Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Sunday Shorebirds: Sanderling or Red Knot

It was Sunday morning and time to get the family out of the house for the day. Perhaps we could go Birding?!? I had been looking at eBird to see where we might go, but there have been very few reports lately. Very few. Two or three during the entire month of August for the few spots along Lake Ontario where we normally go.

However, one of the most recent posts (from a day or two ago) listed several shorebirds that I hadn't seen (including the Stilt Sandpiper and Pectoral Sandpiper). It was for a place I hadn't been before: the Brock Street bridge in Whitby, Ontario. Nearby, at the Lynde Shores Conservation Area, there were also reports of similar shorebirds along with the Common Gallinule. (The Common Gallinule used to be called the moorhen, and not many people get excited about seeing this duck-like bird, though I don't recall ever seeing one before and, of course, this would be a nice addition to the year list.)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Preliminary App Review: BirdLog NA, by Birds in the Hand LLC

It finally happened. I have gotten over my butthurt about eBird and decided to use it, embrace it, even love it. What caused this? The Top 100 lists for each region! Yep, you can go to the website and see the Top 100 for whatever region you want (country, state, county, continent, etc.), which is automatically compiled by the data. Yeah, I went there and saw the Delaware County and Philadelphia County lists and I could easily be in each of them, if not the top 20. Hell, just estimating, I'd be in the top freaking five for Delaware County, top 15 for Philadelphia County, and probably top 50 in New Castle County in Delaware (and I am only there for work). I want that fame!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Weeks 31 and 32 Paul's Update (Summer Birding)

The strange thing I find about writing two-week updates on birding activity is that tends to group very different birding activities together. Of course, birding has been slower this summer so I don't have much really to write about the past two weeks. Looking at my list, I guess that's not entirely true as I saw 7 new species over this time period.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Damon's Birds for the Weeks of August 4 - August 17

Previously I mentioned that birding was slow up in the Philly region so I headed down to Cape May, and boy am I glad I did! I spent every morning for the week getting up at 5:30 so I can head down and put a good many hours of birding before my family was even awake. The best way to not feel guilty for spending so much time birding while on vacation with your family? Sacrifice sleep! Ok, I did go to be early every night, so my sleep didn't suffer.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Tangential to Birding Music Review: The Carpenter by The Avett Brothers

It happened again this last week. Yes, I got judged by my binoculars.

This shouldn't be a problem and it doesn't really bother me, except when people insist "you should borrow some binoculars" after I politely say no thank you that I am fine with the crappy ones I have. Even then it doesn't actually bother me so much, but more annoys me because it can come across as condescending, and I could only imagine how that might turn off new or beginning birders.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Birding Nummy Island, New Jersey

The summer drags on and any serious birder would have gone to other parts of the country by now to get new birds. Now, I am a serious birder, but I am also a father of three, so my options of birding migration are limited. Luckily, I live very near Cape May, New Jersey and can go visit relatives in the area fairly often. So I did!

Shorebird migration is in full swing, and even though we get some peeps around here and even an occasional larger shorebird, the real fun is happening in New Jersey. So when I went down to Cape May and went on a couple birding walks with the Cape May Bird Observatory I made sure to ask about where good places to go to find stuff on my own. I was directed to go birding on Nummy Island.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Oregon Birding IV: The Coast

As I mentioned in my last update post, I went birding on the Oregon Coast with my family a couple of weeks ago. If you haven't been to the Oregon Coast, I highly recommend it even if you are not a birder. There are scenic vistas, quaint light houses, fresh seafood, beaches, tsunami escape route signs, salt water taffy, tide pools, and (if you have more time) you can go deep sea fishing, clamming, and crabbing. All good times. But what about the birds? I had high expectations for the coast. Damon had told me previously of his trip years ago to Seattle and how he got like a dozen new bird species just stepping off the plane. New gull species, nesting pelagic birds, strange and exotic shorebirds! The sky was really the limit. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Damon's Birds for the Weeks of July 21 - August 3

Yeah, summer is slow and we slow down with our weekly reports so that they are every-other week, only we put an extra week into that. But, hey, both of us have plenty of birds to report for these weeks!

Weeks 29 and 30 Paul's Update (Oregon)

I realized a couple days ago that I neglected to post my last two week update, but Damon didn't post his on time either so I don't feel too bad about it. But looking back, I do have some birding to report over the past few weeks!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Tangential to Birding Book Review: Playing at the World by Jon Peterson

Ok, I've been sitting on this post for a few weeks now, trying to get the subtleties of what I am saying to come forth into writing. It hasn't worked, so I'm doing the next best thing: writing this while tired and after having a couple beers!

There is a section at the beginning of The Big Year (holy shit, it is only $6 on Amazon, go buy it now if you don't have it!) where the author (Mark Obmascik) talks about Sandy Komito as joking around and having fun during birding, while others around him were more serious acting and rolled their eyes or acted in a way that showed they disapproved. Now, I don't have the book in front of me (I lent it to my brother who I am sure is reading it right now) to quote it, but this stands out to me for a few reasons. First, Sandy Komito is one badass birder in the book, yet he still makes jokes and enjoys himself while doing it; no one can say after looking at his year count that he isn't serious. Second, this is something I've exactly noticed while birding.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Nova Scotia 2: Cherry Hill Beach

After seeing pelagic birds on a whale watching tour, I wasn't sure whether there would be other interesting birds for me to see while we kicked around the Southern Shore of Nova Scotia. We drove down to Cape Sable Island because we heard that this was quite a bird magnet. There were a lot of shorebirds there but they were all (with the exception of a few Willets) out of binocular range. However, we kept hearing about the Piping Plovers that nest on Nova Scotia beaches and I that decided we should try to track one down! I looked through my options and found a beach close to our rental cottage that looked promising.