From the window on the second floor we searched the rooftops and telephone poles behind our home once more. “Whoa! What was that?” I said loudly.
Mimic briefly let his eyes leave his notes. “What? Where?”
“I don’t know. I saw something black fly by. – Whoa, there’s another one!”
“Black?” asked Mimic. He answered his own question, jotting his words as he spoke. “Probably a Great-tailed Grackle. They’re not really black though.”
“Oh. Well they have a great tail though, right?” I asked jokingly.
He dismissed my question and answered his. “Yes, that’s what they were. See over there. They’re on that telephone line above that house.”
“Yes, I see them. Have you ever seen a ‘not so great’ tailed grackle?”
“No.” My joke fell flat. “But some male grackles lose part of their tail when fighting other males.” He continued. “See there’s a female next to him, she’s a little smaller and browner.”
The birds had come closer. With my telephoto lens in hand, I zoomed in. The morning sky was a bluish grey. You could almost see the air outside; still, cold and wet. I framed my shot, hoping for a Kodak moment.
Click – I took the shot. Click – I took another.
The first bird of the year to be photographed was none other than the Great-tailed Grackle. The birds that had resembled pepper flakes, just moments ago while much further away, had now been clearly identified, captured on camera and counted.