Saturday, August 25, 2007

Nighthawks after Dinner

Emery and I went to Lemongrass (by the Annapolis Mall) for a dinner tonight. My how we do love that Thai food. After our meal, Emery wanted to go the mall to get a non-stick pan. Me? I wanted to quickly visit the parking lot at the Waterworks Park in Annapolis. After all, it's a half mile down the street and I needed one more bird.

You see, I am doing this thing called eBird. I was at 66 bird species for the year. The actual number is a bit higher, I just haven't put in old data. However, up until last month, I never really kept accurate records. This will help. I have some concerns about how accurate the maps are (for example, random people shouldn't know where rare birds nest), how accurate the posts are (all of us at one time or another could see something that really wasn't there), and I think there needs to be some local version with some control over the the content. But aside from that, it's quite useful. I believe that it can truly have a positive impact on birding and what's more, add data to the argument that the world around us needs our immediate and constant attention and protection.

Enough about eBird, no back to the story. I wanted one more bird for the day. And for Emery and myself, tonight's bird was a LIFER. Some of you may have seen these many times over in the night skies. But I say again, birding is a relatively new passion for me. "What bird was it?" you ask.

The Common Nighthawk. I really believed that I might be able to see one tonight. There have been sighting reported on the MDOSPREY email listserv. It may have been the Thai food, but tonight I could sense a lifer in my bones. Two minutes after we arrived, I look up and see one... then two... then none. A moment later, Emery had counted 19 of them flocking about above our heads in the darkening evening sky! Emery is a natural at this bird counting thing. I think that there were far more than 19 Nighthawks, simply because of the tree line and how much of the sky that we could not see from our vantage point. Alas, the storm of all storms started to open up the sky, so the comfort of the car was the best option.

67 birds for the year, the month, the week, and as far as eBird is concerned... my LIFE. I know it to be many, many more. I should've been taking better notes. I'll make a note to myself to do better next time.

And we did manage to get the non-stick pan as well! What a night.

Good birding,

Dan

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