bird Sanctuary

And egrets?  Well, let’s just say we had one of our best birding outings the other day, and we almost didn’t go so that made it seem extra special.  We’d planned on a morning trek up to the Bear River Migratory Bird Sanctuary, but woke Tuesday morning to the unusual sight of heavy, low-lying clouds and spitting rain.  We consulted by phone with Chris and Louise, a few miles to the south of us, with our primary scientific data consisting of me standing out on the deck, peering northward and declaring that the sky seemed to be clearer up that way.  I suppose folks have set out on expeditions with less data than that.

Yellow Headed Blackbird, Photo by Chris Roe

It rained for most of our drive north, but we held firm to our optimism (and figured in worst case we’d wasted a bit of morning driving nowhere, but even that wouldn’t have been a complete waste since there was s sub-agenda for this trip to pick up a copy of a wonderful free magazine Chris had recently found at a gas station there about Yellowstone where we’re going in September) and, sure enough, about the time we made the turn-off to head out to the Sanctuary itself, the sky cleared.  It stayed overcast and cool, which actually made for perfect birding, so we were delighted.

Breeding Great Blue Heron, Photo by Chris Roe

While we’ve been there at other times of the year and seen more birds, as in total “quantity” of birds, we saw more variety on this trip than ever before, including 21 great blue herons, both wading along the water’s edge and in flight.  We even saw a bird that no one could identify, so Chris captured a photo for future research and later determined it was a breeding great blue heron, with some rather peculiar plumage. (Remember that you can click on any of the pix in the blog and see a larger version!)

White Pelican, Photo by Chris Roe

Northern Shoveler (Female), Photo by Chris Roe

We enlisted Louise to keep a list as we slowly drove around the 12-mile loop through the Sanctuary of all the birds we saw and she dutifully wrote each one down as it was spotted. We saw…

  • American Avocets
  • Western Grebes
  • Clark’s Grebes
  • White Pelicans
  • American Coots
  • Black Crowned Night Herons
  • White Faced Ibis (Ibises?)
  • Cinnamon Teals
  • Barn Swallows
  • Red Winged Blackbirds
  • Northern Shoveler
  • Black Necked Stilts
  • Sandhill Crane
  • Yellow Headed Blackbirds
  • Great Blue Herons
  • Breeding Great Blue Heron
  • Snowy Egret
  • Breeding White Pelican

In addition to the birds we saw a very pregnant mule deer and a baby skunk!

Black Crowned Night Heron, Photo by Chris Roe

When we first moved to Costa Rica, we were amazed to find so many “exotic” birds right in our yard.  And we thoroughly enjoyed them for all of our years there. But in time, of course, the exotic became somewhat common-place—they are, after all, just the regular ol’ “local birds” for that part of the world.  And so we now find that while generally less colorful than those tropical beauties, the birds here are “exotic” for us since most we haven’t seen before and we have great fun spotting them, identifying them, and enjoying their antics.

To just round out a wonderful outing, Chris had researched and come up with a lunch suggestion for a place we’d never been before—Uncle Lee’s Cafe in Ogden.  Really good (and huge!) burger and one of the best baked potatoes I’ve ever had.  Fast service from a very nice waitress and modest prices, so a great choice.  Ironically, almost as soon as we left the Bird Sanctuary and were back on the highway, it stated to rain again!

And Avila, you say? What about Avila? Glad you asked.  ;-)  She’s wonderful as always.  Funny as ever.  She continues to talk in such complex sentences with concepts and vocabulary that seem pretty “out-there” for a barely 3-year-old, she’s the source of steady amusement for us. Her baby brother (“Scoopie” as she’s named him) is due in December, so that’s added some excitement to the family scene.

We just haven’t quite figured out where and how to make him a bedroom—Avila’s room is so decidedly “girl-y” plus they’ll be on different schedules… I might just have to accept the fact the having an entire room for my office is an indulgence, not a necessity.  With the advent of laptops and wireless internet, I’ve gradually moved from working full-time in my office to working full-time on the living room sofa.  I love having my office, but truthfully it’s not a very functional use of square-footage, so I’m pondering options.  We have a while to think about it still, so no hurry.

I’ll sign off with a few recent pix and really hope you’ll leave me a comment to let me know you stopped by.

Avila showing off the daisy she picked to match the daisy on her sweater

"I'll play quietly before bed. I'll play 'napkin rings'!" (A direct quote.)


Playing in the SandTurtle

Now that the recital is over, she can (and does!) play in her Lambie costume




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11 Responses to Earthquakes and Egrets

  1. Ursula says:

    Purple Sand!!! Avila is one lucky kid!
    miss you,

    • arden says:

      Hey, great to “see” you here! MIss you too! The irony with the sandbox is that last year, after some initial excitement, she didn’t play with it much — didn’t seem to want to “get in” and sit in the sand, whereas she played with the sand table we’d given her over at her house at lot. So David came up with a brilliant plan to build a base for the turtle, it’s now just the right height to be a “sand table” so of course she’s now obsessed with getting INTO it. I’m sure there’s a link to the fact that then she’s covered with sand and has to have a bath, and she loves taking a bath. Smart kid. ;-)

  2. Sally Oh says:

    Loved it all — I remember those quakes. We don’t have them very much at all in these parts, although we did have a tiny one recently. Same as you: both looked up, Mo came out of his bedroom and we all went, “Earthquake!” And likewise, warm memories of Costa Rica.

    How about them ticos in the World Cup, eh??? I’ll bet there is one continuous party down there, lol.

    • arden says:

      Hi Sally!

      Before living in Costa Rica earthquakes were definitely on the “terrible things to be terrified of” list, but with so many “little” ones there, we came to not only *not* fear them, but rather enjoy them. (I realize to anyone who’s suffered any actual harm in an earthquake would probably find that reckless at best and perhaps offensive at worst, but still, that’s how we experienced them. What can I say.)

      Yep, I doubt much of anything is getting accomplished in Costa Rica these days — continuous party I suspect doesn’t even begin to touch it!! Hardly worth looking in on FB these days since that’s all anyone posts about! LOL.

      Hope all is going well there with you and your fellas.

  3. Martha B. Higgins says:

    Avila is growing so fast, hard to believe she’s three. Loved all the pictures of her and of the birds! You’re so right about birds that seem exotic simply being ones that are unfamiliar. I love birding, and, of course, MDI is a great place to be for that, but I’d love to see some of the ones you have seen in Utah and in Costa Rica. One day…..

    • arden says:

      Hi, Martha!

      I *know* — we can’t believe she’s growing so much. She’s been a little peanut all along and is now suddenly starting to look like this “big kid” and not a toddler anymore. It’s funny, we didn’t consider ourselves terribly interested in birding before Costa Rica, but how can you be surrounded by such exotic creatures and *not* get interested! And now we’re really enjoying continuing it here.

      Hope summer is finally coming to MDI and it’ll help fade the memory of the brutal winter. And hope that all is well with you!


      • Martha B. Higgins says:

        All’s well and summer is upon us! If I can just make it through July and August and into the Fall….. One of these days I will have to retire for good! Six or seven shifts a week at the restaurant and volunteering at the food pantry several days a month is taking a toll.
        So happy to read your blog, thanks for including me.

  4. Ardis Nicholson says:

    I was fascinated by the bird pictures, which are excellent!, and the amazing list of birds, most of which I’ve never seen, and then read further and saw Avila pictures and my attention immediately switched to little girls. She just doesn’t stop being adorable, does she? Seeing her sweet face, little pigtails, and that funny squatting kids can do takes me back to Abigails 2’s & 3’s. She wore her 2 yr. Halloween “racket soup” (rabbit suit) until the ankle elastic was up so high it looked like bloomers. And “scoopie” coming along this winter! I think the names a keeper. I’m so glad y’all are getting to enjoy this time with grandbabies, and your freedom to take trips whenever you desire. There are such advantages to being older!

    • arden says:

      Hi, Ardis,

      Yes — we’re having lots of fun with the birds! (And I’ll tell Chris you liked his pictures; he’ll be pleased!)

      Ohmigosh it’s so true that Avila seems to just get cuter and cuter, even though that doesn’t seem possible since she’s already so cute we just can’t stand it. And the best part is that she’s not *only* cute, but really so sweet and active and lively and smart. We are having SUCH a blast with her. We were just having dinner last night with friends we’d met in Costa Rica and I was saying that before Avila was here, we just had no idea about what it would be like, and now we simply can’t imagine missing out on all this. And, ironically, if we were still living out our “normal” life in Maine, I really doubt it would have ever occurred to us for me to leave my job, pick up, and move out here to be near her. So that’s a bizarre side-benefit of having moved to Costa Rica — it was actually easier to have the idea to move from *there* to here, and now we wouldn’t have it any other way!! But, boy, they sure do grow up fast — as I know you’re especially aware when you see how big your littles are! It’ll be fun to have Scoopie around for a new hit of “baby-ness” at the same time that Avila is moving more into “big-girl-ness.” And, yes, I think Avila is going to wonder why Scoopie’s real name isn’t Scoopie, and he’s probably doomed to be called that forever since that’s certainly what we’re all calling him now! ;-)

  5. Deborah says:

    Two of the things I miss about Costa Rica although I’m sure there are others – the sound and feel of the torrential rains and the earthquakes. Who would’ve thunk it? Something about that adrenaline rush! We have some construction work behind us and on occasion one of the heavy construction trucks manages to vibrate the earth to the point that I feel it in my apartment. That vibration in conjunction with the sound frequency has me often thinking about those earthquakes as it is so similar. It is funny to me that I knew I heard the earthquakes in Costa Rica but often without being fully aware of the sound, if that makes any sense. It was only afterwards when something else reproduced a similar sound that I began to recognize that I had, indeed, heard the quake as well as felt it!

    That little granddaughter of yours appears to be quite the charmer! I love how they grow up but sometimes it seems entirely too fast!

    • arden says:

      Hi, Deborah,

      Yes, we actually find pretty *little* that we miss about Costa Rica, but I know what you mean about the sound of the rain and the earthquakes. (We don’t miss the “rainy season” in the broader sense, but the sound of the rain on the roof, the perfect excuse for an afternoon snooze… that was pretty good!) It’s funny, we never did have much sense of having “heard” the quakes in CR, but boy, this one here definitely made a resounding boom!

      We are having SUCH fun with Avila and yes, it’s interesting since a huge part of the fun *is* the watching her grow up, but of course it also seems to be flying by. It’ll be fun to have her getting so “big” — heading into Mandarin semi-immersion preschool in the fall! — and still get another round of “baby-ness” with Scoopie!

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