Birdathon 2013 Report: Two in a Bush

2013 Birdathon

Two in a Bush came came up with 55 species of birds on June 2. We thought that was pretty good considering we had missed the warbler migration. We birdied at Hoover, Greenlawn Cemetery, and Battelle Darby Tick Park (more on that later!).

Team member Patty DeMaria gives us a funny look at the hazards of the Birdathon. As she says, the following is not strictly a Birdathon Tale, but it’s close:

So, I went to Battelle Darby in search of this elusive Red Phalarope back in May. After thrashing around for three hours I had seen half a million Killdeer, Redwinged Blackbirds, Blue Winged Teal, Coots, a possible pair of Cinnamon Teal, dozens of shorebirds, Great Blue Herons, and Great Egrets, and, of course, no phalarope. Turning to return to the car, I glanced down at my legs and found I was literally, not virtually, covered in ticks! I mean there were ticks on top of ticks all swarming up my legs as if their little eight-legged lives depended on it, which I suppose they did! After performing The Dance of the Infestation with great vigor and, if I say so myself, grace and artistic expression, I hastened to the vehicle and paused for thought, that thought being that I did not want to help the ticks by transporting them about the countryside in my automobile, so I made another inventory of the possible hiding places of the craftier sorts of tick. Sure enough, several dozen more were found inside the pants, in the shirt, in the hair, and under the shoelaces. This involved an encore of The Dance of the Infestation with a few improvised movements not previously seen in public.

Feeling fairly tickless, I proceeded to the nearest showering facility, namely the gym I belong to(I shall not identify the location lest I bring infamy to their name). Disrobing led to the discovery of a superior race of extra-sneaky ticks who had found more creative hiding places than their lesser brethren, but they met their match in me and in the hot water rushing down the sink drain! A most satisfyingly soapy shower was enjoyed, and I stood in front of my locker prepared to don the garments of civilization once again. Something stayed my hand, however, perhaps a primordial memory of the determination and perseverance of the family of ticks and their genetic predisposition to seek out the most unlikely spots in which to secret themselves. So I turned my clothing inside out once again, and lo and behold, there they were! Sequestered inside the seams of my shirt, inside the pockets of my pants, thigmatropically wedged into the eyelets of my shoes! Two dozen more ticks were extracted and dispatched, and an abbreviated reprise of The Dance of the Infestation was indulged in in the privacy of the locker room.

Now we jump ahead in time about a month, to the day of our Birdathon Expedition. Having spent most of the day around Hoover Reservoir we were still lacking in shorebirds. Reluctantly we made our way to Battelle Darby’s wetlands, where we vowed not to venture off the pathways of righteousness and into the dark lands of the tick! We were not entirely successful, as the paths had not been mowed into righteousness recently, and the grasses were discouragingly tall. Nonetheless we searched out enough shorebirds to satisfy, and returned to the parking lot to find we each had but one tick upon our persons! Until at dinner another one scaled my neck. And a short time after dessert a third circumnavigated my midsection. And the next morning a fourth was found making a survey of my foot as I lay in the dentist’s chair! And at that point everyone joined in a group performance of The Dance of the Infestation!!