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.
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.
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.
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!)
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!
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.