Thursday, April 17, 2008

Field Notes from the Past #13

Being a continuation of field-journal entries from the springs of 1962 and 1963 when I was a budding ornithologist of just 15 or 16 growing up in the rural village of Galien in Berrien County, Michigan.
April 17 [1962], Tuesday

For the second day, no [Eastern] Bluebirds were seen near house #2, although I searched carefully in the immediate area of the house. A Song Sparrow was seen singing from a perch on the wires almost directly above the house. It may be that the bluebirds have been driven of[f] by the Song Sparrow because they were on his territory. I searched in the area of the house again in th eevening, but again found no bluebirds.

I saw my first Red Fox in a woodland swamp early in the morning. The fox was seen carefully for several seconds so that I could see the white tip on the tail and the black feet.

Another flock of [Canada] Geese were seen flying overhead again today. There were 23 of them, flying in a long, trailing line.


Blogger Misty said...

Mr. Trapp,

I find it curious that few readers have commented on your youthful field notes. As a birder and longtime reader of your blog, I'm intrigued by the seeming genesis of a life-long interest and career. As a former teacher, I find myself wondering how your peers viewed your interests, how you integrated your birding enthusiasm with other social/academic/athletic [you mentioned a baseball team] aspects of your youth.

It's a long way from the railroad side of a small town to the outer Aluetians to DC. Glad you made the trek. Wish more of my students had been able to thus persevere.


April 17, 2008 7:40 PM  
Blogger John L. Trapp said...


I appreciate the thoughtful and insightful comments of a former teacher.

I was never a particularly good student in high school, but was totally focused on my interest in birds (something that I didn't share with any of my peers), acquiring and reading college texts on birds at a very early age. At some point in high school it dawned on me that if I were to achieve my dream of working with birds that I would need a college degree. Even during my first two years of college, I found it a struggle to be even an average student, but I was too stubborn to give up.

I was particularly shy and withdrawn during my youth. For me, attending a small high school was an advantage in that it allowed me to participate in activities that I might not have had the opportunity to participate in at a larger school. Participating in sports helped build my confidence and taught me the value of team work.

I guess that I was one of those very people who know at a very early age what they want to do with their lives and had the opportunity to fulfill my dreams.

April 17, 2008 9:13 PM  

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