March 2, 2013

A Poorwill in the headlights, flying up from The Lane and on ahead to land again. First of year I’d seen anywhere, and a couple weeks ahead of the bird’s usual reappearance, for this date might be considered rarer than rare, i.e., “casual.”

Flocks of about 40 Western Meadowlark moving about from pasture to pasture during the day, and often flushed as I walk about through the bermuda grass at dark when I’m emptying wheel line hoses of their day’s water to avoid the problem of frozen lines and sprinkler heads in the morning … I’d love to have the odd leisure moment to go through determining the bird is definitely this species (as opposed to Eastern Meadowlark), measure the length of an eyebrow stripe and so on; instead I can work from the descriptions of both these species’ movements in the Tucson Audubon book “Finding Birds in Southeast Arizona” and I call these meadowlarks Westerns. Then of course one comes on statements from other sources saying there are intermediate appearances between both of them, and even songs that are neither classically one nor the other. No hard “species” edges here–and so much for the precision of Life Lists?