One of the nice things about working in the ‘burbs is that when you step outside for a break on a nice day you’re likely to see something besides concrete and hear something besides traffic. In my case, what I like to see and hear on my breaks is birds. So here’s what I found as soon as I stepped outside the door this afternoon:

Mockingbird I

I know it’s hard to tell, but that’s a mockingbird on the corner of our building. The thing I like about mockingbirds is that when you encounter one you get to hear not just one song but imitations of a dozen or more. This guy does a pretty decent imitation of a blue jay, an even better one of a goldfinch, and several more that I don’t know. I’m a little surprised that he hasn’t started imitating red-winged blackbirds, because there seems to be a kind of RWB highway running right over our building. Just while I was listening to this fellow, I must have seen a half-dozen following exactly the same flight path right over me.

Mockingbird II

That’s the same guy in his other favorite spot in a tree right in front of the entrance, and me testing the limits of my new camera’s zoom. This one (Pentax Optio 33WR) has a 3x optical and 2.8x digital; as you can see, the digital is better than some but still not really very useful.


This is one of two hollows right behind work. A couple of weeks ago I went back there and picked up a whole garbage bag’s worth of trash, but new stuff blows in periodically. Nonetheless, it’s quite a nice little spot.

Copse and meadow

This is the view looking further back away from work. The part in the foreground is obviously there because of the power lines overhead; the part behind just seems to be undeveloped. There’s also a small pond to the left of this picture; the combination of water and trees and no humans makes this bird central. At one point there were five grackles visible in the leftmost tree, a couple of field sparrows trying to outdo one another with their calls, goldfinches, at least one cardinal, and I can’t even guess how many RWBs buzzing all over the place.

All in all, a very pleasant respite from indoorsy work…which I should get back to.