Sunday, June 19, 2011

Johnny the Wunderkind

In an attempt to do everything possible before Johnny's back surgery next Tuesday, I have exhausted myself and apparently energized Johnny. He is out washing cars after our Breeding Bird Survey this weekend. I am too tired to do anything more than enter our data into the computer.

On Thursday last, we had a long day at the coast of monitoring Black Oystercatchers. Johnny stayed in the car, as usual since his back has been troublesome, while I hiked The Thumb at Road's End... and discovered that the Middle Nest has hatchlings in it. Cool! We then went to Neskowin and plunked ourselves down in the sun to wait for action on the offshore rock that I'd become convinced has nesting Black Oystercatchers, even if no one could find them. With the help of my new 60X spotting scope, Johnny found a BLOY, definitely on a nest, on top of the rock. As you can see from the photo he took with his new Father's Day camera, you'd need a good scope to see a little black bird on this rock.

After finding the nest, we called the surveyor for that area who joined us and will now monitor the nest weekly. Hooray! We then drove to Cape Kiwanda. Johnny waited at the car while I climbed the dune. Two pairs of BLOY were just foraging on either side of the dune and not doing anything productive, reproductively speaking.

After we arrived home, late, Johnny went out to the barn to feed hay and water, as he has been doing when his back allows. When I showed up to milk goats after feeding the horses, there was a note on the counter from Johnny: "Looks like Ginseng had a baby today." Ginseng is the doe I'd bred to freshen in June who had come back in heat so I figured wasn't pregnant. She did not look in the least pregnant, and I had been paying no attention to her. She had a single doe kid while we were at the coast. Both mother and daughter are doing just fine in spite of me.

That surprise led to more adjustments for the farm sitter for this weekend. Neighbor/friend Megan who has become a most wonderful farm sitter for us, took all my hurried and numerous email changes in stride... one llama escaped into the riding arena yesterday, somehow, so various gates and fences had to be adjusted; a chicken hatched two chicks who needed separate treatment; and Ginseng was now in the kidding pen, with her kid. Among other things.

Thanks to Megan doing chores last night while we drove to Valley of the Giants, we arrived in time to do something before going to bed. Johnny suggested we hike the Valley of the Giants trail. This is the guy who has barely been able to get out of his chair for months. But he was feeling good so we started off... He made it the whole way around the loop trail with no problem. And we have photos to prove it. With his new camera, Johnny took photos to prove I was there, too. I can never resist hugging big trees.

The next morning at 4 a.m., (this morning), Johnny hiked in to my first Breeding Bird Survey stop with me, a half mile of clambering over and under brush in the dark. That was a bit much, I think, but he survived to drive me to my other 49 stops on this Father's Day Sunday. Here he is at the end of our route, getting a Father's Day call from Steve and Munazza... which kept dropping because we were up in the mountains where cell phones are not happy.
And now, back home 2 1/2 hours of driving later, Johnny is out washing vehicles while I'm collapsed at the computer. Maybe he wants to make sure he has used his back up thoroughly before surgery day after tomorrow.

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