Thursday, July 31, 2008

Egrets, I've had a few...

...but then again, too few to mention. Thank you, Mr. Sinatra. I'll take it from here.My wife Emery's 29th birthday was yesterday. What an amazing woman she has become in such a short time. I mean, she is ONLY 29. I can remember when I was 29. Oh, wait... no I really can't. I'm sure it was nice. I'm just lucky to have her in my life.The Dec-Man (A.K.A. Declan) is growing and laughing and talking and having a ball.Ahhh. My son... He sure has all his ducks in a row!And the birds? Being that it is almost August, it's kind of slow. But there are always surprises and I am doing my best to try and find the next one.

At the moment, I have ticked 258 bird species in the state of Maryland this year. I am hoping to crack 300. It is a lofty goal, so wish me luck as I will need flocks of it.

In the meantime, how about a little story, told with more photos? Wouldn't that BEE nice?Lisa, one half of the super-fun-to-read blog THE BIRD COUPLE, is also a bee keeper. These are HONEY BEES (right Lisa?) on what is Maryland's State Flower, the BLACK-EYED SUSAN. Lisa tells me that I must have a hive nearby, as HONEY BEES will only fly about a mile away from their queen. (Much like me and the distance I am allowed to travel away from my wife.)

Incidentally, the B.E. SUSANS, along with a forest of pink CONE FLOWERS in my front yard, are starting to bring in loads of AMERICAN GOLDFINCH.

AMERICAN GOLDFINCH nest rather late in the season. They time it just right for feeding lots of their hungry chicks. By delaying nesting, they have better luck feeding the young when food sources (like these flowers) begin to yield seed.And look who else has decided to stop by for an extended visit? A RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD. She has been frequenting our feeder, which hangs just outside my office window, for well over a ten days now. We couldn't be more pleased. Although, I must tell you... she has been chasing off other HUMMINGBIRDS on a regular basis. Three different hummers have snuck in for a quick drink, but all three were shown the door (or escorted off the property) by our newest precocious tenant.Speaking of tenants, a second brood of HOUSE WRENS have fledged this season in the yard. They went with the gray-blue house this time, instead of the yellow one. Every bird has their own style, HOUSE WRENS included.So what is one to do when the birding slows? One looks for other things that fly and attempts to identify and learn about them.Care to take a guess? How about this one? I saw this young bird at North Beach, on the border of Calvert and Anne Arundel Counties.Stumped? Here is an easier one.In Gambrills, on Cecil Ave, there has been a noticeable increase in the CATTLE EGRET population. A recent count today by a local birder tallied an even 100 CATTLE EGRETS for this area and other parts of Anne Arundel County.Clearly, this bird can see that it's nuts to stand in this general area.Hmm, that's better. "Hey, 387... take me to that shady area under the tree. And make it snappy."This must be the bird that best exemplifies Donald Trump's hair style, right?Said the CATTLE EGRET to the COW, "Did you hear the one about the cow that walked into the bar? Yeah, I probably shouldn't tell it. I'd egret it later. Have you tried the water here yet? I mean, sure... it's better than drinking bottled water, but it's just not all that fresh. Seriously, whad'ya say I jump on your back and you and me... we go for a stroll in the field? Do you think I talk to much? Maybe I do. Maybe not. Hey, if you keep looking at me like that, I'm going to start to think that you don't take me seriously. You really are a handsome cow #526. May I call you 526, or would you prefer Mr. Cow? Well, it's true... you're gorgeous and I mean that. Seriously, I've never said to another cow before. I really think highly of you."Now if you'll excuse me, I must go clean up the kitchen after Declan's bath. Splashing is mandatory in the Haas House.

All the best,

Dan

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