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September 8th, 2009 - Barnstorming on an Invisible Segway [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Marissa Lingen

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September 8th, 2009

I don't see how there can be two kinds of least bittern. I think one of them is the next-to-least. [Sep. 8th, 2009|03:30 pm]
Marissa Lingen
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On the list of things my grandfather cared about that I only care about indirectly because of him is birds. I am not fond of birds, mostly. Mostly I feel that birds and I are happiest if we keep our distance from each other. But Grandpa liked birds; he kept an eye out for raptors in particular when we were traveling, and when we were fully awake we almost never mistook his cries for, "Look, flying hogs!" Almost never.

So I picked up A Field Guide to the Birds: Eastern Land and Water Birds more or less at random from the top of my stacks of Grandpa books, and oh, you guys, you guys, I may as well be in Narnia here. Or worse, because I have some notion of the characteristics of different kinds of dwarfs and dryads. It started with "Loons: Gaviidae," which is very well and good. I am a northern girl, and we know loons up here, and we have a shopping area named after them, where I have purchased Finnish chocolate and pleasantly shaped rocks and other useful and harmonious things. But before too long we got to sentences like, "Fulmars are more robust than Shearwaters," and I couldn't help but thinking this was all a complex world-building sort of scheme, where the Procellariidae were in contention with the Sulidae for the Emperor's ear. I have no idea how I'm going to get through the rest of this without my brain on auto-pilot making up the differences between the Green Heron and the Yellow-Crowned Night Heron in magical terms, except, of course, that if you are a heron who has been caught by the Queen of Air and Darkness, we have it on good terms that the Yellow-Crowned Night Heron might be the kind to try to impregnate to save your own feathers, especially if you can get her to pull some sort of underwater rose along the way.

I am now wondering what stage of the egg-laying process would count for that.

I expect this will be much easier when I'm reading Grandpa's books about Marines, except it will probably be quite a bit more terrifying if it's not.
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