Friday, September 7, 2012

Today's Episode

Twitchers come to the Delta from all over the world for the birding. Many species live here year round, while others come to feast on life brought by the water and leave when it dries up. The colors on the birds paint a stark contrast against the brown grasses this time of year.

I want to learn the major birds so if I’m asked I can answer at least some of the time. I can resort to the tricks I learned while guiding in Alaska where you pick a direction and a color (that’s a White Northern….) or making regular words sound Latin (why it’s a purple byriverus) or the surly method (it’s a duck, I said no standing in the raft.)

I already know the lilac-breasted roller, but I saw one this morning that wasn’t in the kindle book on my Mac. So I went to the camp library. It contained several guidebooks but the only one on our avian friends featured birds of prey. Next I went into the main lodge. Every coffee table has a beautiful book or two. There it was, “Birds of Botswana.”

Stunning photography of both male and female of the species fill the pages. Birds sitting, drumming their wings, or flying over the Delta make up the book. I flip and flip and there it is, the yellow and black bird I saw when I stepped out of my tent this morning. Of course the book is only pictures, no words. I always skip the wingspan blah, blah, blah but it's kind of nice to know the name, right? If anybody asks I guess I’ll say, “You can tell by the crest and the little splash of red under the eye, that there is a page 47.”

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