Sunday, July 3, 2011

Police, Don't Hit Me Please

Redmond Lake, one of the local Piping Plover nesting areas. This place is overflowing with Baird's Sparrows and Sprague's Pipits, kids. The prairie I mean. Not the lake. That would be weird.

July. That means summer doldrums. Birders across the Northern Hemisphere are perishing from heat and boredom. Many birders become completely addicted to migration and cannot handle the fact that nothing unusual is moving through their local hotspots. They resort to travelling and self-mutilation in these seasons. Even if they can handle being friendly with their local breeding birds, most birds usually stop singing some time in July and get serious about finishing raising their babies. Everything seems to disappear.

A Western Kingbird basks in lemony goodness at Camas National Wildlife Refuge, Idaho. Mmmmmmmmm....lemony goodness.

Yup. This is a month to sit back and take stock of your life as a birder. How is it going for you? What have you seen? Are your id skills up to par? Any nemesis birds haunting you?

Personally, I've seen way more birds that I thought would have at this point in my life. Young Seagull would totally high-five me. My eye-birding could use a little work here and there (i.e. Empidonax flycatchers, large gulls), but its pretty kickass overall. My ear-birding, although not as good as my eyes, is solid...I attribute this to living on several parts of the continent every year and constantly learning and memorizing new sounds. Not that I'm some kind of warbler-flight-call Jedi or anything.

Let's face it people...I'm number 8. 8 is a strong number. But it's not the number legends are made that, we must turn to The Great Ornithologist Felonious Jive.

Upland Sandpiper, officially my new favorite shorebird. Digiscoped with work camera and work scope. Photographed at Lostwood NWR.

I'm not sure what will happen here on the prairies. This place is unlike any other. I have noticed that shorebirds are already moving south (Wilson's Phalaropes, Lesser Yellowlegs, Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers so far), but everything has been about the same since I got here. The nesting shorebirds still attack me. The Baird's Sparrows still sing. The grass is still green. Heck, I've seen seen fireflies and some moose over the last couple of days...summer is raging here.

The majestic Sharp-tailed Grouse. Photographed at Lostwood NWR.

Marbled Godwit. Photographed at Lostwood NWR.

I have been flogging the BB&B interns extra hard lately. Although it may not look like it, we are going full throttle over here. I'm working on stuff for 3 separate outlets...BB&B, obviously, and 2 more that will spread our particular brand of bizarre left-wing bird gospel far and wide. I will hint that one Felonious Jive will be getting his own blog soon, much to do the disdain of birders everywhere. Yes, it is only a matter of time before BB&B hegenomy...then, and only then, will I be free to launch my own personal bird observatory.* Would you like to play a part? Speak now, because in a few months time your voice may be drowned out by the masses.

Just kidding. I love you all! Thanks for reading though, it's appreciated. Now I'm going to watch Alien Vs. Predator 2 because I'm a schmuck and there's nothing to do in North Dakota.

* This is actually not true. The only thing stopping me is thinking of a clever name for it.

Gumbo Lilly!


  1. Now I want lemon cake and an Upland Sandpiper friend. I knew I shouldn't have looked at your blog.

  2. 1. Yes, I too am now craving a lemony sweet treat and I'm not even a real fan. Tho' I do love a good kingbird.
    2. I'm sure you explained & linked to wherever before, but how was #8 determined? I always want to know what's inside the black box.
    3. Got TINY tiny recording of the (now infamous taxi hailing) bird but it's SUPER super quiet and within a huge file I don't know how to shrink, yet. And, you know, am actually WORKING today/tomorrow, etc. So, maybe I'll call my musician friend some time and have her help me. Maybe SOME day I can actually send you a sound file.

  3. Ha. #8. The methodology is a secret. Yes feel free to send it to me when it gets cut down. Jen...North Dakota awaits, in all its grassy glory.

  4. self mutilation, tell me aboot it.