[Tweeters] My Ladder to Succsess

jeff gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Wed Feb 27 11:29:59 PST 2013

Yesterday I once again climbed my ladder to success. Successful wildlife viewing that is.

My ladder is an 8' orchard ladder; basically a ladder on one side and a pivoting pole on the other which allows it to be set up like a tripod - good on uneven ground. I've spent quite a bit of time up my ladder, usually pruning and trimming other peoples trees and shrubs. I see some pretty cool stuff when I'm up my ladder. Sitting atop it my eyes are about 11' off the ground. Standing, a few feet more. It gives one a different perspective.

Birds and other animals don't typically expect to find humans up off the ground. Why just yesterday I was pruning a great big Japanese Barberry in Snohomish, about 8' tall. I was up there clipping away, when a stunning male Anna's Hummingbird zoomed up about three feet from my face, his gorget picking up enough light from the gray sky to throw me a bright magenta flash. This is about the 4th time this has happened to me with Anna's when atop my ladder. They always seem to be a bit indignant that I'm somewhere I'm not supposed to be. Other birds also seem to be a bit perplexed to find me up a tree or at the top of a towering hedge. One day trimming a big hedge in Everett I was atop my ladder when a big Coyote trotted right by me into the nearby greenbelt. Didn't even look up. Didn't see me at all.

I've had similar results being up in a tree. One of my favorite experiences in that regard was back in September of 1974 while I was on my first big cross country birdwatching adventure. It was down near Galveston Texas in a park full of big spreading Live Oaks. The big horizontal branches of these incredible trees allowed one to comfortably lay down propped up against the trunk. Just kind of laying there up in the tree I got very close looks (binoculars not required) at quite a few warblers that were coming down in one of those migration 'waves' they get down there. When small movements betrayed me, the birds were very surprised to find me in a tree.

Yep, other animals have their habits of perception just like we do. Birders of course look up, and every which way,looking for them birds, but most folks don't. One thing I've often done while hiking alone is taking a rest break just a dozen feet or so off the trail. It is amusing to have other hikers walk right by without seeing me sitting there plainly visible; their attention right on the trail, or possibly on their conversations.

Jeff Gibson
Climbing to success in
Everett Wa, etc,

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