Friday, May 31, 2013

Thoughts of Arizona

It got up to 97 here in the Philly area today. With humidity. I worked and spent most of the day outside in this heat and thought that jeans were a good idea. They were not. So when I came home, I immediately changed into shorts and lied down for a two hour nap. Heat does that to you, especially when you are working in it with jeans on. It is a special tired that working in the heat does to you, and one I’ve known many times over the years, especially since I used to live in Arizona.

What, you didn’t know I lived in Arizona? Yep, Paul and I both did; in fact that is where we met as young, idealistic grad students (time has long since beat out the youngness and the idealism in both of us). If you think the birding is great around here, you should have seen Arizona.

Except I never did.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Damon vs. Paul, a Head to Head Birding Day Matchup, part 1: Memorial Day Sunday

How was the birding this past weekend? It wasn't quite as good as when migration was in full swing a few weeks ago, but all in all Damon and I both had pretty good birding days on Saturday (May 25). He reportedly saw an American Oystercatcher being eaten by a Swallow-Tailed Kite. I asked for photos but all I heard about was a "malfunctioning memory card". Anyways, we both saw a good sampling of birds in our respective regions (Damon- the greater Philadelphia region, but Saturday was mostly southern New Jersey; Me- eastern Toronto and Peterborough) on that day. I thought it might be interesting to compare our lists to see which birds were found in both places and what each of us saw that the other didn't.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Damon's Birds for the Week of May 19 - May 25

Ok, just as I finally get my house set up and the computer all working I get ready to get some posts up camera refuses to recognize any memory card put in it (they all work, I swear!). So I have no photos for this post, but I'll be busting out the trusty iPhone to get the amazing shots that you are used to for my posts. You remember, shots like "Fuzzy Outline of Bird that Damon Claims is a Black and White Warbler" and "Distant View of Hunting Kestrel".

Week 21 Paul's Update (Shorebirds and Warblers)

Yet another week of birding is complete. You know, it didn't really seem like I saw a lot of birds this week, perhaps because I only really got out in the field three times? There was a Sunday morning trip to Presqu'ile Provincial Park. This is a place on Lake Ontario where I went several times to see waterfowl, though most of the waterfowl is now gone with the exception of a few mallards and some mute swan. The focus now is on finding shorebirds and warblers, which are arriving from the south and stopping over before continuing farther north.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Point Pelee Pilgrimage

Point Pelee, Ontario. This is supposed to be a 'you have to go there' birding spot during spring migration. I have heard this from multiple people on multiple occasions. Point Pelee sticks out into the middle of Lake Erie and the birds like to stopover on their way further north and, because it has this narrow tip, it concentrates the birds into a small area, which makes seeing them easier. Point Pelee also concentrates something else: birding tourists. This was partly the reason for my hesitancy to make the pilgrimage down there, but then my wife encouraged the trip by pointing out the number of warblers and other birds I could pick up in a single day of birding there. And so we decided to take a weekend road trip down to Point Pelee.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Damon's Birds for the Week of May 12 - May 19

Whew, what a week! I finally got my computer up and running, I totally finished moving by clearing out the straggler boxes from my old rental place (I am NEVER moving again), worked a bunch, and actually got some birding in on Saturday. And, oh, it was a damn good day for birding.

Week 20 Paul's Update (Another week- Another bird)

The birding continued this week with 11 new species added to my list, with two of these birds seen at Long Point Provincial Park (on the eastern end of Lake Erie's north shore). We drove there on our way home from Point Pelee and packed a lunch as we planned to spend a couple hours looking for birds. The birds were there and it seems like a nice enough place, but maybe next time we can choose a day without the gale force winds and perhaps a bit warmer than 45dF? I didn't seem to notice (what with trees full of warblers), but everyone else was complaining about being cold so all I picked up there was the Bank Swallow and the Black-Throated Green Warbler (quite a mouthful, I know).

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Birding by Old Photos: To Life List or Not?

I was looking through my electronic photo albums the other day. I have most of my digital photos organized by year and then sub-categorized by month or event, which is handy as long as I can remember that we went to Oregon in 2004 or Maine in 2012. Otherwise, I click through windows and folders like a madman until I find the photo I want.

Recently I was browsing through these folders and I saw one for our trip to Prince Edward Island in the summer of 2008. That was a great trip- we ate seaweed pie, took the Harbour Hippo tour where you cruise through town and then onto the harbor, ate lots of lobster, and went for an evening of deep sea fishing. The fishing trip was quite memorable as we caught a bunch of mackerel, briefly saw a whale, and generally enjoyed being out on the relatively calm Atlantic Ocean. I also remember the ruckus that ensued when the deckhand started cleaning some of the fish that we had just caught. Seemingly out of nowhere a huge flock of birds appeared and grabbed the fish gut tidbits being thrown overboard. It was so loud and chaotic that I even took a photo of the birds.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Damon's Birds for the Week of May 5 - May 11

Ok, remember how I was hoping that I wouldn't be without internet for a long time? Well, my internet was turned out right away, but my computer and its desk was surrounded by boxes for a good week and only finally got cleared away and plugged in today.  Moving sucks.

I will make it up to you with a pretty damn good week of birding. Actually, it was only a pretty good day of birding, but dammit that was a good day.

Week 19 Paul's Update (Warblers and More)

I picked up the pace of my bird sightings this week. There has been an explosion in terms of number and types of birds arriving in Peterborough, which helps, and also Damon is starting to pick up steam himself, which is a strong motivator to get out and see new birds. Most of the week had me picking around behind my house and I saw several new birds back there including a few warblers, a Warbling Vireo, and a Baltimore Oriole.

Week 18 Paul's Update (Nearly Skunked)

I would never have guessed that I would be flirting with seeing no birds during the last week of April. The spring migration is in full swing and millions of birds are flooding into Ontario. Yet, last week I had a fairly poor week of birding and only saw 1 new species. That's right, I wasn't held to the big zero and my list continued to grow, albeit by only a single bird species. My new bird of the week was the Gray Catbird, which was number 127 for the year.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Damon's Birds for the Week of April 29 - May 4

Have noticed the dearth of posting on the blog lately? Paul has noticed that I haven't emailed him much at all the past week too, but he already knew why. You see, I am in the middle of moving and, while it isn't quite like the drama that skirted close to disaster that my move from Kentucky to Pennsylvania was, it is still a lot of work. Add onto that that I also volunteered for Earth Day at my kids' school (yes, they celebrated a week after everyone else) and also have worked a bunch lately plus whole bunch of other things and that leaves you with one exhausted and overwhelmed person with little time to go birding and even less energy to write about it.

But what is Paul's excuse?

So that is why I haven't written much lately (and probably for a couple more days, the official internet transition to the new house goes on today, so wish us luck!), there is good news! Now that I have a house and yard of my own again I can start a house list!