Posts Tagged With: listy stuff

When a Big Year isn’t big enough…

A group of birders at the Bronx Botanical Gardens the other day heard a cry of “Connecticut!” Immediately they rushed back to the parking lot… to find a child saying excitedly, “Look, Mom! This bus is from Connecticut! And the car is from Maryland!” Big laughs all around, but that got me thinking — how about a locale Big Year?

Find your Connecticut Warbler in Hartford! A Nashville Warbler at the Country Music Hall of Fame! Philadelphia Vireo by the Liberty Bell!

Yes! Heading to Europe for my European Starling! W00t!

Yes! Heading to Europe for my European Starling! W00t!

Some would be a puzzle. Do I look for Acadian Flycatcher in a park in coastal Maine, or in the bayou? Is my life-bird victory dinner lobster or crayfish? If a Chickadee is in South Carolina, it’s probably a Carolina, but be sure to listen to its song!

While some are gimmees: Florida Scrub-Jay is found in Florida, period. Galapagos Penguin!

I could branch out to finding birds only in their named habitat — What are the odds of finding a Palm Warbler perched in a palm tree? If it’s in a Salix, does that make it a Willow Flycatcher? Can I find a Sandwich Tern at the deli?

Mourning Warbler habitat?

Mourning Warbler habitat?

And you can wind up your search for Brewer’s Blackbird somewhere like this.


Off to Russia for a Muscovy Duck!

Categories: Bird photos, Field trip, Life lists | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Poem #11

I start to write

a poem

and it turns into 

a list

of colors, joys, confusions, 

words rough-edged or velvet

actions, attitudes, attributes.

Too many years of

groceries, chores, to-dos…


And there I go.

A list of words, however beautiful

is not a poem…




Categories: postcard poems, scenery | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Yard bird #110!

Wow, am I ever glad I went outside! While watching a male American Redstart atop the apple tree, I saw another bird winging in. At first I thought it was a Green Heron, but the wingbeats were too rapid, and as it neared I could see a distinctive tern-like bend in the wings. It flew right overhead, not much higher than the tops of the spruce trees — a dark bird, with — YES — white slashes on the wings! 

Common Nighthawk! I’ve been out every evening for over a week looking for them in migration. What a piece of luck — a few seconds before I’d been standing underneath the tree and would have missed it entirely.

I walked up the tower road to look for more Nighthawks. No luck with them, but I scored a serene sunset.

In case you’re curious about the view from the top of Kestrel Hill, here you go.



Categories: scenery, Species count, Yard first | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Stretch goal

Since I reached my year goal of 200 birds (thank you, Little Blue Heron!) with three months to go, I’ve decided to upgrade to a more ambitious attempt. The list includes 10 birds I only saw out of our Region 8* area, and several of those I’m not likely to see around here. So I’m going to try for 10 more birds on my local list before year’s end. Is this too ambitious? Well…

My fall migrant ID, despite cramming, is not strong. Also I have a genius for being where the birds were yesterday, or where they’ll be tomorrow. And I wish I felt more secure in the IDs I do make.

The local shorebird migration, such as it is, is pretty much done. Warblers don’t have too long to go, either. There’s a chance I could pick up maybe 3 warbler species, and Philadelphia Vireo has been seen lately though it keeps evading me.

If we have a good finch incursion year, I could pick up the Grosbeaks and Crossbills, and Loons and Scoters are pretty certain before year’s end. (How do I not have Common Loon?)

I’m going to see the Short-eared Owls this year if I have to camp out in Fort Edward to do it.

No matter how much I twist the map around, the south end of the Great Vly where we heard the King Rail stubbornly persists in being in Ulster County, not Greene, so not Region 8. Grrrr.

So, 10 by year end? Maybe, with luck and persistence. I hope to update soon!


* Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene,  Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren, and Washington Counties.

Categories: NYS 2013, Species count, What am dat bird?, Why? | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

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