Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wry Half-Truths From A Privileged Youth

Bobolink. Who does not sing praises of the blonde-haired black bird with the R2D2 voice?

And here we are. Late July is right around the corner, which means I only have one month left in North Dakota. To say that I'm stoked would be an understatement. Come August 20 I will hunt the horizon once more...Yellowstone National Park (for birding and charismatic megafaunaing), then Las Vegas (decidedly not for birding), then to the California coast. It will be truly cathartic to be among friends and like-minded souls once again, not to mention all the shows I have lined up (DESCENDENTS!!!!!!!!!!). But the price I will pay will be the hole left in my heart from the birds here. Shorebirds are beginning to migrate south already, but prairie celebrities like Sprague's Pipits, Baird's and Grasshopper Sparrows, and Chestnut-collared Longspurs are all still singing with gusto.

I do expect birds to quit singing within a couple weeks, but I am a stranger here. Who knows how long the breeders will keep at it? North Dakota is a bizarre place indeed.

One of the Chipping Sparrows that raised a fam next to my trailer.

Bank Swallows have recently shown up, presumably finished with breeding already.


Redheads are common breeders around these parts. For some reason, Redheads and Ruddies are the only ducks around now who still bother to look good...all the other ducks are laying low in their homely eclipse plumages.

Upland Sandpiper. They are real, dignified sentinel birds, unlike those bullshit killdeer who just sit and there and scream. Any time you are walking around a wetland and take the time to look around, you may find an Upland high in the sky spying on you.

Wilson's Phalarope: THE SCOURGE OF THE PRAIRIE. I have come across a number of poor souls who have fallen to the needle-sharp bill of the phalarope. Their bodies are riddled with tiny sympathies to the thousands who have suffered death by phalarope.

This coyote and I were having a face-off, as there was a Piping Plover nest halfway between us I wanted to get to. Not wanting to show the coyote exactly where the nest was (they are a frequent plover predator), and with the coyote wondering what I was doing right next to its den, we just sat and stared at eachother. It was a cocky bastard, pretending to fall asleep while we waited. 


  1. you're blogs are too good. you win!

  2. <<...those bullshit killdeer who just sit and there and scream.>> Now THIS is why I read your blog. Your outlook is hilarious!

  3. So, what happened with the coyote? Way to leave a cliffhanger. Snake=awesome. Death by phalarope sounds terrible.

  4. Okay, smooth green snake is the species, I think, Opheodrys vernalis, if you didn't already know. Beauty!!!

  5. You ladies are too good to me. The coyote won the staring contest but the plovers won the game...the game of LIFE. They managed to fledge 2 or 3 chicks, no small feat this year!

  6. how gross. I said "you're" instead of "your" - please excuse that. That disgusts me. I must have been drinking. or something.