I love "found money." You know, that extra $20 you find in your pokect, or in a hidden corner of your wallet; $20 that you didn't think you had, and now you don't know what to do with it. The only thing I like better than "found money" (well, one of the only things) is "found birding." You're stuck in the house, or at work, or with the family, and all of a sudden you unexpectedly get the chance to get out and go birding. Found birding.
Today I woke up in Nashville to commence on my long-planned business trip, only to discover that the matter had essentially resolved itself, and rather favorably, I might add. Lawyers and magicians are the only two classes of people (almost wrote "asses"-Freudian slip!) who can make an entire week disappear with a snap of their fingers. So I resolved a few lingering issues and had a nice barbecue lunch at Jack's on Broadway and planned my race to the airport. I also wandered through a couple of "evergreened" plazas in downtown Nashville and was surprised to find a Carolina Wren, but not so surprised to find a small flock of White-throated Sparrows. What is it with White-throated Sparrows and urban landscaped migrant traps? This is exactly the same kind of stuff I find them in during migration in Chicago, and they try to breed in those sort of areas, too. I know it's the same thing in NY and Toronto, during migration, at least.
Anyway, I hopped onto my flight and got back to Chicago with just a wee bit of light left, hence I had an hour or so of "found birding." I though about heading to Northerly Island, but that would have wasted some of my light, so I just walked over to Olive Park instead.
There were a few birds around, the usual suspects for this time of year: 18 Dark-eyed Juncos, 25 White-throated Sparrows, 1 Hermit Thrush, 1 American Robin, and 3 Song Sparrows. Birding will start to get really slow here and at NI until spring, unless a big flock of diving ducks or a Snowy Owl show up. So I usually head off to the burbs and start doing CBC scouting, which is how I'll spend most of my local birding time until early 2006.