I finally had an entire day that I could spend outdoors. I went birding along Charleston Slough, in Baylands Nature Preserve on the Palo Alto / Mountain View border. Towards the end of my walk, I saw a man standing at the edge of Shoreline Pond and looking intently into a birding scope, and asked what he was looking at. “Barrow’s,” he said, meaning Barrow’s Goldeneye, a relatively uncommon bird. And there it was, swimming along with a small group of closely related Common Goldeneyes.
“Thanks for that,” I said. “That makes sixty species today, which is a big day for me.” (Real birders aim for over a hundred species in a day.)
We chatted for a bit, but the sun was setting, and he packed up and headed home. I slowly made my way back to my car, and on the way saw another five species of birds.
I spent all day outdoors. I saw a lot of birds. I mostly forgot about the pandemic. All in all, it was a good day.