polioptila (from polios, gray, and ptilon, feather) caerulea (blue)
Saturday, May 2, 1981 — 1:00 pm
Barrington, Illinois — Crabtree Nature Center
Sal and I allowed ourselves to be talked into working as Sparks leaders at Des Plaines Bible Church during the 80/81 club year. It was not fun. I soon figured out that Sparks-age children were not my gift. I couldn’t reason with them, so I couldn’t control them. I never found a way of coming down to their level so I could communicate with them.
My college roommate Larry and his fiancée (now wife) Jan also worked in Sparks. Jan, Sal and I took a few of the kids to Crabtree to fulfill one of the requirements in their handbooks. We walked around with them for a while, and then the girls took them home. I stayed.
I was walking the path through the woods along Bulrush Pond near the blind. I heard a high-pitched song coming from high in the trees. I spotted the Gnatcatcher flitting very rapidly branch to branch high overhead. It paused every few seconds to give its song, a short, buzzy trill or occasionally three buzzes with the middle one on a different pitch.