Monday, June 1, 2009


He came in from outside with a puzzled look on his face. He asked if I had heard it. No, I had not.

"You didn't hear that wabba wabba?"

Again I said, "No, I did not."

It was early morning and I had yet to drink my coffee.

He went back outside and walked around the deck looking up into the sky.

Again he came in and asked if I had heard that wabba wabba sound.

The day passed with another look to the sky and the question about the sound from above.

Fishing came and went. The wind was strong and the bite was poor; something about a frontal system coming in. Rather than took to the sky for wabba, wabba, I scanned each cranny of the lake of many islands for loons. Certainly 275 acres were enough to host at least a pair.

We did find the loons and watched and photographed one clowning and preening for a possible mate for most of an hour. Although watching a bass walk on the water is truly exciting for me, photography is more likely ahead of it. Heaven.

Clouds came up and with five minutes to spare, we were driving back to camp in a big drop rain. It stopped just as we pulled in and I came inside to upload the pictures to the computer and dump them out of the memory stick; promising as soon as I previewed once, I would make dinner.

Tom was outside parking the boat and pulling out the tackle. He came in and asked for the camera. He had heard the wabba-wabba and wanted to get a picture.

The bird flew high, in circles. It went up high in the air with its tail scrunched, then dove with it acting as a rudder. We made additional notes about it, it had short wings, a white under belly, and it made a wabba-wabba sound. The photograph only showed a speck in the middle of the image.

I was invited outdoors. I listened as he pointed out where the bird was. I head wabba wabba. It was real. A bird book in the rack showed no book with those sort of clues. Every page I turned I look at the sound of the bird on the page. Kit, cheer, groans, grunts, clicks, but no wabba-wabba.

Still on the quest, Tom took the high power field glasses out and watched. Another clue, it had a long beak like a shore bird. Tom picked up the book again and read, not the sounds they make, rather the mating ceremony.

It appears that early in the nuptials, the female does the flying and diving first. The wabba-wabba we heard was not 'talking' rather the sound of the air threw the feathers as the dove. There was no sound as they ascended. Our little bird book had not failed us, it was a SNIPE!

Upon arriving home, I looked in the BIRDS OF AMERICA book published by Double Day and Company, Inc. in 1917. The illustrations are beautiful paintings and the information is none richer that our book.
Have a mystery? Stay on task.

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