Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Catching up...

Oh, hey there - how've you been?  Long time, no see! Me? Oh, you know, now that things are cooling off a bit, I'm actually starting to get out and do a little more birding again.  Also trying to get out with camera in-hand now that I got this DSLR.  Yeah - birding and photography, that's what I love.  What I really need to do now is start to spend a little more time relating these things to my friends - you know, so they don't think I've dropped off the face of the earth.   I mean, there have been some pretty exciting things to talk about in the birding world - from the common, like a few weeks ago when a Red-tailed Hawk was perched for a little while on the handrail in front of my building at work...

Of course, by the time I got outside with the camera, it had flown off, but landed on the lower branch of a nearby tree so I still managed a few pics...

And maybe if you live in Michigan or in New Mexico or Arizona, where you get thousands of Sandhill Cranes, they might be a little less impressive, but by dint of their being more uncommon, a few cranes showing up in a harvested autumn cornfield here or there in New England is pretty exciting to me.

Of course, some of the bigger news-making sightings consist of autumnal shorebirds.  If you remember a recent post, I mentioned I am not a really big fan of shorebirds.  Well, especially combing through flocks of peeps trying to find a Stint or Curlew Sandpiper.  Well, thankfully there are some really good birders out there, because one of them did exactly that - that is, they found a Curlew Sandpiper!  On Plum Island of all places too (a favorite haunt) which is pretty accessible.  It was first reported on Friday evening, and we headed out Saturday morning to look for it.  Unfortunately, while we were there we saw a lot of shorebirds, including plenty of similar shaped Dunlin, and dowitchers, and Black-bellied Plovers, and peeps of all varieties, we didn't stumble across the Curlew Sandpiper.  Hope remained though, as others found it later in the day during high tide, and on Sunday I had the good fortune to make it back at the right time and get pretty good looks for lifer #897.  And although I got pretty good looks, I didn't get anything like a good photo.  (In fact, I barely got a bad photo.)

But I had good reason - I only had a short amount of time as I was on a quick break from doing a Big Sit up the road with my friends Josh Rose and Jason Forbes.  We didn't do too badly either - 68 species for the day.  (Too bad we couldn't get the Curlew Sandpiper to fly by us on the tower where we were counting.)

There's lots of other news going on out there in the birding world too.  If you are a birder, you have likely already heard that the ABA has elected a new president, namely the well know and eminently well-liked Jeff Gordon.  He's got the support of the membership (including a lot of new members who joined just because he was selected for the position) so I think we can expect some really exciting things to come from the mothership.

For my woodpecker-loving brethren, there is a new blog that has been started by Gerard Gorman of the "Woodpeckers of Europe" blog - along the same lines but taking it worldwide: 
Woodpeckers of the World.
Check it out if you get a chance.  (I've also added the link to my woodpecker links in the right side of the page, so it's easy to find and check on in the future)

So, there are definitely things I could be blogging about - just need to wake up that muse, and get clacking away on the keyboard a little more often.  And did I mention that Pamela and I will be heading to Ecuador next month?  That means that I'll have plenty to blog about (I mean, honestly, have you read any of my other writing from when we travel?  I certainly seem to have the gift of gab when reporting about our birding trips!)

And just because I want to share a few other photos I've taken (and this is my blog, so why not, right?)
Northern Flicker:

Common Grackle:

European Starling:

Black-bellied Plover:

American Pipit:

Double-crested Cormorant: