December 10th, 2006

Egrets Reading

Audubon Society Bird Walk

This morning I went on a bird walk hosted by the San Fernando Valley Audubon Society at Descanso Gardens.

As part of my ongoing effort to collect Southern California kigo (season words used in composing haiku), I’ve decided I need to learn more about birds. I’m tired of seeing large black birds and wondering if they’re crows or ravens.

By the end of the two hour walk, we had seen 38 different species of birds – if I had walked the gardens alone, I would have missed about 32 of them. I came home eager to buy binoculars, which have now moved up to the top of my Christmas wish list.

As a plus, I ran into my friend Barb, a former co-worker from my Lockheed days, who apparently does this particular bird walk often. I think I’m going to try to make this bird walk all year in 2007 – it seems that if I did the same walk every two weeks, I’d really be able to observe the seasonal changes in the birds (as well as the gardens) which would greatly help me in developing my personal saijiki. (For my non-haiku friends, a saijiki is a reference book of kigo – the Southern California Haiku Study Group is developing one for Southern California – but it’s good to have a personal one for one’s own life.

I spent the afternoon continuing to teach my son to drive a stick-shift. Kirk’s doing very well for his second day out, his shift changes are much smoother than they were yesterday – I took him up to the hilly part of Arcadia and he didn’t burn up the clutch too badly on his first attempts to take the car from a dead stop up a steep hill. After our four hour session, he drove the car solo to my parents’ house in Long Beach. Next, it’s the freeway…