Saturday, May 30, 2009

Watching a Birdwatcher Watch Birds

If you have never been bird-watching with Bill Thompson, III, editor of Birdwatcher's Digest, you have missed a great experience. Bill is generous to a fault, always being sure everybody on his field trip gets to see every bird he does, and bending over backwards to serve you up with Life Birds, target species, or just a grand buffet of birds.

As much fun as it is to be on a trip led by Bill, I found it was even more enjoyable to watch him bird for fun. Bill has been everywhere and seen birds you and I only dream about. Despite all his travels and the great birding he has done, I was surprised to find he had never been birding at Magee Marsh on a "good" day.

"I have been there before peak migration, after peak migration, or on a bad day during spring migration," Bill said, "but I have never had a good day birding Magee Marsh."

Sacrilege! For an Ohio birder, or a mid-west birder for that matter, to have missed out on the unique experience that is the Magee Marsh boardwalk in mid-May, when the treetops are filled with neotropical migrants and the branches are dripping with warblers, is a sin. So, I was glad to be a witness to Bill's Good Day during the OOS annual meeting.

Bill prepares to step onto the
boardwalk at Magee Marsh

Walking with Cheryl Harner,
Bill looks ready for anything.

Is Bill musing on what he has seen so far, or
searching for his first Ohio Connecticut Warbler?

The well-equipped birder - binoculars, spotting scope, camera (with the big lens), miscellaneous gear bags, and cell phone = Bill of the Birds in action.

For a sample of what Bill saw, click here.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wordless Wed: Not all that glitters is gold

but this is!
Prothonotary Warbler,
Magee Marsh boardwalk
May 18, 2009



Monday, May 25, 2009

More birds from Magee Marsh

Baltimore Oriole

House Wren

Great Egret

Gray-cheeked Thrush

And the warblers:



Thursday, May 21, 2009

Identifying Birders

I will either get a lot of laughs, or a lot of hate mail after this post. I hope for the former, as I have nothing but love and affection for those whose photos illustrate today's theme, "How to Identify Birdwatchers by their Field Marks."

If you see person's face, you know instantly who he or she is. But, can you ID the following birders when presented with, shall we say, less than their good sides?

(post your guesses in the comments section)

For example, can you ID someone by his feet?

Or by his hat?
(especially when he rarely wears one?)
Jim McCormac
(This photo is a bit of a cheat;
it was taken at the OOS meeting, not at New River,
and is the only time I have ever seen Jim wearing a hat.)

By what he holds his hand?

Or her hand, for that matter?

How about from above?
Tim, aka TR

Or from behind?

How about when her face is hidden behind a camera?Kathleen

Does it help if the camera lens is really, really big?
(Get a blog, dude.)

Can you ID a person who is camouflaged?
Kathy B.

Or in her nat'ral hab'tat?Julie Zickefoose

How about by the company she keeps?
photo by Susan
me and Chet Baker

I told the following birder-blogger that I wouldn't
make him the butt of my jokes.

I lied.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

"It's all about the dog."

My posts for the past two weeks, and those of the other Flock members whose blogs you will find on my sidebar, may have led you to believe that we went to West Virginia to see birds, people, wildflowers, newts, and other forms of nature. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In all honesty, there was only one inexorable force that pulled us all to the New River Gorge, and his name is

Chet Baker

aka Bacon, aka "Offisa Pup," or the Tennessee Turd-tail, Chet is a dog among dogs. I have to be careful how much I rave, since my sweet Grace is in her usual spot, under the computer desk in the place where my feet would go, if there wasn't an 85 pound Rottweiler there. Still, present company excluded, I can't think of a nicer, sweeter, funnier, more wonderful dog than the Baconator.

While Chet has been known to shred a toy or two in his time, he is discriminating.

"I see someone has left a dog toy here.
Let me examine it closely."

"No, I don't think that I care for this one, thanks anyway."

Offisa Pup, the Mayor of Opossum Creek, takes his duties seriously. Any rogue chippitymunks in the area know that the Boss Dog is back in town.

Getting a photo of Chet in motion is difficult for amateurs like me. Julie's camera must have an extra-special shutter setting, called "Chet-speed."

not even close

still a blur, but you can
see his little pink tongue

getting better

Got him!

Of course, Chet has his Fan Club, or rather, his loyal minions, whose duty it is to cater to his every whim.

"Miss Mary, you may now give me that toy. I know you brought it for me, Chet Baker, so hand it over."

"Thank yew."

"I will now proceed to destroy your offering. It is by this action that you will know your gift was acceptable."

"Mether, please hold me a little closer. I cannot reach Miss Nina in order to kiss her. Of course, she wants Baker kisses. All the ladies want to kiss me."

"She plays hard to get, but I know KatDoc likes it when I stick my tongue in her mouth. Not many people would put up with that sort of thing, but KatDoc is all right. Except when she trims my toenails."photo by Susan

"I love it when Mether sings that pretty pretty song. Mr. Tim, you may continue to massage me while Mether sings to me and only me."

"In fact, I think I will now sing, too. The Swinging Orangutangs are a good band, but they would be better if they would let me sing lead."

"Please hold that microphone closer for my solo."
"Thank yew.
Thank yew verra much.""

"Hello, Jeff Gordon's Mom. You are a new person, but I will allow you to admire me, Chet Baker, while I hold court here on the back of Geoff's couch."

Saul and Irene meet Chet Baker, completely unaware of his star status.

Irene: "Hello, little dog. I do not think you are allowed on tables."

CB: "Hello, Mrs. Irene. Yes, indeed, I am allowed on tables, for I am Chet Baker, little CatDog, and my Mether allows me to do pretty much anything I like."

"You may now sit there, supporting me, while I inspect this table for random crumbs of food that need to be eaten."

All good blog posts must come to an end, and this one is no exception.

Bacon 'tocks. Extra-pinchable