[Tweeters] Inner Tube Birding, or A Different Sort of Pelagic

Joshua Glant josh.n.glant at gmail.com
Mon Jun 29 11:26:08 PDT 2015

Hello Tweets,

On June 18th, I had the privilege of inner-tubing across Lake Washington with my friend. Sliding over the water at 60 miles per hour is an exhilarating experience, for sure! We passed Renton (which of course reminded me of this winter's Palm Warbler), and then up towards Seward Park.

While passing between Martha Washington and Seward Park, about 800 yards offshore, we passed two Western Grebes in the middle of the lake. Though I couldn't see many details in the 60mph, no-glasses, water-spray blurry haze, I could see two elegant black and white birds with long necks that curved up and forward.

For the next minute, I thought less about the imminent risk of plunging into the lake and more about the sighting I had just had. Checking eBird later that night, I saw that one or two birds had been reported in recent weeks. But they're a pretty good lowland bird in June, apparently. And I saw them, while rushing by on an inner-tube!

Other birds I have seen while inner-tubing have included an eagle and a few crows, either soaring or flapping over the lake, respectively. Some other birds I imagine are likely to see may be Canada Geese, Mallards or Robins. Maybe a Killdeer, if I'm lucky. Although, come to think about it, I highly doubt that this frontier of birding will ever really catch on.

As I was getting on the inner-tube, I commented on my worries of painfully smacking into the water. "Don't worry," my friend's dad told me, knowing of my birding interests. "Think about is this way: for just a moment, you'll be able to fly like a bird!"

"What about when he hits the water?" My friend retorted. "Well," I said, "I'll become a seabird."

Fifteen minutes later, I spent a precious moment in flight, then bounced across the water like a penguin on ice.

Good birding (and may you make the most of your summer), Joshua Glant

Mercer Island, WA

Josh.n.glant at gmail.com

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