Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A fresh start, but before I do, some closure

Ok, so it's been 6 months in the new job as DP and it's been a whirlwind. In that time I've not really had the headspace for blogging but steadily the urge to put my thoughts down has built and the time has come. I'm going to be blogging my thoughts about education - leaving the birds behind for now. But before I do I've got to tell a story, it's the final note from the Armidale Conference and tells of how a novice birder made a punt and did good.

So, field trip days in Armidale and while I was on the bus with a bunch of made keen Aussie birders I just happened to mention I'd seen a plum-headed finch on the outskirts of Armidale the previous day, perhaps a couple of miles out of town. Well, that got the blood flowing as for many on the trip, this bird was a lifer. Momentum quickly gathered and about 15 birders were keen to go finch hunting at the end of the field trip day. We organised the bus to drive us out of town to drop us off knowing we would have to walk back. The committed watched the road lengthen ahead and it felt a long 5 - 7 km or so out into the country by bus to get to the site where I'd seen the birds. Those on the bus looked at what they would have to walk back along to get back home and started asking "Are you sure this was a plum-headed finch you saw?" (after all what would a novice kiwi birder know?). I was pretty confident I'd got the ID right, but I started to have my doubts.

On arriving at the spot we all bundled out and started wandering around looking for the birds. There was plenty of birdlife around but no sign of the treasured finch. Then a call from across the paddock - people rushed over and there on teh fence was about 4 birds, perched for all to see. This is my one, quick photo - I'd opted to enjoy watching them through my bincoulars instead. The walk back was a great laugh, I couldn't imagine what it would have been liked if we'd not seen the birds!

A strange birding highlight, this one. But now, goodbye fellowship. Bring on the classroom.