I haven’t driven across two states to see a rare bird, although when that badly lost, gloriously hued painted bunting showed up in Brooklyn in late November, I did make the eternal subway ride from the Upper West Side to the far side of Prospect Park to get a glance and a picture.
The laugh point came when I reached this astonishingly unidiomatic statement:
On the receipt of a manuscript, we will make do to immediately send to you, the Manuscript Identification Number and the Manuscript Processing Fee, taking cognizance of the pages of the received manuscript, within one hour.
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We finished our last tech run tonight; tomorrow we see a preview audience. The show is snugging up nicely, and (I think) we are ready for an audience to bounce some funny off. Nick has been mixing Italian bird song (from Xeno-canto, per my recommendation) into the sound design; John’s set, with clay tile roof details and lots of hiding places for eavesdropping, looks great.
We’re still fine-tuning some business—the binding of Borachio is not quite as safe as we would like—and the timing of a couple entrances. Since Verges is one of the watchmen, any time the garden gate needs to be opened or closed, that ends up being my job.
We are up to 8 active nests, a couple of them with 1 or 2 Hooded Merganser eggs mixed in with Wood Duck eggs. I pulled together a couple of the images that Kat and Melina had provided last year for comparison of the eggs.
It looks like these boxes are complete clutches, now being incubated, so we can skip checking them next week: boxes #10, #6, #84, #13, #62. Actually, we never did get a good count for #6 (that’s the one where the male Wood Duck has been stationed on top of the box), as the hen there does not flush.
There was a bluebird box near duck boxes #2 and #4 that fell apart.
First Tree Swallows seen by the team were spotted over the wetland. There was a (migrant, supposedly) Ovenbird foraging at the edge of the parking lot at 8:30.
We are up to 6 active nests, 2 Hooded Merganser and 4 Wood Duck (with the odd extraspecies egg in some of the boxes). The new predator guards look really good — thanks! [As you can see, attaching the guards to our poles requires a little in-the-field engineering.]
The two new boxes in the new pool near the tower don’t have predator cones yet. Are there any more available? Also, box #3, although it has 3 eggs in it, also has a wonky door that doesn’t close very tightly. It might be possible to tighten up/relocate the hardware so that the door is a snugger fit.
First work day of the season maintaining and checking nest boxes! We already have nests started in two, maybe three boxes (I suspect one of the nests is from last year, abandoned), and this is all before we fluffed up the boxes with fresh chips inside. We also have an open to-do item to install predator guards on the poles. We introduced new recruit Kathy to the dubious pleasures of squoodging through the soft mud of the wetland. And we got a little training in the new protocol for cleaning our gear, in hopes of controlling the spread of ranavirus.
Our resident beavers have rebuilt the lodge that wants to overtake the bench at the start of the boardwalk. And, at that same spot, they have built a new dam off to the left of the boardwalk.
We heard female Wood Ducks hoo-eeking numerous times; lots of Mallards hanging out, too.
Down by box #13, on the dry land before the observation tower, I found something that’s fairly common but I’d never noticed it before, probably because I wasn’t looking for it: the hunkered-down, overwintering, two-colored leaves of Cranefly Orchid (Tipularia discolor).
…no one really knows a bird until he has seen it in flight. Since my year upon the dunes, spent in a world of magnificent fliers, I have been tempted to believe that the relation of the living bird with its wings folded to the living bird in flight is almost that of the living bird to the same bird stuffed. In certain cases, the difference between the bird on the wing and the bird at rest is so great that one might be watching two different creatures. Not only do colours and new arrangements of colours appear in flight, there is also a revelation of personality.