Because I am a hopeless bird nerd, I subscribe to email listings of interesting birds spotted near my home. I love this. If a rare bird, like the Oldsquaw (a.k.a the Long Tailed Duck) shows up at our local lake, we can make time to take a look before it realizes that it is supposed to be hanging out the northern ocean and skeedaddles.
Last week, Robb and I were out letterboxing, and we ran into an avid birder, who "knew" me through my online photographs. He was more up-to-date on his internet bird-watching, and told us about a male Wood Duck who was hanging around in a municipal park in downtown Union City. Seems this beautiful creature had won the heart of a lady Mallard, and the happy pair were paddling around together in a man-made stream
While Robb and I had encountered Wood Duck ducklings when we were volunteering at the International Bird Rescue Research Center, neither of us had seen an adult of this species. I had carved a tiny print of this duck, based on photographs, and had always hoped to see one in the marsh behind Glimmerglass Opera, where they were known to roost. (Unlike other ducks, Wood Ducks roost in holes in trees, and if those aren't available, will use nest boxes.)
With the help of the internet, we assembled a day of fun.
We checked out Mister Handsome the Strangely Urban Wood Duck, had lunch at a delicious Afghan restaurant (sitting on cushions at low tables worked out perfectly for Robb) and then went to "We've Brought You Here To Kill You" State Park, where we failed to see any of the orioles that other people had spotted.
Yeah, I love the internet!