Thursday, May 8, 2014

A Twitcher's Diaried Thought Process

Wednesday, 05/07/2014

12:31pm: Notice an interesting post to the Arizona Birding group page. Bird has yellow legs and yellow on beak, but doesn't look quite right for Pectoral or Least Sandpiper, which means it's something really good. Patiently await further opinions, try not to embarrass oneself. Become tense.

12:42pm: Try not to start grunting and panting at work when the ID of Sharp-tailed Sandpiper becomes consensus. Wipe sweat off of brow and trace elements of spittle off of chin. Become twitchy.

1:03pm: Start thinking about scheduling. Family time and girlfriend's birthday, heavy work load, Mother's Day...yeah yeah nothing that can't be skipped, or won't be there next year same time. BUT A SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPER IN ARIZONA!?!? Fifth state record. Become excited!

1:07pm: Finally look up Rimmy Jim Tanks on a map. Discover that it is 2hrs. 45min. north of you, and this bird seldom stays put for very long, especially when it is so far from the coast. Become depressed.

2:04pm: Receive confirming texts from birder friends already chasing towards the bird. Become envious and depressed.

3:19pm: New hope: begin contemplating leaving at 3:00am to get bird at 5:15am, then drive back and show up for work at 7:45am to teach children math and history and science and responsibility. Wear slacks the whole time and dark wool socks that can pass as dress socks--yeah yeah save time that's friggin' brilliant! Become cautiously optimistic.

3:21pm: Realize ridiculousness of earlier plan. Become depressed.

3:22pm: But it's a SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPER! Reassess earlier plan, tread water for a bit, and decide it's feasible. Become reinvigorated.

3:45-5:30pm: Continue dwelling on the possibilities of the chase and receiving updating texts from other twitchers. Become distant, distracted, and prickly to everyone else around you.

5:31pm: Reveal to others what you're thinking of doing. Become surprised at the supportive reaction of everyone. Realize that life is good, Short-tailed Sandpiper or not. Become content with not chasing this bird, at least not until the weekend. There will be others, some day, and you wouldn't even have time to enjoy it. Become resigned to the fact that it will probably be gone soon anyway.

Thursday, 05/08/2014

6:31am: The bird is still present. Forget about yesterday evening's pleasant contentment! Begin thinking about an absurdly early Friday morning chase. Become a gross combination of distracted, optimistic, pessimistic, sharp, dull, and probably a little bit gassy.

6:45am: Get dressed for work. Put underwear on wrong side of pants.

7:00am-8:00pm: Closely monitor all reports without realizing how much of your life and happiness is now dictated by the capricious whims of a peregrinating little shorebird. Become a zombie.

          9:22am: Bird still present...trying to focus on other things...

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