Saturday, November 6, 2010

Faked out!

Last night, I determined to sneak in some evening birding before the sun set.  Being just before dusk, I needed to find some place close by the hotel where I'd been staying near the Baltimore-Washington International airport.  I found a nearby trail online called BWI Trail that goes all the way around the airport.  The satellite view showed some patches of woods and some free parking at the Thomas A. Dixon Observation area adjoining Friendship Park.  In 10 minutes I was there!

Its a pretty cool place...especially if you appreciate being close enough to commercial aircraft to feel the rumble in your chest!  I enjoyed it.
A regular sight from the BWI Trail at Friendship Park, Glen Burnie, Maryland
I wasn't seeing or hearing any birds in the first few minutes as I walked down the trail.  Suddenly, I started hearing all kinds of bird squabble across the park.  "I gotta get over there!" I said to myself.  But this is a park where you can't walk across the grass...huh?...because its in the landing path of the airplanes.   

Scurring along the trail that rounded the south end of the park to get to the other side as quickly as I could, I did see a couple Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmouse, Mourning Doves, and a couple dozen American Robins flying overhead.  Otherwise, it was not very birdy.  I just knew I'd find loads of birds over on the otherside of the park where all that bird noise was coming from.

BWI Trail
The intense bird sounds would start and continue for about 10 seconds and then stop for a couple of minutes, then start again.  I started to realize that the sounds were pretty consistent each time I heard them and it sounded like a couple of different species.  I scanned the tree line with my binoculars and honed in on the area where the sound was coming from.

Is it just me, or does this happen to you too?...when your eyes and ears just seem to sync...and something just clicks in your mind...and you are absolutely certain that you are looking in the right direction of where the sound is coming from.

Well, I was certain that I was looking at the right place...but when adjusting my focus it became apparent that I was looking at a large red speaker.  Huh?!

It turns out that BWI Airport plays a series of crazed bird calls periodically to scare the geese and keep them off the lawn and out of the flight path.  I'd been punked!

...but had a good laugh at myself.

1 comment:

  1. Pretty funny Robert :-) I'm sure I would have fallen for it too.

    Whenever I'm trying to hone in on a bird call I look in the direction of the call with my bins and slowly turn my head side to side to pinpoint the sound. I think it works kinda like an owl's ability to pinpoint sound because of the ear openings being offset.

    I don't know, it works for me.