Thursday, July 31, 2008

Urban Nature: That Rarest Bird

the elusive pie-eyed bluefarb
(click image for larger view)

This morning, not twenty feet from the kitchen window, a pie-eyed bluefarb (PEB) sat preening in our pear tree.

Why it picked our yard, I can't be sure. In a fair world, a just world, a visitation like this would only fall upon the a lifelong ornithologist with a passion for this bird, not some mid-town schmuck like me, whose bird-savviness ends with "robin" and "hawk," and who only happens to know anything about the PEB vicariously, through snips and scraps of someone else's bird-lore.

Maybe the rumor's true that the PEB is part sprite, and fond of irony. Any rate, this time the irony was in my favor, so I don't plan to raise a stink about it.

And I sure won't complain that I manged to come away with the photo above. Imperfect as this shot certainly is, I'm happy with it. Having just looked online, it is thrilling -- if perhaps a little presumptuous -- to think this might indeed be the clearest image of the pie-eyed bluefarb in existence. At any rate, nothing much has come up after several Google queries.

This much, though, is sure: while regrettably I wasn't able to get in any closer, or pull off a completely unobstructed shot (damn that leaf!) , it's clear that this is, indeed, the Bird Itself. Nothing else comes close to that remarkable shade of indigo, that seemingly translucent sheen. I was able to snap the shutter only once more before the bluefarb was gone, and frankly it's a terrible shot -- just a tiny blur of blue glass as that mysterious bird, startled by my intrusion, took wing and shot out eastbound across our neighbor's garden.


Kathy Barron said...

I'm sure your dad got a big chuckle out of this "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" thing. Personally, I wish you had provided all sorts of (made-up)scientific data, like your dad does when he posts a photo of some interesting organism.

Nathan First said...

Kathy: I was thinking the same thing. Initially I considered a series of such posts (like today's Red Fiddle) that play on the idea -- or rather, the simple fact of the matter -- that I'd love to be a nature writer like Dad or Wendel Berry, but somehow have wound up a city boy instead, with little access to, or knowledge of, the grass under my own feet. I claim to love nature, "the earth," and "the environment", but lately I've wondered: how much I can really love what I know so vaguely?

fred said...

Now what the heck is that thing? Never in my bornd days have I seen the likes of it, and to have my IdiotDreaming city boy son make such a find is humbling indeed. A grudging congratulations on this stunning shot.