informal thoughts on acting, writing, and birds
Looks like good things come in twos! I'm excited to announce that I am now a Portland Stage Company Affiliate Artist. Seeing great plays like The Misanthrope, Arcadia, and I Am My Own Wife at Portland Stage as a teenager, and interacting with amazing affiliate artists like Moira Driscoll and Dan Noel was without a doubt the catalyst for my becoming an actor. I am delighted that it has now come full circle and I look forward to growing our artistic relationship stronger and stronger in the years to come.
Extremely excited to announce that I'll be spending a week up at Hewnoaks Artist Colony towards the end of September developing a few play ideas, and readying them for submission. I'm looking forward to campfires, fall migrants and countless hours of writing on the shores of Kezar Lake.
While counting Canada Geese and a few other birds in a marsh along the Spurwink River on a cold and blustery day, I happened to see a small flock of buntings or larks take off from very, very far away. With about a half-hours patience, I was able to track the flock as it foraged closer. Lo and behold, the first of my 2017 target birds was spotted: Horned Larks. Sure, they never got close enough to get a photo of, but I had a few good looks through the binoculars.
Resolution time: Every January I break out The Sibley Guide to Birds and go about selecting four to five "target" species for the new year. While limiting myself to five or less may seem like the most causal of birding for some big listers, these lists tend to serve me as a nice guideline as to what my goals and priorities will be for birding that year. Am I going for pelagics? Rare boreal species? Nemesis birds? Or am I going to want to break out a new book and set my sights on a trip outside the ABA area?
Now, sometimes these lists are a wash. 2016 had me looking for American Woodcock (I somehow spaced on all my breeding season plans, and on my one outing, dipped on the bird at a "guaranteed" spot) and Atlantic Puffin (you need to get on a boat for those, I did not get on said boat) so I spotted neither. Which is painful to admit.
I did manage to find Fish Crow and Burrowing Owl on a March trip to Florida, though! So, maybe half isn't bad?
Nah. When you're going for four species in 365 days, half is pretty bad.
This year's list reflects two goals: one is to get out west of the Rockies, and the other more important goal is to go deeper in my own "backyard" by studying and searching around for some of the less common species in Southern Maine. Puffins and Woodcocks are out for me this year, and these five feathered fellows have taken their rightful place:
Joined Jeff Wells and Rob O’Connell on a Cessna 207 to Matinicus Isle to participate in annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC). Flight out, approx. twenty minutes in very rough winds. Gusts up to 45 knots. Flight was breathtaking, if a bit white-knuckle. Dozens of golden islands in early light and eight foot swells scattered like torn lace over Penobscot Bay.
Despite Matinicus’ reputation as “an island of outlaws,” most people we met on the island were friendly enough. One eighty-year-old man was surprised to see more footprints than just his own in the mud on the road. All seemed to know exactly what we were up to. Only one woman gave us trouble, telling us to get off “private property” and letting out her massive, but thoroughly uninterested dog.