Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Texas treasures 5

While traveling to and from south Texas for the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival, I spent a fair amount of time in airports and on planes -- which doesn't bother me. Those scenarios let me catch up on reading, such as Luke Dempsey's book "A Supremely Bad Idea."

Dempsey's tales about "three mad birders and their quest to see it all" made me laugh and nod my head in recognition. It's a good read.

As a book editor, Dempsey knows how to string words together well. This bit caught my attention:

I knew very little about Florida. To me it was merely a gun-shaped slice of Africa that some time before I was born floated across the Atlantic and snuggled below Georgia like a cat under a bed.
Love it.

I was intrigued to read more of the story behind a photo that won an award (first place in the digiscoping category) in WildBird's 2007 photo contest, and the image appears in the book.

Out at sea, an osprey circled and suddenly plunged, plucking from the surf a good-sized fish, and we watched as it heavily flew back to land. Just when we thought the bird would disappear, it suddenly curved back and landed on one of the metal grills not a hundred feet from us. The fish still squirmed in the grip of the bird's talons, until the fish slowed its thrashing enough to start being eaten. By this point, we had our scoped trained on the spectacle and marveled at the amazing scenes the lens offered up. Donna took lots of photographs as the fish's mass decreased and the bird's increased. One of these would subsequently win first prize in a photo competition in WildBird magazine -- not to be confused with the less reputable British publication of the same name.

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