Allen's Hummingbird is a nice spring bird. There has been a distinct lack of nice spring birds in my life this year, though that will all change soon. Lake Merced, San Francisco, CA.
Wow...what a month April has been. And I'm not talking about birding...I'm talking about the blog! Between a pathetic three (3) posts for the entire month of April and randomly getting linked to on Reddit (this photo is why), BB&B has had drastically more web traffic than ever before, which is nice after all these years of toiling in the blog mines. We are only going onward and upward here at BB&B, and the Birdosphere continues to be taken by storm...by me. Thanks for reading everyone, and I hope to maintain the same level of...whatever it is that keeps you coming back, and especially if I keep getting bizarre emails from those jealous of my high rank in the Global Birder Ranking System. That is why I do this!
Apologies for the lack of output lately...April has flown right by, and I did not give it the amount of birding attention that April rightfully deserves. I feel much shame, and have done you, my birding family, a great dishonor. I haven't even seen a Nashville Warbler yet this year...how embarrassing. And sad. Oddly, I've spent more time looking at shorebirds than looking for warblers and flycatchers...it's been a weird spring so far for me. This time last year I was pretty much obsessed with birding South Padre Island, and always fixated on the fallout that never came.
Surfbirds are among the humblest of birds much of the year, being built like obese plovers, staying relatively silent and repping the Economy of Style. But in spring they shed their shabby attire for fancy scapulars and intricately patterned upperparts, and if you get too close you might find your face getting a little melty. It's not difficult to discern the difference between the new and old feathers on the bird in this photo, the same goes for the Willet on the right as well. Emeryville Marina, Emeryville, CA.
Western Sandpipers in spring are really striking, as are their Dunlin brethren (molting bird in center). I understand why beginning birders struggle with shorebirds, but if they worked on them in the spring the learning curve would not be steep at all. Middle Harbor Shoreline Park, Oakland, CA.
That said, my birding is soon going to be different...very different. I am taking the unilateral decision to make a very important public announcement. In less than 3 weeks time, I will be combining forces with the following bird bloggers: Birdcrusher Dan, Flycatcher Jen, and This Machine Nate. Why would we do such a thing? Such an embarrassing thing? To bird where none of us have birded before...Maine.
That's right, Maine. As the years go by, there are fewer and fewer birds that I have yet to meet in the Lower 48, and many of the remaining species for which I quest are found in Maine. I've also never even been to Maine, and am longing for a change of scenery...keep in mind The Perpetual Weekend is dead (long live the Perpetual Weekend!), so being nonmigratory for so long has gotten to me...gotten to all of us. We must get life birds. We must surround ourselves with birders that we actually want to be around. We must drink whiskey, to toast birds we may not see again any time soon. We be will covering a fair amount of ground, from Machias Seal Island up to Bicknell's Thrush country, and lifers will be had by all. The HJ rule will, of course, be in play, which is an entirely different sort of thing to prepare for.
California is Catharus depauperate state. We have Hermits and Swainson's, anything else is pure gold. To say that I am looking forward to reopening my eyes and ears to Veery, among certain other thrushes, would be a gross understatement at best. South Padre Island, Texas.