Maine Jumpstarted My 2021 Birding

10,000 Birds

Alas, no. Like so many, the majority of my birding since the Covid-19 pandemic began has centered on my own backyard and local walking excursions. But as we kicked off 2021, I found myself far from my current home in North Florida, surrounded by a plethora of Maine birds!

ALA 57

Best Bird of the Weekend (Second of June 2020)

10,000 Birds

Alas, I didn’t locate any but found enjoyment in a prolonged standoff between mobbing Red-eyed Vireos and a Blue Jay who refused to take the hint.

2020 58

Best Bird of the Weekend (Third of March 2020)

10,000 Birds

Alas, the pickings were slim apart from one freezing raptor counter. You may have experienced one of the weirdest weekends of your life, what with all bars and restaurants closed and people maintaining a healthy distance from even close friends and family.

2020 59

Best Bird of the Weekend (Last of April 2020)

10,000 Birds

Alas, these gentle rains may not always speed spring migrants on their way to breeding grounds far from the equator. April showers most assuredly bring May flowers in the more temperate portions of the Northern Hemisphere.

2020 58

The best-kept birding secrets of Belgrade

10,000 Birds

Back to the Zrenjanin Road and continue another 15 km / 9 mi, and by the end of the Centa village turn into an inconspicuous dirt road leading to the Veliki Alas fish farm (north of the village).

Boars 83

Charles Comes Home!

Animal Person

But alas. I've been a bit preoccupied with a couple of stranger-than-fiction situations that recently caused me to tweet "Sometimes I wish there were a god so I'd have someone to blame." One situation was that Charles, who will turn six on June 3, has been lame for nearly six months. And after vet upon vet, and drug upon drug (and also some acupuncture and chiropractic), we had to take him to Orlando (3 hours north) for an MRI.

2009 100

On Dominance and Animal Birth Control

Animal Person

But alas, we' re too important and special to "manage," and every human pregnancy is treated as a sacred, blessed event, while we kill the kittens inside pregnant feral cats every day without batting an eyelash, and in fact we're relieved when we can catch one who's pregnant, as that's x number of cats who don't have to come into this world.

Best Bird of the Weekend (Last of January 2015)

10,000 Birds

Alas, the team named for a bird fell short of the crown in Super Bowl XLIX. While many human beings felt anguish and rage at the loss, most avifauna appeared unperturbed. The non-Seahawk birds that caught my eye this weekend were Northern Cardinals , which always look their best burning crimson against a blanket of white snow. Corey’s Best Bird of the Weekend was a wonderful American Pipit foraging on the roadside margin at Jones Beach State Park.

2015 57

Where Are You Birding This First Weekend of February 2015?

10,000 Birds

Alas, the long slog to spring will take many, many more frigid, blustery weeks. Keep your eyes to the skies for freaky hybrids ! If you live on my side of the globe–north/south axis, of course–you may be as sick as I am of winter weather. At least we have birds… My desire to see boreal specialties pales in comparison to my passion for staying warm and dry. This does not bode well for my birding weekend.

2015 55

Steve Best on The Left's Ignorance of Cognitive Ethology

Animal Person

With traits allegedly unique to humans running out, philosophers and scientists claimed that only humans have minds complex enough to allow a sense of self-consciousness or self-identity, but, alas, chimpanzees and other animals demonstrated significant degrees of self-consciousness too. Steve Best's verbal presentation of his ideas sometimes irks me. It's over-the-top, for me, and I often resent the time I must spend working through the ranting.

2009 100

Creature Update

Animal Person

But alas, the supply has dwindled. As many of you know, 2009 was chock full of creature-related drama for me. From the feral cats of Project Treadstone to Charles' back surgery to problems with Violet's Vetsulin (insulin for dogs), we had more than our share of issues. If I told you what I spent last year doing work-wise, you probably wouldn't believe me and you'd definitely suggest I write a book about it. At least Emily the kitty, though not at all skinny, had an uneventful year.

2010 103

Where Are You Birding This Second Weekend of February 2019?

10,000 Birds

Alas, this bird doesn’t like rain! Are you the sort of birder who takes comfort in the thought that you might find new species within driving distance of your home? Or are you the kind of completist who is driven to distraction by the knowledge of unseen species in your general vicinity? I definitely fall into the former category, willing to cache new birds away like an Acorn Woodpecker stores oak nuts.

2019 43

Wood-Wrens

10,000 Birds

And when you do get it to come within sight (alas, with playback, always), it can be as bold as any other member of this cocky family. When it comes to wrens, central Mexico has it pretty good.

ALA 56

Best Bird of the Weekend (First of December 2013)

10,000 Birds

Alas, I had no time outdoors this weekend, which leaves House Sparrows sheltering a giant wreath as my Best Bird of the Weekend. Winter may not technically begin for another couple of weeks, but frigid temperatures and wicked snow are assailing various parts of North America. The weather outside is frightful, but winter birds are so delightful… guess that’s as good a reason as any to brave the cold.

2013 54

Where Are You Birding This First Weekend of August 2018?

10,000 Birds

Alas, we’re still mired in shorebird season, so I’l sally forth once more this weekend in search of the Red Knots and Ruddy Turnstones passing through the Great Lakes. Here in the Empire State, August’s arrival triggers some predictable reactions: “Aw, summer is almost over.” ” “Aw, school will be starting any day now.” ” “Yee-haw, fall migration is starting soon!”

2018 40

What’s in a Name: Cooper’s and Sharp-shinned Hawks

10,000 Birds

Alas for the naming of birds that it took place before anyone had the foresight to recognize that the Sharp-shinned Hawk should be called the Mini-Cooper. It would reflect not only a pun hilarious to me personally and birding dads everywhere, but the magnitude of the ID challenge presented by a glimpse of one of these accipiters in swift flight – akin to the Greater and Lesser Scaup or the Long-billed and Short-billed Dowitcher. But such things were not to be.

2018 40

Best Bird of the Weekend (Second of November 2015)

10,000 Birds

Alas, the winds blew nothing exceptional my way. Every week, the winds carry the unexpected hither and yon. Were you hither? Were you yon? If so, we’d love to hear what you found there. In fact, my weekend avifauna was so prosaic that a lone House Finch stood out as the most interesting sighting.

2015 52

Consolation species

10,000 Birds

But, alas, the Novel Coronavirus did not respect my plans. I should have been on my way to Istanbul by the time this post came out. That trip was to take my wife and I to Turkey, Jordan, and southern Spain, with stopovers near Paris.

Emerging birding destinations: Serbia

10,000 Birds

Alas, I am not among them. The coronavirus has locked us all in, literally, doing something that was totally unthinkable only a few months ago: it has prevented us from birding abroad!

One Step Forward, One Step Back

10,000 Birds

Alas, the flowering plants had almost all dried up, and hummingbirds were few. Those who read my posts each week (and I know you’re out there, a few of you have said so) know that 2021 is shaping up to be a decidedly bipolar birding year for me here in Michoacán.

Uncharacteristically Wet

10,000 Birds

Alas, nothing showed until there was a brief break in the shower and a Golden-crowned Warbler materialized in the leaf litter just in front of me. I know many of us seek birds as an escape from dreary, depressing news that seems to permeate almost everything of late.

Best Bird of the Weekend (Third of April 2013)

10,000 Birds

Alas, they both kept their heads down until long after we’d left. One question every self-described birder must grapple with is to twitch or not to twitch. Some of us love to chase down preposterous vagrants, while others eschew bird chasing for contemplation of standard local fare and seasonal specialties. I raise this perennial issue because I found myself twitching a rare ABA bird this weekend. Did you?

2013 60

Hawking for Nighthawks

10,000 Birds

The cows and their entourage of Cattle Egrets sloshed through the pastures, each time they moved we lurched forward hoping to see a disturbed Grey-breasted Crake hop into view – but alas, no such luck even though we were hearing the little skulkers consistently.

2020 61

Where Are You Birding This Third Weekend of July 2013?

10,000 Birds

Rumor has it the falls are fantastic for gulls, but alas only in winter! When the birds of summer grow stale, a birder’s fancy turns to leps and odes. If you don’t know what those terms mean, think about the most colorful and fascinating flying creatures that aren’t birds. Summer is sweet for dragonflies, butterflies, and moths, the last of which deserve your attention over the next seven or so days. After all, this is National Moth Week 2013!

2013 56

There goes the neighborhood

10,000 Birds

But alas, my garden Wilsons have not been seen here on the 4th of April. 10,000 Birds is having trouble with our website platform. If this post turns up on Wednesday, April 23, it will mean I was successful in uploading text. However, the platform did not allow me to include photos. Since I consider myself a better writer than photographer, I can live with that. When you are an American expatriate who lives, and birds, in Mexico, it is a topsy-turvy world.

2020 45

Where Are You Birding This First Weekend of October 2013?

10,000 Birds

Alas, the New York coastline is nowhere near as picturesque as the Pacific coast as our photo above by Duncan shows. As daylight dwindles in the Northern Hemisphere, birds proliferate and then progress out of the frame. October, as Dylan Thomas perceived it, was awash with avian activity: My birthday began with the water-. Birds and the birds of the winged trees flying my name. Above the farms and the white horses. And I rose. In rainy autumn.

2013 53

Best Bird of the Weekend (Fourth of January 2016)

10,000 Birds

Alas, now that the Arizona Cardinals have fallen to the Carolina Panthers, we face the prospect of a Super Bowl without bird-themed football teams. So, do you prefer rambunctious horses or big cats better? I got a good dose of seaducks this weekend up at the mouth of Irondequoit Bay; the most interesting species amidst the mixed flocks was a lone Bufflehead hobnobbing with Common Goldeneyes.

2016 40

January Statistics

Animal Ethics

Alas, it's not the best monthly average. This blog had 2,383 visitors (visits, actually) during January. That's a record. November (which has only 30 days) had an average of 77.5 visitors per day. December had an average of 74.0 visitors per day. January had an average of 76.8 visitors per day. Hey, at least we're consistent! Here is a chart showing readership (visitorship?) since the blog's inception (click to enlarge): Thanks for visiting! Y'all come back now, y'hear

2007 40

A White Brown-headed Cowbird

10,000 Birds

Alas, the only thing either of us found worth making a call about was the white cowbird, which I refound in one of the huge flocks of cowbirds and starlings that have been roaming around Fort Tilden. I was sorting through a large mixed flock of Brown-headed Cowbirds and European Starlings at Fort Tilden on Friday morning when Isaac Grant, the intrepid Staten Island birder, showed up and asked if I had seen the white one.

2014 57

You Never Know What You’ll Find in Kansas

10,000 Birds

Alas, they turned out to be Ring-billed Gulls , but as I turned back to the car another flock of white caught my eye. The sun was setting fast as my mom and I left Council Grove, Kansas, after a delicious steak dinner and a three hour expedition across the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. Cattle fields surrounded the small town, the cows forming dark silhouettes against the rapidly graying skies.

What’s In a Name: Mr. Crissal and the Red-butted Thrush

10,000 Birds

Alas, no. Before we get started I’d like to congratulate the Whiskey Jack on becoming the National Bird of Canada ! The Gray Jay (once also, and perhaps again, known as the Canada Jay) inspired this feature, so I owe it a deep debt of gratitude. Now on with the show… I always sort of assumed that the Crissal Thrasher was named for a Mr. Crissal, a long-dead ornithologist, perhaps a buddy or a rival of Mr. Bendire or Mr. LeConte.

2016 52

Best Bird of the Weekend (Second of March 2012)

10,000 Birds

Choosing among the hawks, eagles, and owls at the raptor residence (alas no rehab for these irreparably injured birds of prey) and the active late winter species in the park seemed impossible, until an impressive Pileated Woodpecker put on a powerful display of excavatory activity. Change is in the air, isn’t it? All around the world, satisfaction subsides as an inevitable restlessness sets in on a cellular level.

2012 56

Bodegas Illana: “El Pico” Crianza (2016)

10,000 Birds

With my hands still numbed by the cold, I really could’ve used some help in this, but alas, no corkscrew nuthatches visited my feeders that day. Like many in the Northeast and Midwest of the United States, I’ve been holed up at home lately, thanks to a big winter storm last week – and now – the polar vortex. Last week, we had over a foot of snow in Albany, New York, with some of the surrounding areas blanketed by up to two feet.

2019 43

To Drill, or Not to Drill? That’s the Wrong Question.

10,000 Birds

But, alas, I’d have colored practically the whole letter. As we enter the second century of protecting, preserving, and respecting our wild spaces, certainly no one would actually consider undoing, reversing, and exploiting our national parks, forests, and monuments. Right? And yet, it has begun. Minnesota’s Superior National Forest is now on the radar for underground mineral mining.

2018 46

I and the Bird: Looking for Falcons and Ravens

10,000 Birds

Alas, Atlanta couldn’t seal the deal in the second half, but Baltimore bullied their way to the Big Game. Those of us perched precariously at the intersection of birds and sports couldn’t help but hope for a Bird Bowl, where both teams competing in Super Bowl XLVII were named for birds. We’re going to celebrate both of them anyway with two editions of I and the Bird !

2013 53

Best Bird of the Weekend (First of April 2013)

10,000 Birds

We took my father-in-law’s new boat out to a barrier island south of Chincoteague NWR… alas, I had so little faith in our first voyage that I left my camera home for safety. Have you noticed that, at certain times of the year, many of us share similar weekend birding highlights? It stands to reason that we all tend to look in the same direction or dig around parallel places during raptor migration or winter waterfowl season.

2013 48

Where Are You Birding This Third Weekend of September 2011?

10,000 Birds

Alas, we’re also intimately acquainted with darker emotions; the lust in our hearts alone (for lifers and optics, naturally) exacts a heavy emotional toll. All of us who identify ourselves as birders are thrillingly familiar with the sense of discovery, accomplishment, and even adventure that goes hand in glove with the personal quest to observe and understand avifauna.

2011 56

Secret Agent … Bird?

10,000 Birds

But alas, my comedic skills are subpar. This Kestrel may have been carrying bugs, but an X-ray showed they were not of the surveillance type. Image from DHA/Dogan News Agency). . In truly absurd, I am not making this up news, villagers in Turkey recently accused a bird of being an Israeli spy. There’s a joke in here somewhere stemming from the fact that the country’s name is Turkey. Have at it in the comments, if you like.).

2013 57

Roadside Birding and Flathead Lake

10,000 Birds

Alas, my hoped-for Tundra Swan did not materialize despite the proximity of Swan River National Wildlife Refuge. Migrants, alas, were not yet much in evidence aside from the Canada Geese (mild climate my foot.) One of the things I like best is squeezing a little birding in on non-birding trips.

2011 55

Just a Few More Days…

10,000 Birds

Even the first Common House Martin has been spotted and the flocks of returning Common (Eurasian) Cranes here and there – alas, not by me. While February offers some good birding (wintering waterbirds, gulls), it is a kind of an anticlimax after the intensive and hectic schedule of the January IWC counts – the International Waterbird Census, that is.

2015 61

My many hummingbirds

10,000 Birds

Alas, we mostly get females; the males winter along the coast. I was born in Minnesota. Had my life taken a different turn, and had I remained in that state, I would be intimately acquainted with exactly one hummingbird: the Ruby-throated Hummingbird. But my family moved to northern California when I was four years old, in 1962, effectively quadrupling my hummer list with the addition of the Anna’s , Rufous , and Allen’s Hummingbirds.

2019 44

So I went to the beach

10,000 Birds

And, alas, heat is one thing Mexico’s Pacific coast has in excess. My wife hates heat. Which explains why this birder, who lives only four hours from that coast, had only twice searched there for the region’s tropical and coastal species — both times on ministry trips I made without my wife. But this past week, my wife travelled to the U.S. to visit her elderly father. And I didn’t. I stayed here to keep things going at the church we pastor.

2019 44

Five Years and Counting

Animal Ethics

Alas, there were very few comments, and most of those that were submitted were anonymous, so I disabled it. I created this blog five years ago today. There have been 112,684 visits, which is an average of 22,536.8 per year and 61.7 per day. Here , for old time's sake, is my first post. Thanks for visiting. If you're looking for something in particular, please use the search function at the top left of the blog.

2008 40