Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I'm Getting Used To Getting Old, But Where's My Ambition?


A broad-chested, short-winged Thick-billed Murre takes evasive maneuvers. 

Goodbye fall. You were a good one this year. Not one for birding necessarily (although spending August in the western Aleutians was fantastic), but for quality of life in general. So thanks to everyone who made that possible. It's been an explosive jubilee of reveling and raising glasses with old friends. And yes, much bourbon was had.

With the passing of Birder's Fall (August-November) and the onset of Birder's Winter (December-February), Californian birders are now beginning to switch gears to adjust their birding habits to better suit the winter months. So many crippling vagrants have arrived in the state in the last month (The Fab Four: Bean Goose, Ivory Gull, Brown Shrike, Black-tailed Gull) that people really have their hopes up. Many a birder has tasted the sweet taste of victory (most people who have looked for the Bean Goose) or bashed their heads into a wall of defeat (most people who looked for the Brown Shrike) after looking for said birds, and there will be more to follow. The rivers may yet run red with angry birder blood this winter. The possibilities of what may arrive here this winter are almost endless.


Here's a couple of new ones for you. They're not great shots, but for most Americans, they're great birds. Wood Sandpipers turned out to be one of the most abundant (well, relatively speaking) shorebirds on Buldir Island this year, much to my....um....delight.


This juvenile Red-necked Stint was the one and only to visit us.

Besides that, what winter means for me personally is I switch out of "WOOOHOOO NO MORE FIELD WORK!!!" phase into "Hrmm, I should probably start lining up my spring field work" phase, which isn't nearly as fun....but does add a light taste of drama to everything. Its quite strange, really. Few other people (outside my line of work) comfortably vacillate from slaving away for months to having absolutely nothing to do to lackadaisically looking for jobs knowing that somehow you'll get one if you apply to enough...I am nothing if not a consumate professional, after all. But its pretty weird. I recognize and appreciate how shitty it is for people to lose their jobs and their homes (the house I'm living in is being foreclosed on, thanks Bank of America), but since I consensually lose my job a couple of times a year....well, it just doesnt have much of an impact for me. Besides, I really enjoy my freedom...if you don't have that...what do you have?

Oh yeah, summers are usually a mix of "LIFE IS PAIN" and "I have the best job in the world!". Haven't found a way to combine those two concepts yet.

All pictures today are from July-August at Buldir Island, Alaska. As usual they have very little to do with what I'm talking about...maybe I'll work on that.


Another shot of one of the scarce Aleutian sunsets we got to see.

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