These are serious people with serious tools to study the few gulls that float a hundred feet away. They hunch into binoculars so large and powerful that they can’t be used unless mounted on a serious tripod. With body language they let me know I’m am not wanted here; that I had better not pull out my life list and check off whatever bird that has drawn them to this edge of Cook Inlet.
I wait until one of them rises up from his Leopold scope and say, “Do you know about the sandhills?” Two of the long legged cranes were feeding along a slough just 200 feet away. Low angled morning sunlight made their brown feathered sides look as rich as mocha. “No,” the man replied, suddenly looking like a lover crushed when the woman with whom he wanted to elope failed to meet him at the train station.