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Date: 6 May 2015. Songbird in Water.

A friend and I were chatting on the phone the other day. As is the norm, I was watching the world outside my home. While looking out the starboard pilothouse door I noticed a small piece of what I initially thought was driftwood. It was floating with the tide, and partially above the surface.

Artists will know that interesting objects have Project Potential and this did so for me immediately. When I looked carefully I was surprised to realize it was a small bird. She was not a water fowl and her buoyancy was definitely not up to snuff.
 


I'm hoping my friend will forgive me for hanging up so quickly. I immediately went to the cockpit where I keep the Skipper Rescue Device, aka a dip net.
 

It's always a good idea to have a dip net conveniently accessible when you live aboard. Also a boathook is another safety item that you don't need until you need it Right Now. Having a place to store them that is both out of the way and easy to get to is yet another thing to consider as you stow gear on your boat.


When the bird saw me at the pilothouse door less than three feet from her she attempted to get away. Initially she could not raise herself from the water. I was very concerned.

Fortunately(?) I frightened her enough with the net that she managed to get herself airborne, if only barely! She was less than a foot above the water and just made it to the shoreline where she disappeared into the brush.

Of course I did not pursue her for more pictures. The poor thing needed her rest. I tried to find her with my eyes and with the binoculars. She blended well with the shoreline and thus was safe. I could not see her.
 

She is hiding somewhere in here:

 

Next I pulled out my handy-dandy bird book to try and identify her. The Birds of North America is my go-to book when I try to figure out what specific visitor I had this time. I'm not sure. This is the page that I think holds her picture:
 


Though her coloring reminded me of a dove, she was much smaller. I suspect I saw a young Purple Martin as there are a ton of them around here. C-Quarters Marina is a Purple Martin Sanctuary complete with multiple martin houses on the property. That marina is just around the river bend from me. I can see C-Quarters from Seaweed.
 

One of the Purple Martin houses at C-Quarters:

 

 

The little bird had a bit of red on her beak and feet, maybe!

 

My glimpse of her in flight was very brief.

 


Well, my immature purple martin theory is shot to heck. The tail feathers are wrong. Maybe.

 


So there you have the information, such as it is. She is small, approximately five inches from beak to tail. Though my glimpse of her in flight was extremely brief, I believe her beak and feet were red.

Life afloat is ever changing. It's amazing how much goes on if only I take the time to look outside.

Does anyone have a better idea as to what kind of bird she is?
What do you know about my little visitor?

COMMENTS:
 

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