Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Not One More Word Tonight

I was hoping to see an Ivory Gull perched on this Mola-mola. This event did not occur. Arroyo Grande, CA.

It is my honor, and privilege, to announce that I now number amongst the courageous few who have seen the Brown Shrike....or, as some call it, the Humboldt Brown Rain-Shrike. This species would normally be found on western Pacific islands this time of year, or mainland India, but we birders were lucky enough to have one come our way. (Stereo)Typically, what's bad for the bird is good for the birders. It will (hopefully) at least know to go north again if it makes it through the winter, but there is no way to say if it makes back to its homeland, which is likely someplace in Siberia.

A drake American Wigeon. Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA.

Which is a bummer. It's impossible to say how many passerines (songbirds) meet their doom far out at sea during their long migrations, with no land in sight. But to underestimate the ability of any given bird to navigate and travel vast, almost inconceivable distances would be a grave mistake. So I have faith in the Rain-Shrike. And no, I did not even bring a camera of any sort with me to see this bird. From past experience, having no way to document such a marvelous, crippling rarity would substantially increase my chances of getting a good look at the thing. I highly recommend attempting this method, as it "showed well".

Immature Red-shouldered Hawk, lurking outside the PRBO office. Surely it was hunting the many small and timid birdwatchers coming to and from the building. Schoellenberger Park, Petaluma, CA.

Along with the Brown Shrike, I also picked up Pacific Golden-Plover, Rough-legged Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk and Tundra Swan as year birds, snapping my long drought of new bird species seen in 2010. If I was from the south, I would tell you that I'm happier than a pig in shit right now....but being San Franciscan, I will say I'm giddier than a cokehead at Delirium. That's pretty giddy right? You San Francisco people know.

So let's just get down to The Heart of The Matter. Brown Shrike. Rarest bird I've seen in California in years. Good job team.

A Pelagic Cormorant keeps an eye to the sky. Morro Bay, CA.

Speaking of San Francisco, you may be surprised to learn that Mercury 'turns' wetland birds homosexual. Who knew?

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