Since I last posted, when I quit chemotherapy, things haven’t changed a whole lot. But I do see little improvements in my condition. I can walk a little further without getting winded; over the last few days the vertigo has receded a bit and only seems to get triggered if I bend over. Every tiny improvement helps.
Today, I was literally in tears when my friend Roxanne took me out to the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area. I hadn’t been outside in Nature for a MONTH, and was getting very depressed about that. We were out for about 5 hours, and because we stayed on the auto tour loop I never had to get out of the car. The vertigo wasn’t as issue as long as she didn’t drive too fast taking turns… and was only triggered when I needed to use a porta potty and had to bend over to lift the lid on the toilet. Hah!
The other issue for me was that I catch a chill really easily now – I don’t know what that’s about – so I was in my heavy coat and knit cap. When we’re birding from the car, we keep the windows open so the camera can see out without obstruction. It was maybe 53º outside, but with windchill it felt like 47º. Luckily, Roxanne has a car that lets you set different inside temperatures for the driver and passenger, so she set her side of the car to 66º and I set mine to78º and we were comfy even with the windows open.
And, oh my gosh, as I said, I was literally in tears with happiness when we first headed out to the bypass. And I was surprised to hear the sound of my own voice laughing over our in-car chatter as we drove along the auto tour route. I literally hadn’t heard myself laugh for over a month. The chemo has taken so much from me, it was nice to get a little joy back. Nature heals…literally. Before I left the house I took my blood pressure and pulse. They were 141/81 and 129. (My pulse has run real fast since chemo.) When I got back home from being out in nature, they were 127/87 and 113. I needed that sooooo much.
CLICK HERE for the album of photos. I may add more to this as I process more of the photos.
While we were out we saw over thirty different species of birds, but the coolest thing we found were American Bitterns. They’re somewhat secretive birds that usually hang out in the high grasses and tules, so we’re happy when we can spot one. Today, we spotted FIVE of them. I was so excited!
We also came across two young, “orphaned” Snow Geese in different ponds. There was no flock of Snow Geese anywhere around them, so we surmised the youngsters couldn’t keep up with the flock and either dropped out when the flock was flying over the bypass, or had been left behind when the flock left the bypass. They seemed healthy enough; I hope they’ll be okay.
We did see quite a few dead birds in the water, and I wondered if they had been affected by avian flu.
As I said, we were out for about 5 hours and got back to the house around 1:30 PM. It was SUCH a nice day; I hope to be able to get out again soon.
- American Bittern, Botaurus lentiginosus
- American Coot, Fulica americana
- American Kestrel, Falco sparverius
- American Pipit, Anthus rubescens
- American Wigeon, Anas americana
- Ash, Oregon Ash, Fraxinus latifolia
- Bisnaga, Visnaga daucoides
- Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
- Brewer’s Blackbird, Euphagus cyanocephalus
- Cinnamon Teal, Anas cyanoptera
- Common Gallinule, Gallinula galeata
- Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
- Gadwall Duck, Mareca strepera
- Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias
- Great Egret, Ardea alba
- Greater White-Fronted Goose, Anser albifrons
- Greater Yellowlegs, Tringa melanoleuca
- Grebe, Pied-Billed Grebe, Podilymbus podiceps
- Green-Winged Teal, Anas carolinensis
- Gull, Herring Gull, Larus argentatus
- Gull, Larus sp.
- House Finch, Haemorhous mexicanus
- Least Sandpiper, Calidris minutilla
- Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
- Meshweaver Spider, Family: Dictynidae
- Northern Harrier, Marsh Hawk, Circus hudsonius
- Northern Pintail, Anas acuta
- Northern Shoveler, Anas clypeata
- Pigeon, Rock Pigeon, Columba livia
- Red-Shouldered Hawk, California Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus elegans
- Red-Tailed Hawk, Western Red-Tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis calurus
- Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
- Rose, California Wild Rose, Rosa californica [pink]
- Saltbush, Big Saltbush, Atriplex lentiformis
- Snow Goose, Chen caerulescens
- Snowy Egret, Egretta thula
- Sparrow, House Sparrow, Passer domesticus
- Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Passerculus sandwichensis
- Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Melospiza melodia
- Sparrow, White-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys
- Tule, Common Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus
- Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
- Western Meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta
- Wren, Marsh Wren, Cistothorus palustris
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