Procrastination: Birding

Saw a life bird yesterday. A black-bellied whistling duck in — get this — Maryland. [NB: It’s range is within about 30 miles of the Gulf Coast] It’s in amongst a bunch of geese and tame mallardsin a kind of mini-Disney World restaurant and condo complex right off I-270 in Gaithersburg. It’s been on the MDOSPREY birding list for about a weekand everyone there (I just lurk) has been arguing over whether they think it’s wild or an escapee. When another 20 or so turned up Friday in Virginia I think the arguing has stopped and it’s now being called an “incursion.” There are more in Bucks County, PA, so they may be showing up in YOUR POND any day now.
It’s an absolutely gorgeous creature, hawks popcorn out of the air like a frisbee-catching border collie. In fact, I think I will call it the “frisbee duck.” Has a surveyor-paint-orange bill, beautiful cinnamon brown body. It’s slim, long necked and long-legged.
I think they’re coming up here because it’s hurricane season in the Gulf and they’ll be damned if they’ll stick around for any more of that crap. “Horace, we’re moving north. Pack your damned eel-weed and let’s go.”

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