The end of June marked the beginning of a roving naturalist life. I don’t live in a house anymore. My home is my truck I’ve dubbed Alcyon in honor of my favorite bird, the belted kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon). On my green Tacoma pickup truck is my Fourwheelcamper popup. Here I am embarking yesterday from my friend Steve’s house in Missoula for my first journey, heading to Flagstaff, Arizona, where I’ll connect with my dear friend Sandra, seen here with our mutual favorite tree–the ponderosa pine and more specifically the ancient red-gold, vanilla-scented BIG ponderosa found in northeast Oregon (last summer’s first initial foray in Alcyon):
Together, we’re embarking on an inspiring contract for Audubon. We’re writing about how people across the flyways are creating bird-friendly habitats with native plants that serve up an insect buffet. We hope to tell their stories, encourage more people to join, and ultimately to plant hope. In this time of overwhelming odds against our planet, simple tangible acts by enough people in enough of the right places can give our birds hope.
I love birds for their flight, song, migrations and stunning feats. I’ve chosen one bird in particular to follow and will be weaving in the story of the belted kingfisher in this Blog and why it’s the Halcyon Bird –the one who I believe can lead to Halcyon Days of peace.
It’s fitting, then, that my first campsite of the trip fell along the free-flowing wild Salmon River of Idaho. I arrived at sunset at 9:40 pm here not far from Challis. Before popping up, I popped open my favorite brew–a Big Sky IPA– and inhaled the flowing river, the slicing flight of nighthawks pursuing the insect hatch, and knew that somewhere kingfishers flew too.I wake today early to the soft hooting of a great-horned owl, western wood-pewees giving their two-note slurring greeting to the day, and now the quickening life-giving fabulous chatter of….the belted kingfisher. Time for the Halcyon Day to begin.