Friday, May 13, 2011

I Remember This And That

One of the resident Short-tailed Hawks that can often be found kiting over Chavarrillo.

Birders. Nonbirders. How's it going? I've got some more Chavarrillo pictures for you to wipe up the week with. The hawk and flycatcher are common residents throughout eastern Mexico, with the grassquit a little harder to find. Go forth, and observe them.

So I'm writing this in a suit and tie, getting ready to rush off for a wedding. I am debating bringing binoculars. The ceremony and reception is being held in a nice patch of oak woodland in Santa Barbara, California...but who am I kidding? There will be too much champagne flowing and I will be busy with my groomsman duties.

Since I will be at least ear-birding the whole time (that's not something I am capable of turning off) and there will be a couple other decked-out bird-sympathizers there, I have to ask...why are all birders so homogynous looking? I'm not talking about race (this time), I'm talking about garb. Or, if you prefer, plumage. Do we all have no pride in appearance? I know there is something to be said about only dressing practically (or even not caring at all), but that's so.....boring. It's one thing if its the dead of winter and youre freezing to death, but luckily the entire Lower 48 is blessed with less than arctic conditions most of the year.

A male Yellow-faced Grassquit asks "Why don't you buy shade-grown coffee, pendejo?".

Finishing Lynn's homemade pizza. From left to right: Pilar (feliz), Roberto (amable), Carlos (enojado), Lynn (que la chinga?).

But I'm jumping into a subject that deserves more time and effort. Indeed...this is a job for the Human Birdwatcher Project, and HBP coordinator Felonious Jive isn't in the office today. So the hot and controversial topic of birder fashion will have to wait.

Tomorrow I set off for Mono Lake. I recommend you seize the weekend. It's one of the best weekends of the year for birding in much of the country, and, as always, for drinking and procreating. Who knows what this wedding will spawn...

Later dudes.

Social Flycatcher, known in Mexico as Luis Gregario. So next time you meet a Luis, please acknowledge his flycatching roots.

What the fuck is this bird? At first I thought it was a Canevet's Emerald, but the bill appears far too short.


  1. The topic of birder garb is one tied up with implications of class and generationism rather than pragmatism. Only well-to-do birders can afford to deck themselves in head to toe khaki space-fabrics.

    I'm sort of proud to say that what I wear birding is the same thing I wear everything elsing. Tees and shorts in the the heat, fleece and jeans in the cold. Except when I'm birding I generally wear sturdier shoes. But even if I had the money, I'd never wear khaki button up shirt no matter how much it breathes. I have been known to wear zip-off pants in the tropics, however, but you'll never find a photo to prove it.

  2. Ah the zip-off pants...when I had a pair stolen along with my other things earlier this year, I was kind of relieved. So thats how I feel about those. Im fully behind the everything-elsing garb movement for bird outings.

    As with all fashion, class and generationism plays a big role for sure...but I know that if you ran into a teenage birder in the field, he/she would likely be wearing very similar clothes to a wealthy 75 year old counterpart. They might not have high-tech, breathable, sweat-absorbing khaki (or do they? I dont know what The Kids are up to these days), but in appearance they will be eerily similar. Thats what I find bizarre.

  3. Along those lines, I've thought about these things a bit myself. I am female, I DO like nice, pretty clothes (like Audrey Hepburn minimalist classic, lots of white/black), but am also a tomboy and MOST the time don't allocate much time for outfitting. I think it's some cultural work ethic thing, not being self indulgent/absorbed, etc. Probably misplaced, but, whatev. Or, maybe I'm just lazy. =)

    However, rather than tromping all over the (often-HELLA-windy-hence-the-multitudes-of-windmills) fields all next week looking for burrows, I will be monitoring (wildlife) fence building (so stationary, mostly), so I've actually thought I'll wear my nice lady like broad-rimmed hat vs. the one I can pony-tail-anchor to my head.

    I also think about this when gardening. Or doing almost anything else industrious but not actually hazardous.

    I don't ALWAYS need to wear jeans and long-sleeved t-shirts/blouses. Other things would work, and SOME other things would look MUCH much nicer. People garden in sundresses. It's kinda lovely.

    However, (forgive if this is repeat) when I worked for NPS in southern California, among my duties was research coordinator--SUPER super fun. Favorite part of job, besides actual sampling (rocky intertidal, plants, etc).

    Anyhow, eventually the receptionist at the park, gazing out the window, would occasionally call me saying there was someone to see me. She was staring toward the parking lot.

    "Uh, how do you know?"

    "I can just tell."

    Sure enough, they'd walk up, open the door, and ask for me. She was NEVER wrong.

    They ALL were young-ish, thin (from field work), wore jeans, t-shirt/tank top w/long sleeved shirt over it, hat, sunglasses, and boots. EVERYONE wore this. Protection from the planet while immersed.

    And the receptionist, being a MESNA member (and happily permanent GS-7), spotted the pattern quickly and thus gave me a bonus 2 minute warning. She was terribly good at her job.


    And, I admit, I've felt smug hiking in Mount Rainier NP with my well-beaten hiking clothes, following behind strangers in entire outfits still-crispy-from-the-REI-mother-ship-in-Seattle.


  4. omg, with the small comment screen I didn't realize I'd composed a novel. pardon.

  5. Hmm. There are clothes other than jeans and black t-shirts and hoodies? Well, I'll be damned...

    Speaking of weddings- my friend is getting married in Hawaii in July so I'm going but mainly for the birds. It's on Oahu. Any suggestions on places to bird while I'm there? Unfortunately my friends are straight edge so I'm pretty sure it's a dry wedding... no champagne flowing to distract me.

  6. @BB - That was officially the longest comment ever. Ha! You've almost got your own blog post there. If you'll be monitoring fence construction (they need monitors for that?) you could probably get away with almost anything.

    @Jen - On Oahu Ive never gotten out of Honolulu so I cant advise you very much, but if youre in the Hono area you should do the Diamond Head hike and go to the big park in town (White Terns nest there).

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