i woke up at 5:00 in the morning so i could meet my mother at 6:00 on the corner of aberdeen avenue and mt.auburn street. i was taking her to her first mt.auburn cemetery birdwatching outing. the early morning temperature was in the 60's, not too warm and not too cold. i left the house with my camera and my binoculars. i got to the location close to 6:00 and found my mother already waiting for me. she said she got there by 5:30.
originally we were just going to park our bikes outside, but after seeing someone parking inside, we decided to follow suit. about a dozen people showed up, some as far as concord and sudbury. my mother and one other woman were the newbies. i consider the folks who show up to these early morning birdwatching outings to be pretty hardcore, the sort of people who can identify birds through song and sporting the best binocular equipments. most of them skew older as well, since it's retired people who have the most time for morning birdwatching, while others have to get to work.
my mother is a very casual birdwatcher. she's interested in birds, but have never really studied them enough to identity a handful of the most common ones (bluejays, cardinals, sparrows, robins). she's never gone out with other birdwatchers before, so this was all very new and exciting for her. she knew about these springtime birdwatching outings from my own experience. since she's up early most mornings to open the cafe and the mt.auburn cemetery is just along the way, it was easy to pay the cemetery a visit.
it was slow going at first, with not a lot of bird sightings, at least none of note (robins seem to be the predominant bird species). by mother even got a mosquito bite on her head. but slowly we began to spot more birds: black-throated green warbler, yellow-rumped warbler, black-and-white warbler, blackpoll warbler, baltimore oriole, red-wing blackbird, orchard oriole, gray catbird, wren, white-breasted nuthatch, phoebe, indigo bunting, scarlet tanager. i'd seen these birds before, but for my mother it was a first for all species. i was excited to spot the indigo bunting, only my 2nd time, and either 2-3rd time for a scarlet tanager. i overheard my mother excitingly shouting, "red!" when she finally spotted the tanager.
my mother was curious about the binoculars some of the other birdwatchers were carrying, that seemed much smaller than the ones we were using. i told her they might be small, but they were all expensive name brands with much better optics. she also forgot to bring the neck strap so had to carry her binoculars in her hands, which got heavy after a while. she was also utterly amazed that so many people could just identify a bird from the song.
by 8:00 we had enough of birding and made our way back to the entrance. i biked with her up to a point, before she went one way to the cafe while i went the other way back home.
* planting some seedlings in belmont: 1 cherry tomato, 1 best boy tomato, 2 thai basil, 2 eggplants, 1 hot pepper, relocated some wild-germinated morning glories
* moving the seedlings outside
* brady's deflategate punishment ($1 million fine, suspended 4 games, team fined $1 million as well, lost of draft picks 2016 and 2017).
* on my way home, picked up a used silver bike helmet someone discarded
* epsom salt bath, softening the skin enough so that i could pop the gross dermatitis blisters on my right hand