Almost Birding

I spent much of the day repairing the section of the fence that was blown down in Friday night’s wind storm.

It wasn’t as painful as replacing roof shingles because I didn’t have to bend over nearly as much, but, like most repairs, it was full of its own small frustrations.

I discovered that it was nearly impossible to dig up the concrete that encased the downed post because I’d managed to build an extensive raised bed over part of the concrete. That necessitated offsetting the post a good six inches, which, in turn, meant that the eight foot long stringer I’d just purchased were six inches too short, thus requiring another trip across town to buy to ten foot stringers that needed to be chopped down to eight feet, six inches long.

It didn’t help much that it was only about 37 degrees at its warmest, making it difficult to pick up the innumerable nails I had to first remove, and, then replace with wood screws when I reassembled the fence. Still, the work went as fast as could be expected, and the fence is secure enough I can leave the doggy-door open during the day when we go to Leavenworth next week.

Of course, a thorough inspection of the fence revealed that the back section was also considerably damaged, though not enough to flatten it. Tomorrow I will reinforce it, and after everyone has left after Christmas vacation I will set to work fixing that section, too.

The day wasn’t an entire waste, though, as it turned out to be one of the best birding days in months, probably because I didn’t have a camera with me. First, I was visited by three beautiful blue jays in full dress blues. Shortly afterwards, I was visited by a pair of Red-Shafted Flickers.

The day was capped by another visit from our Sharp-Shinned Hawk, which despite my attempts to chase it off refused to leave the yard after it chased a black-capped chickadee into the bamboo shrubs. I was surprised it didn’t leave until I got within two feet of it. Then it flew off a short distance and sat glaring down at me from the telephone line until I went back to work. It was nearly ten minutes later when I saw it swooping down after the chickadee flew out of its shelter. I didn’t see it if it actually caught its prey, but I had to admire its persistence.