Snipe hunting with Google

Spent my Sunday afternoon at the Trinity River Audubon Center south of downtown Dallas.  I'd been meaning to truck my bucket down there ever since it opened in 2008.  I wanted to see the LEED-certified green building housing the Audubon Society offices, meeting spaces, hands-on education experience, and science lab classrooms.  I'd read about the innovative use of materials and sustainability design.  The center was reclaimed from an illegal dump to make a healthy mix of wetland, prairie, and forest habitats. 

What a gem!  The pieces fit together perfectly...building to boardwalk to trail.  Although I was visiting on a windy November Sunday with few people around, the center served 18,000 school children last year.  I can imagine the kids' excitement when their schoolbus pulls into the unloading zone!

I spent two and a half hours walking the trails and boardwalks to the Trinity River overlook, around ponds, through wetlands, into the forest, and alongside the prairie.  Another delightful hour was spent downloading and editing photos.

The center's website includes a checklist of common birds, thank heaven.  Using the list I compared my photos and memories against my National Geographic and Golden bird books, a new library Stokes field guide, and Google images.

I caught a glimpse, but not a photo, of a chunky brown bird with a long beak between the reeds and a fallen tree.  The bird's feathers camouflaged it perfectly when it stood still.  After studying the list and guides, I'm pretty sure I saw a Wilson's Snipe

Isn't a "snipe hunt" a rather mean trick played on gullible newbies?  I didn't know snipe were real birds.  Wikipedia suggests a snipe hunt is a "form of wild-goose chase ... also known as a fool's errand, ... a type of practical joke that involves experienced people making fun of credulous newcomers by giving them an impossible or imaginary task."  That sounds an awful lot like a definition for a church youth group retreat dare back where I come from.

This tiny bird was staying out of the wind on the trail leading to the river overlook.  I've spent a whole lotta time trying to make a positive ID.  Although the accents on the rump and wing look greenish, I think this adorable bird is a yellow-rumped warbler.

Google doesn't lead me to any explanations about the expression "truck my bucket".  Obviously it is a sanitized version of "haul my ass".  So I just got my derriere on down I45 and Loop 12/East Ledbetter to the Audubon Center. 

A friend offered me a dozen coffee cans today, but I had to turn her down.  My storage space for art supplies, even primo items, is seriously decreased.  Her offer reminded me of Jim Lehrer's books about the One-Eyed Mack, the Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma, including Kick the Can.

"Kicking the bucket" was an expression known to me by age eight.  Although I still haven't seen the "Bucket List" movie, I get the basic concept of doing things before you kick the bucket.  Glad to check the Trinity River Audubon Center off my bucket list.

Now for my preschoolers ready to listen to some stories, please skooch your bizoozies back one skoochie so everyone will be able to see the pictures.  Or just truck your buckets. 

© 2010 Nancy L. Ruder


Kathleen said...

Oh, thanks for all these great expressions! Recently, my husband's bucket went numb from sitting at the computer too long. Is there a good expression for that?

Collagemama said...

My mom would have called that condition "numbbutt". Our students have an alphabet of wild animals. The letter N is for "numbat", a diurnal Australian marsupial that eats 20,000 termites a day. Numbats are pretty cute, striped critters. I am always afraid I will say "numbbutt" instead of "numbat" to a preschooler. http://www.australianfauna.com/numbat.php


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