I found this Black-and-white Warbler back in October at Lake Merced in San Francisco, CA. It stuck around for a while; the one time I saw this bird again after I reported it, people were completely losing their shit over it. That's cool and all, but the panicked mob that kept trying to stand as close to the bird as possible was more than I could handle.
Well birders. How is winter treating you so far? I wish I could have used this blog title sooner (which is a Game of Thrones cliche, obvi), but I am stuck in the glorious rut-glut of the Dry Tortugas. It's not like I haven't been birding locally though, don't worry about that.
Now that the awkwardness of Thanksgiving is behind us, we can just focus on birds for a few weeks. Multiple colleagues of mine were rumored to almost have been killed over the holiday...which is a typical Thanksgiving for most people I know. I did my part and threw bourbon in somebody's face (it was obvious he needed that), so at least I have stopped my streak of not mentioning bourbon on this blog. I get a lot of complaints about that. Anyways, Christmas will soon come crashing down on everyone, stopping birding plans in their tracks from coast to coast, so we have got to get our winter birds when we can.
Now is the time! So get out there. Find the White-winged Crossbill. Find the Northern Shrike. Find the Snowy Owl, the Iceland Gull, the Snow Bunting. You may fail in your quest to find these birds, for it has been said, "In this world, only winter is certain". But it is better to have toiled and struggled in the snows and icy wastes with scope and binoculars than to cower in a tepid fear of failure in your big, lonely apartment.
I have to admit, it was pretty confiding (I said it!), whether upside or right side up.
Black-and-white Warblers are legendary for being impervious to the forces of gravity.
This is now officially my best Yellow Warbler shot. Time to break out the champagne. It's sweet-sweet-sweet-oh-so-sweet. That's birder humor right there, in case you missed it. Photographed at Lake Merced.
This is one of two Tropical Kingbirds that spent at least a month at Lake Merced. Some people saw them at retina-bursting close range, but that usually happened early in the morning...which is something I don't see a lot of (you know, Perpetual Weekend and all...).
One of the now famous "Devil Birds" that will soon turn Lake Merced into a biological cesspool of evil and filth. If you are unfamiliar with this story, it's just a Great-tailed Grackle that needs to look at itself in a mirror.
People are naturally drawn to chubby birds with short tails, so I know you are getting your kicks in with this young White-crowned Sparrow regrowing its tail. It most likely lost its tail in a close call with a predator. Hayward Regional Shoreline, CA.
Golden-crowned Sparrow is a west coast specialty. The sight of an adult Golden-crown mellowly frolicking through the morning dew makes the heart soar (not "sore") and the eyes water. It's an emotional bird. Lake Merced, CA.
The gray. The black. The GOLD. What a bird.
Green-winged Teal. Look at this plump little bastard. Now that its December and winter has come, ducks are going to be looking real sharp compared to their crappy fall coats. Radio Road, Redwood Shores, CA.
Northern Pintail is widely recognized as America's best dabbling duck. I am not one to argue with this...evolution has made the pintail one of the best examples of what can be accomplished within subtle confines of The Economy of Style. Photographed at Radio Road.
Just when you thought a drake pintail only had about 4 colors to offer, it busts out a purple patch on its head. Damn, what a bird.
Even when you've seen a billion, and you have pictures of a million, American Avocets fail to get old...especially in winter when they aren't shrieking their shrill death-calls at you. Photographed at Radio Road.