Wednesday 27 December 2006

Fighting PCS

Most of us suffer from some form of PCS, though often we are not aware of it. Many of my readers will indeed not even know that there is such a thing as PCS, let alone know what it means. Well, it is an abbreviation for "Post-Christmas-Syndrome" and as light-hearted as one might notice that this is a neat abbreviation and smile, it is in itself a rather serious thing.
Tom McKinney for example recently fell victim to PCS and we can only hope he will recover to his former self soon.

PCS describes a terrible derangement of mind that often befalls birders directly after Christmas:
they are stuffed full of excellent food, have their beloved family around them (or are glad they left to have the house to themselves again), got used to the comfort of the sofa and the warmth of the stove, sit wrapped in blankets in their armchair reading their Christmas gifts (bird books, what else?!) and well, leaving the house to get some real birding done is as far away as can be.

You see, that's all fine for December 24th and 25th, but then the hideous PCS strikes. You don't notice it at first, but comments from the always oh so active birder in the direction of "Weather's crap, I'm staying indoors", "No bird movement at the moment anyway" or even the infamous "Been there, seen that" are the first alarming signs of PCS. Soon the birder will get moody and miserable and bellow and swear as soon as they detect movement around them. Why? Simple: The victim is torn between their newly acquainted habit of staying indoors with sofa and fridge within easy reach and their desire to get on with the adventurous yet often hardy way of an outdoors life. That conflict just turns their whole perspective on life itself very dark indeed and as a consequence their attitude towards those around them just plain nasty. And that's not nice, nope Sir, not at all.

Today, on the 26th, my wife and I decided to start with our work again. Now, that moment after the Holidays is always met with great joy and enthusiasm by both of us as you will surely understand.
And while I was sitting at my apartment surrounded by the smiling faces of our home-made cookies, and noticing the clouds and the rain, and with the warmth of the heater upon my back, I decided to NOT go to the Arb today. Maybe tomorrow, unless there's cookies left. If that's the case, maybe I'll see what I can find at the Arb on Friday,...
HA, there it was, a darn and cowardly attack of PCS. Luckily I noticed it at this very early stage and just about in time managed to pack my bag and drag myself out of the apartment and through the cold and lonely streets of Ann Arbor all the way to the Arb.
And a good thing I did, because it was fun, and there's nothing better to get rid of a PCS attack than a Northern Cardinal at close range. Bird numbers were somewhat down, jogger numbers as well but dog walkers were plenty and many suddenly had two or even three dogs around them. Maybe I do get more readers than I am aware of and are good for me?

Here are a few of the highlights, nothing unexpected but enough fun to get over my rush of PCS anyway:
Red-bellied Woodpecker,
Tufted Titmouse,
Golden-crowned Kinglet,
very close looks at a Carolina Wren,
nice flocks of Dark-eyed Juncos and White-throated Sparrows,
a large flock (140 birds) of American Robins,
immensely beautiful Northern Cardinals, and a
Hermit Thrush again!

Nothing short of classy. Glad I made it, and if I can beat my PCS, so can you.

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