Thursday, August 28, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Here is a collage of photographs taken by Helen, the owner of the home that has attracted the attention of a RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD. It is a bird that is typically only found out West. Sure, they travel East from time to time, as is the case here. The bird did not make an appearance while I was there, but hopefully it will stick around for a while.
According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's All About Birds webiste, "the Rufous Hummingbird breeds farther north than any other species of hummingbird in the world. Very aggressive at feeders, it is the western hummingbird most likely to turn up at feeders in the eastern United States."Simply click on the image for the larger version.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
I find this subject so very interesting, albeit frightening. Perhaps I will focus more of my blogs on environmental subjects such as these in the near future.
P.S. I sure hope NPR doesn't mind me using their logos. They are their logos, and they own the rights to them, etc. If they do mind, I'll take them down. If they do not... well, thanks NPR. I think they make this blog post look so much nicer!
Enjoy your weekend,
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
This bird in question, a WESTERN SANDPIPER, was called out on our trip to Poplar Island this week by J.B. Churchill. But before any of us could get a solid look, a nearby WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER quickly stole everyone's attention. The rest of the day, despite a bus full of birders searching, there were no WESTERNS spotted.
NOTE: This may or may not be the bird that J.B. initially called out. The photo was taken of the general area, but let me just say there were peeps as far as the eye could see.Take a look at the peep on the right in the photo that is standing next to the Yellowlegs. After the WHITE-RUMPED excitement, all of us birders just jumped back on the bus. There was much excitement, as we wondered what rarity might be foraging in the next location. Plus we had a boat to catch!
Whoops. No one confirmed the identification of the WESTERN, so we did not add it to our trip list. By some stretch of luck I accidentally snapped this photograph of one of the candidates, in between shots of the WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER.Here is a closer look. Feel free to add your thoughts and comments. This bird certainly has that de-curved bill one would expect on a WESTERN.The plumage is hard to judge, and the photo (as well as the bird's angle) leave a lot to be desired, but...
What do you think?
But first, how about some details about the WESTERN SANDPIPER?
Despite it's being one of the commonest shorebirds in North America, according to ABC, the WESTERN SANDPIPER is a, "Rare Yellow List Species." They vocalize with simply a thin 'jeet', breed in Alaska and winter anywhere from the Southern United States, South to Peru. WESTERN SANDPIPERS are most often found on shores, beaches, mud flats during migration and in the summer, if you're in the area, you can find them on the dry tundra way up North!
Monday, August 11, 2008
UPDATE: I am currently at 265 bird species for Maryland this year. I went on an excursion to Talbot County's Poplar Island and Tanyard Marsh to check these birds off of my list:
Ah, what fun.
SURE, THE BIRD IS OUT OF FOCUS... BUT IT'S SHADOW IS PERFECT!
NOTICE THE WHITE RUMP
IT IS CERTAINLY DIFFERENT FROM A SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER
A RED-NECKED PHALAROPE NEXT TO A WILSON'S PHALAROPE
A RED-NECKED PHALAROPE
A BANK SWALLOW
A COMMON LOON, SPOTTED JUST WEST OF ST. MICHAELS, MDEnjoy your week.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Do you believe in fate? I do. Matter of fact, every day I find a new reason to delight in my wife Emery.
For example, her sister is dating a gentleman, Chris Murray. Like me, Chris is seriously into his birding. On our recent Toomey family vacation to Holden Beach, North Carolina, Chris and I spent hours and days birding away the vacation. Coincidence? I will leave that for you to decide.
Lucky me. But it gets better...
When Emery and I first starting dating (many, many moons ago), I had the privilege of meeting her Uncle Bob. Uncle Bob Lavell was an avid birder and a true gentleman. He passed away a few years ago. I never really did have the opportunity to really sit down with him and discuss our shared love of birds. I regret that lost opportunity.
Yesterday, Emery's father Joe was kind enough to give me several of Uncle Bob's classic birding books. You see, Uncle Bob's wife Aunt Mary (A.K.A. Butch), will be moving soon. Her new place is smaller, which will put storage space at a premium.
I'm honored to receive this special gift from Butch and the late, great Uncle Bob. I'll cherish these books, scour them for knowledge and enjoy them from cover to cover.
SHOREBIRDS: AN IDENTIFICATION GUIDE. 1986
A COLOURED KEY TO THE WILDFOWL OF THE WORLD. 1965
TOP FLIGHT FIELD GUIDE IN FULL COLOR: SPEED INDEX TO WATERFOWL. 1979
Occasionally, my wife sports Uncle Bob's birding hat. I have thought about borrowing it many times. Lucky for her, my head is way too big.
AUDUBON WATER BIRD GUIDE. 1951In Uncle Bob's later years, he delved into wood carving. I heard he was quite good at it too. From what I've been told, he carved many a small bird. Perhaps I too will explore this art form in the future? At the very least I hope to tell you more about it soon.
GULLS: A GUIDE TO IDENTIFICATION. 1982
The Uncle Bob Bird Book Collection, including THE AUDUBON SOCIETY FEILD GUIDE TO NORTH AMERICAN BIRDS. 1977
I believe that there is much to learn from our elders. With each new 'year bird' I see on my way to 300 species in Maryland in 2008, I will tip my hat to Uncle Bob. Hopefully, if the fates allow, I will achieve my lofty goal. But should I not reach my goal, the enjoyment, the challenges and the discoveries that have occurred while on my many journeys will provide me with both a deeper knowledge of birds and my home state of Maryland.
And sometime soon... when I am knee deep in mud, covered in flies, or trudging through some thick brush, I'll be having a spirited conversation with Uncle Bob. More than likely, I'll be asking a lot of questions.
All the best,