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Mostar, across the Neretva River Enjoyed a hearty breakfast this morning while listening to Lulu belting out 'To Sir with Love' ...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Mini-retirement Flying By

Blast! How can two weeks fly by that fast, without me getting neck whiplash?

Oh well. Got nothing done this weekend, but it was fun anyway. Birder buddy Don came in late Friday night. I was totally unprepared for company - La Chez Claire at its worse. The unassembled cabinet sprawled across the living room, cardboard everywhere, dishes piled high in the sink and me - unsure how things went to hell so fast without even a hand basket to show for it.

Still, we had fun. Saturday morning we headed east to Ice House Road to look for Mountain Quail and found none. Bugger. Then we headed for Markleeville in search of Pinion Jays, and found even less than none - but had a lovely little lunch at one of the tiny town's cafes. The big birder highlight was finding an American Dipper, bobbing it's bum along a Sierra Mountain stream. The bird was so far away it was like watching a ping-pong ball out for a swim - still, I was tickled that Don had managed to find the bird - only the second Dipper I've ever seen. This is astounding when one considers how often I've searched Sierra Streams without finding any Dippers. In future when visiting Sierra streams will just look for grey ping-pong balls & hope for the best.

Yes, I know, the bird is not much to look at, but
Dippers 'walk' under waterNow how cool is that? photo by Robin

We did hit one hot spot for birds, near a high mountain meadow where Mountain Chickadees, Clark's Nutcrackers (score!), Nuthatches and Brown Creepers & every jay, save for the ones we looked for, shot through fir & pine trees. Lastly, we drove into Nevada state, looking for Black-billed Magpies - suspiciously absent.

The day came to a splendid end when we returned to my house, then darted out again to Davis. We saw Man of La Mancha, the third of the Davis Musical Theater Company's season productions. I think it may have been their best yet. The staging was impressive - the Spanish Inquisition Jail with a humongous staircase that lowered periodically so evil guards could access their terrified prisoners.

In the lobby, before the play began I noticed the lead's photo on the list of cast members. He was Asian, and when a young Asian man is cast as an elderly Spanish man, you know, like Smucker's, he's got to be good! And yes, he was wonderful, his voice was rich. Also great was Quixote's adorable & fat squire Sancho and of course, Dulcinea was bedraggled and sweet. Damn. I wish my description of musicals could match my bird descriptions, but there you go. If the musicals want my full praise, singing is not enough, they had better sprout feathers too.

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