[Tweeters] Sober in Port Townsend

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Fri Dec 16 18:48:04 PST 2016

Well, it was cold day here near autumns end in Port Townsend.

Yup, it was chilly. While sunny all day the high was only in the mid-thirtys, with a wind-chill about 10 degree colder; it was pretty windy as I walked up Artillery Hill at Fort Worden. Getting out of the truck I was quickly cold, but step by step up the road on the South side of the hill, things got better. There was a little sweet-spot there, like Port Townsend in microcosm - there I was in the "wind-shadow" of the steep hill - a sunny spot of calm in the greater rain-shadow of PT. I heard a strange sounding Robin calling and wondered if it was drunk.

You see, it's the holiday season, and sometimes around here birds get inebriated eating fermented berries.(I even wrote a post about that once "Flying Single, Seeing Double" a few years ago). Once I was in a Madrone grove in California about this time of year, and it was full of crashing and clamoring drunk Robins, so hearing a funny Robin call got me hoping I'd see this phenomenon again since the big Madrones overhanging the sunny slope still retained some late bunches of red berries.

Well, maybe there was one drunk one, but all the rest seemed perfectly sober. Earlier I'd seen a circling flock of what seemed to be somewhat light-bellied birds from down below at the pier. "Bohemian Waxwings!" I thought excitedly, having never seen one (and after reading all the recent tweeters posts), but they were Starlings - with their waxwing-like flight. Oh well. It would have been great to have seen drunk bohemians, but the only bohemians I saw today were the people-type bohemians - Port Townsend is loaded with them.

Anyhoo, more and more Robins, and then Starlings, began piling into the Madrones, snorting down berries. This calm sunny spot was attracting all sorts of birds. All sober near as I could tell, and I was sober too.

Now, I know I've written all sorts of tweeters posts over the years about things like "My Favorite App" (beer), floating the idea of "International Drunk Birding Day", and watching birds while on a Peyote "vision quest". While I've also used other drugs and seen some birds, I don't want tweeters to think I can't bird while clean and sober. I've tried it and enjoyed it both times.

Just kidding. I've somehow managed to be sober for most of my better nature moments, probably not a coincidence. As of late, I've been totally sober - it is just how I'm living these days. It's seems to be OK.

Being sober, I did start coming up with ideas to deal with BWI's - people Birding While Intoxicated. If caught they could get some worthwhile community service chores, if they claimed in court: " judge, I wuz just burding at the time - really!" These unfortunates could be dressed in bright green jump suits to distinguish them from more common criminals, and put to work maintaining wildlife habitat. Of course, if you're driving when BWI - good luck with that. I suppose there also could be similar charges given to those DWB (Driving While Birding) folks who take foolish, and dangerous, chances driving (and parking) in pursuit of a larger list. After all, there is a lot of environmental labor that needs doing! Just sayin'.

Jeff Gibson

sober, in

Port Townsend Wa

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