Monday, March 30, 2020


Gambel's Quail
As I watch lines around stores form and snowbirds fleeing the city in the thousands to get back to their doctors in their home states, I stand on the sidelines watching humanity unwind.  Meanwhile, bird migration is happening on schedule as if nothing was really happening, giving me a false sense of security.  I am absolutely fascinated by it all. 

Copulating Killdeer
I counter crowds by finding my secret spaces to find birds.  I run to all the places I need to go before quarantine takes hold. I pick up house and garden project stuff.  I get the oil change done.  I visit Holly at the bamboo ranch to get my plants for spring planting.  And for the most part, I am ready to stay indoors full time. People are no different from birds.  They also have habits that can be predicted. 

Great Egret

As of today, Covid-19 has killed more than 2000 Americans in the US. Globally, it has killed so many more people. It's quite a show watching this "President" and his Corona task force deal with this crippling blow to the US. And now I watch this house of cards finally collapse around him at the cost of his supporters and everyone else who lives in this country. I cannot believe that some people think this is just a hoax!  

Curve-billed Thrasher
I'm not angry anymore.  I just don't care.  I feel for those infected.  If I get it, I'll be okay as well.  Humanity needs a shaking up. We have been abusive and complacent in this world.  I try to do my best to make progress.  I switched out all plastic bags this year for cool grocery purses that I can reuse over and over again. I got rid of plastic bottles for a hydroflask.  But the environmental damage Trump has done to the US is unforgivable. And now, here we are with this disease thanks in part to poaching and the illegal trade market in China. Middle and western African countries are going to take yet another hit on top of all the other things they have been dealing with like HIV, Ebola, bad economies, etc etc.  We are all connected.  And we are all to blame. 

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

I also think that there is more about this disease we DON'T know like when did it really start?  The first US case was reported January 21st.  NOW, let's go back to October when I traveled to Oregon.  If you've been following this blog, you might remember that I had a severe illness for a couple months.  I went to the ER twice.  The doctor's had said everything was fine.  I experienced GI issues, difficulty breathing doing easy things and in November and December, I had the desire to just die. 

Black-throated Sparrow
I am now feeling better.  There is still a smaller issue, but I went to the doctor again this past week to hopefully obtain the last bit of antibiotics I need to take out the last bit of this GI issue. Thousands of dollars and no answers to every single test they had done on me really made me frustrated. 

Anna's Hummingbird

Now let's fast track after winter break during the month of January.  Students were getting sick for more than several days.  In fact, they were out for weeks at my school.  I know this because all the teachers spoke about it.  We didn't get all the make up work in until that first week of March!  In my 24 years of teaching, I have NEVER had a flu take out that many kids for that amount of time.  Our attendance specialist was overloaded with absentee calls from parents.  The last three weeks of January and first week in February were terrible. This wasn't an ordinary flu.  Several students also lost their parents.  It's natural to lose a parent sometimes, but to have several students lose a mom or dad in a semester was not only sad and devastating but horrifying.    

female Anna's Hummingbird at my feeder
THEN, a teacher who is always healthy had an issue the last week of January.  She was sitting at her desk working when a student came up to ask her a question.  As he was speaking to her, some of his spittle hit her lips.  She remembered being grossed out by this and told me about it.  The next day, she couldn't function and disappeared for 4 days!  We were worried about her, but she came back the following week her normal crazy self. 

a very furry Nova chills on top a stack of freshly cleaned bathroom towels. 
Now if you're saying, "Chris but......" First, let me say this. These are just observations from a teacher of 24 years. Not fact, just observations. Here's the thing.  I work at a school where parents have weird jobs.  One student proudly told me her dad had just come back from Wuhan on a business trip after it was announced that the virus began there. We weren't taking it as serious back then. People travel over winter break and it doesn't take much for a disease to cross over and begin its work. Now these are just things that I began piecing together since my own mortality scare in October.  I NEVER get sick.  I don't trust this government we have now because they lie all the time.  I think things were building up to this moment back in January.  It was the silent enemy hitting pockets of humanity.  Now, there's no avoiding it.  In Arizona, we still can't get tested unless we are showing all the symptoms.  Trump is an idiot. We DO NOT have enough testing kits and WE ARE NOT ready. And now the US will pay the ultimate price.  But sure, Bozo.  Throw money at us.  That will fix everything!

Nova helps me
"Why don't you get tested now?"  Well because ONE I can't. There's not enough testing kits out there. And only people exhibiting the symptoms can get a test.  TWO.  I don't want to get reinfected again.  Hospitals, cruise ships, crowds and planes are a germ fest! And there are still people who want to continue their flight or cruise!  Unbelievable!  And how are children's daycares still open?  I live next door to one and there are still kids playing outside?!  I have a deep appreciation for the health workers, grocery store clerks and law enforcement agencies putting their lives at risk helping the public get through this crisis.  

Great Blue Heron at El Rio Preserve in Marana
I asked my students online what has been the greatest silver lining about doing their work at home.  It was reassuring to hear things like, "I get to spend more time with my family." or "I can learn at my own pace and take breaks when I need them." and of course the ever popular teenage response, "I get to sleep in!".  Some things never change. 

There were other responses that made me smile like, "I get to see your cats more Profe. I love your cats."  LOL!  It's true.  While I'm doing zoom or doing a video segment, I have cats who like to "help" me out.  One of the universal responses to that silver lining question was, "I get to spend more time with my dog or cat."  That made me smile. 

My Cooper's Hawk ate one of my Ladder-backed Woodpeckers
Finally, I am enjoying this quarantini moment in my life.  I am "forced" to enjoy living at home.  I am "forced" to work on my home.  I am "forced" to bird from my yard. I am "forced" to garden at home.  I never had enough time to do it all.  Now I have all the time in the world!  I choose to see the positive in this all.  It's a new challenge.  My birding has turned me into being a robin stroker...totally appropriate for the moment. And it's a treasure hunt. A game.  How many birds can I find in Pima county?  How do I stay away from the evil sickly humans who don't stand 6 feet away from each other? Seriously. And avoid the terrible people who are rude to each other in lines? This is a living video game! Avoid the crazy man who runs over the worker with his cart because there is no toilet paper(true story).  Oh it's a human shit show out there full of beautiful, sad and stupid human stories. On the plus side, gas couldn't be cheaper!

The White-winged Doves are returning to my yard again!
Spring migration is in full swing here in the desert southwest.  We all secretly whisper to each other that we are so lucky to live here because there's a lot of open spaces and a lot of birds!  But deep down, I know summer is going to be here in NO TIME!  Trump said that the virus should be gone by Easter.  Okay buddy.  Then he said it should be gone by summer because it gets warmer outside. He's a smart guy that one.  However, 115 degrees is hot and the virus has a difficult time living outside the body at certain temps.  Heck, a human can't live outside in 115 degrees for very long:) 

I head out with Celeste to do some night birding.  We listen for Elf Owls and Common Poorwills
And the other silver lining?  I control my eating.  I'm not driving an hour and half every day to school.  I can teach from my catio or side garden OR office.  Even better?  I can go for a walk in the morning like I normally would.  And I'm losing weight again!  I control HOW I do my job.  Not vice versa.  This pandemic is going to change so many things about how we do our jobs.  I'm hoping I can teach online for most of the week with 2 days of teacher supervision to make sure that students aren't cheating. And that they also get their time to socialize.  They did mention missing that aspect of school.  But I gotta tell you all.  I don't miss the classroom discipline part or the drug issues that plague most of the schools here in the US.  That's on the parents now.  I think some of them miss us:) Our schools in AZ are closed now for the rest of the year. I think everyone is in the honeymoon mode right now but it will slowly sink in as the pandemic wraps around our city more and graduations are cancelled.  Right now, everyone is acting like it's no big deal in Tucson. And that's how this disease is spreading.

A Great Egret flies over my head at Agua Caliente Park
Please stay healthy.  Spend lots of your time with your furry friends.  If you have a spouse, smile at them from across the house from time to time.  Maybe check in with them for dinner?  Wait!  Is that what dinner is all about?  Touching base with the ones you love?  What a great idea? Yes.  Some old traditional values still stick and are time honored.  How cool is THAT in this ever changing world?!  Until next time......I'm hoping:)


  1. More great words and images to lift the spirits, Chris. Thank you. If I'm lucky enough to come out of the other end of this (and I'm working on it!) it will be interesting to see what the world looks like post-Covid-19. I'm sure that it will be very different!

    Look after yourselves - and your delightful cats - - - Richard

    1. LOL!!!! You will. It sounds like you both are taking this seriously. I just think if people have clean hygiene and limit their time around people, it'll be fine. I should really say minimize. What you can't avoid are the surfaces! Not touching a surface is harder than one thinks. But you can still go for drives! That's my favorite part watching people from inside my car:) I don't like wearing a face mask though. It's hard to breath in those.

  2. A thought provoking post Chris. The photos are beautiful. We live in very frightening times. Stay safe and well and take care.

    1. You do the same. I'm hoping that you can still wander the pastures!

  3. Stay healthy Chris ant take care and let's all be positive and hold till it's over.

  4. Yes things will definitely change when this is said and done. Unfortunately predictions are that it will return in the fall when the weather cools down. Most of my family can work from home but my youngest works at the local grocery store. He has some some nasty stories of people behaving badly. Luckily you have Nova to keep you grounded.

    1. Yes! The things your son has probably seen has been terrifying. There are some crazy people out there. I appreciate people like your kiddo for helping keep the public stocked and fed. It's not an easy job. Hopefully he will be compensated for putting his life, and families, on the line during this time period. I love my kitties. They keep me balanced.

  5. I find your Oct illness sad and frightening. A virus is a magnificent little creature when you stop to think about it. How many decades have doctors said I can't give you anything you have a cold. It will go away. They mutate and plague us every year in new ways. This plague is indeed frightening and we need strong leaders who have planned for emergencies like this.

    1. It is! It was! What's good about the US is that several leaders are naturally surging to the top. While our current one is bumbling idiot who repeats words like scarf a million times because he doesn't know anything. I say just let the professionals speak. He looks dumber each day. Stay healthy!

  6. I am the kind to appreciate stability and continuity so bird migration would be quite welcome to me. Thanks for sharing your lovely photos with us.

    Your link is a great addition to 'My Corner of the World' this week! Thanks for linking up.

    My Corner of the World

    1. Thank you Betty for hosting! Be safe out there!

  7. There really is so much we don't know about this virus - so many conspiracy theories. I personally don't believe it originated from the Wuhan seafood market. I just pray that this nightmare will be over soon. Too many lives lost!

    Thank you for brightening the day with your beautiful photos amid this darkness.

    1. Agreed! There is A LOT we don't know. I sleep. I wake up and then remember....or yeah, day 14 of lockdown. This will motivate me to stay out of jail forever. LOL. Never had the desire in the first place to go to one. Just a thought, if quarantine drives people mad, what would it be like to be in a jail?! No thank you. Although it's probably the safest place in the world right now.

  8. I am visiting your blog for the first time from My Corner of the World. Wow, you are a spectacular nature photographer. I was just outside today in our still-snowy world, and was glad to see a couple of Song Sparrows have returned to our stream. Thanks for the uplifting photos (except for the victim woodpecker). I hope we will get through this with the help of some good leadership from state governors and medical professionals. Stay well!

    1. Thank you for stopping by Angie! I miss the snow. I mean, I grew up in it and think it's quite beautiful. So right now especially I can feel the quarantine blues from being stuck inside the house. I love our Song Sparrows. I am fortunate to be here in AZ, but summer is coming and then you'll be the fortunate one:)

      You are absolutely correct. Our state leadership is better than the one at the federal level. Although I like the medical professionals at the top of this country. They look like good people.

      You do the same. Stay well!


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