Sunday, July 28, 2013

Needed Break - The Morris Connection and Yellow-throated Warbler

I am amazed at how stressful life can be. Christine has been selling much of our stuff in anticipation of moving to an apartment half the size of our house. In addition we are trying to sell the house, sell the Jeep, find new loft beds for the girls, look for a new used car that has AC, and I've been working on a book project that is taking more time than I had hoped it would. Put all of this together and yesterday was a needed break. To understand yesterday however we need a bit of history.


When Michaela was born in Madison we started taking walks that spring and summer to get her to sleep as she was extremely fussy. We frequented the remoteness of Nine Springs Park and Lake Farm Park on our walks as they were less than five miles away from our apartment.  Little did we know these locations were birding hotspots and would get us into birding. Since then I've slowly increased my knowledge of birds and enjoy getting out in the area as much as possible.

Fourteen years ago, when I was a Junior, at University of Minnesota - Morris I ran into a fellow duck hunter in the parking lot. The duck hunter was Josh Wallestad. We didn't know each other, but having hunting as a similar hobby was the groundwork for the start of a nice friendship.  We quickly found out that we both grew up in small towns, loved the outdoors and hunting, and played double deck pinochle. The next year we were roommates.

I've never been good at staying in contact with friends. Moving frequently and out of the area for graduate school and jobs have made it worse, yet over the years we have had wonderful people in our lives.  This past year Josh and I reconnect, through birding! Each of our kids were the spark that got us into birding and somehow we connect on Facebook, even with my limited social media experience.  

Present Day

Yesterday I was able to meet up with him and his son at Whitewater State Park. We had a few targeted birds that would all be lifers for the two Wallestad men, and were successful in finding a yellow-throated warbler. I enjoy reading Josh's birding exploits and you can see his recount of the day on his webpage A Boy Who Cried Heron.

During the search for this bird we found three juveniles, which represents the first time this species is confirmed breeding in Winona County and only the third for the state. Without working on the Breeding Bird Altas this summer I may have easily overlooked the juveniles. Without birding with John H, Andy N, and Dedrick B this past spring I would never have spent as much time learning a few calls and may have completely missed this species. Without birding I likely would not have reconnected with Josh, who is a class act and one of the most genuine and honest guys I've ever known. The time together at the park reminded me of the wonderful friends that Christine and I have had in our lives at each location, some of which we need to work harder on staying connected with. Josh's son was a great and knew his stuff, reminding me of how happy I am being outdoors and learning like a kid. Evan had quite the smirk when I was fooled by his ipod and thought a second adult bird was calling.

The stress was gone for a day and I was reminded of all the good things in our life.

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