Friday, March 28, 2008

New domain name

Not sure how many people are reading this blog yet, but since I seem to be doing a better job of it than in previous attempts, I've made a few changes. And hey, if you have been following this scattering of posts, drop me a note so that I know somebody out there (other than my fiancee and my mom) are reading! And for the few that have made comments, thanks for the encouragement.

First and foremost, I have created my own domain for the blog at: http://www.picusblog.com/
(If you had bookmarked the old address, it will still re-direct you here for a little while.) I've also added a ClustrMap so I (and you) can see how many people are visiting this blog and where in the world they are.
On the internal side, I have opted to have the site published on google and blogger searches so I might have some people dropping in other than the few friends and family that I told about this.


SO, spread the word, send the link. Another birder is officially blogging!


(And hopefully not boring you to tears!)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Second time around

So I FINALLY spent some time adding an entry this morning and uploading pictures, and when I went to publish it, I got an error message and lost everything - so this is going to be a much more abbreviated post then what I originally wrote because I don't have much time now.
In fact, I've not had time to post for a few weeks now because I usually do so at my work computer early in the morning or during my lunch break, but it has been so busy lately that I've simply not had the time. But this blog is not here for me to gripe about work, so enough of that.

This past weekend Pamela and I joined out friends Laura and Mark for her annual BBC Vernal Equinox trip. We started out at Ipswich River Sanctuary, where I found an immature shrike almost immediately after getting out of the car. (I tried for a few pics but it flew to a distant post.) It was certainly not expected, and interesting to see what is (for us) a winter bird in the same field as the bluebirds which were pairing up and checking out the boxes there.


Ipswich River Sanctuary is known for having chickadees that expect you to feed them and if you hold out your hand with seed in it, they will fly down and eat right out of your hand. (And if you don't have any seed they will scold you for it!) It's a great way to spark an interest in birds in any budding naturalists mind! Laura and Mark did bring seed and fed quite a few birds, but somehow I never got an in-focus picture of it! Of course, once the chickadees start making noise, other birds soon show up to see what's going on.

This nuthatch wanted to get some food, but just couldn't quite bring himself to come to the hand for it.

And this Cardinal flew in to check out what was going on, but wouldn't even consider demeaning himself to come to a person to be fed. He was very cooperative in allowing me to wander around to get pictures of him in different light - he was high enough in the tree to not be concerned with me. The following in my favorite -reminds me of a barrel-chested Teddy Roosevelt.

"Bully!"

And last, but not least, I just really like the "expression" on this guy's face...





Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Downy Woodpeckers

For the last several days, I've counted up to 5 Downy Woodpeckers hanging around the peanut and suet feeders that I have put up at work. I can currently identify three different females and two males so I always have an idea of how many there are. I did have a third male come through for a day or so, but haven't seen him since before I went to CA.

Yesterday I had two birds on the suet, two birds on the peanut feeder and the fifth was on the branch above. This was the first time that I have seen them all at once and tolerating this kind of proximity. It made a strong enough impression that I finally remembered to bring my camera with me to try and get a few shots of them. I don't have many pictures of Downy Woodpeckers - probably because they are so common that I don't think to try and get a photo.

So anyway, here are a couple of photos of some of my DOWOs...


Playing nice

Coming around to see what's on the other side

Zygodactyl toes!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Final Tally

I have finally had a chance to enter my California sightings into AviSys, which does a much better job of record-keeping and counting than I do. I saw a total of 154 species of birds, and saw 21 life-birds. This brings my ABA life-list up to 581. With any luck, when we go to the Texas Hill country and Big Bend in April with Paul & Diana, I'll be able to break the 600 mark.

In addition to birding with some friends, and adding a few species to my life list, one of the main purposes of this trip was to finally add Nuttall's Woodpecker to my list. One of my goals in the last three years was to see all the members of the woodpecker family that occur regularly in the United States - and Nuttall's was the last one on that list.

Nuttall's Woodpecker in Davis, CA

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

What are YOU lookin' at?!?

Western Gull at Bodega Bay



So I stayed up too late last night going through the photos I took in California.

The up-side is that I have now posted the better ones to my pBase page and they can be seen here.


And now, just for Paul, here is a photo of what Bill Drummond has called the "country's most cooperative Barn Owl" which was photographed one evening at it's regular perch just outside the entrance to the Davis Food Coop:


Monday, March 3, 2008

Back from California

So I got in at 1:15am, got a few hours sleep, and am now back at work.

Many birds seen (approx. 150 sp.), several species photographed (approx. 30 sp.), and 20 life birds added to the list. (Woo-hoo!)

Much more to follow when I've had some time to recover, review, and retouch.
I'll update with photos at my pBase page when I can, and try to put together a trip report soon.

Many, many, many thanks to Alison & Allan for opening their home to me, and showing me around. I quite simply wouldn't have been able to do this trip, or see so many birds without their help! You guys are the best!

I'm going to add a video here that may be a little dark, but this bird was one of the highlights of the trip for me...

video