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December 12, 2005

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maybe it's on its way to MA to get married to its special friend.

Nice photo.

I'm guessing it took Danzenbaker more time and effort than is obvious to get it.

Or am I being stupid, because it's not a live bird?

I was wondering how much time and effort it takes to catch Hammond's Fly.

Dantheman: Hammond's Fly probably not contagious...

(way to go birdzoy!)

I remember having to stand fifteen feet from an Alder Flycatcher for about forty minutes before I could make sure of which Empidonax it was, so congratulations on this rare opportunity to cross one off.

Nice to see I'm not the only bird watcher hanging around here. Though I'm lazy and tend to lump the whole lot of these little buggers into the confusing fall warbler category (even some non warblers, like that flycatcher).

Cryptic Ned: yes, that was part of the draw. Not just an opportunity to see a tiny little lost bird that should have been in Central America or somewhere by now, but a chance to see an empidonax flycatcher that other people had identified ;)

Is it going to survive?

Lily: unfortunately, probably not. It's too cold. But we can always hope. -- Birds sometimes do things you'd never dream they could. For instance, did you know that Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds, who are tiny and have an extraordinarily fast metabolism, migrate across the Gulf of Mexico? Without stopping or eating?

There must be something to eat around that location if that bird is hanging around. In Illinois, robins mysteriously appear in warm spells in the middle of winter and then suddenly disappear when the weather gets bad.

My neighborhood Coopers Hawk got a dove right outside my kitchen window last week. Freaking awesome talons. unfortunately my camera, or the cameraman took the photo was pretty crappy.

About 5 years ago or so, we camped on Assateague Island around Labor Day and I walked into a swarm of Redstarts just going absolutely nuts. There must have been 20 of them, and they were swooping around within inches of me.

With that and the wild horses, which will come into your campsite to steal your food, plus the beach and sea birds, it's a pretty cool place, if you're looking for something to do in Maryland.

Nature lovers, check it out: narwhal tusks are sense organs!

!!!

I encountered a nesting pair of Wilson's Phalaropes in the regue at Nisqually Delta. They are supposed to be over in Eastern Washington but this off-course pair semed to be doing fine.

A tragedy struck my household about two months ago. My marroon bellied conure, Squawkie, flew out the back door, over the fence and away. I got Squawkie sixteen years ago. He always had the run, or flight rather, of the house. He was affectionate, socialable, and very, very smart. Squawkie lived on my shoulder. He took baths with me. Sometimes he'd ride around with me perched on the collar of my T-shirt with his tail down my shirt. He made happy little clucking noises in my ear. I don't know why he decided to fly away. I hope he isn't sorry. I hope he found a flock of sparrows or starlings to hang with and food from bird feedrs. However it has been raining and snowy over the last couple weeks and temperatures have dropped below freezing. I went door to door all over my neighborhood and left one hundred flyers about him but no one has seen him. I've pretty much given up hope.

It was a wonderful experience to be well acquainted with a bird. He had a sweet and spicey personality. I was always amazed at how much character was contained in that pea sized brain.

Just got back from South Africa, where we spent some time espying Cape Weavers, Longtails and Ibis.

One of the more hilarious moments was going through the Durban city zoo and finding a raccoon on display. Imagine a raccoon in a zoo! The family of raccoons in the tree in our back yard would have found it bewildering.

I thought the same thing about various fauna I grew up with, e.g. kangaroos, until the news a few days ago that Wisconsin is beginning to suffer a kangaroo problem (?!). Now I just kinda roll with it.

Sidereal: one of the local bird celebrities is a Kelp Gull named Shrimpy. Kelp Gulls normally live in the Southern hemisphere, and don't normally venture further north than, say, Brazil, and yet Shrimpy has taken up residence behind a seafood shack in southern Maryland, where he has wintered for the past decade or so. A Kelp Gull in Maryland is truly a big deal, and people trek from all over to see him. (Much to the delight of the seafood shack, who feed him shrimp. Hence the name.)

When i went to New Zealand, it was a shock to discover that Kelp Gulls are one of their basic common seagulls. I kept thinking: wow, a Kelp Gull!

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