Thursday, June 7, 2012

On Embarking On My Long, Slow, Crawl To The Grave

Nobody is really looking at ducks this time of year. That doesn't mean they aren't around somewhere though...watching you. This Wood Duck was at Santee Lakes in disgusting Santee, CA.

Ah, its great to be back in the warm embrace of the Birdosphere, where people are only marginally real and birds only exist in two dimensions.

I've been going through the painful and transformative process known as "turning 30" over the past several days. At this point I can safely say I've turned 30, and am not stuck in some sort of soulless limbo between 29 and 30. I am officially, arguably, not young. Sigh.

But seriously was a GODSEND to celebrate such a dubious occasion with people I actually like for a change, rather than the people I've been stuck with during field jobs...with some exceptions, of course. Thanks to TPAD Dan, Sultry and Argu for helping strengthen my liver and spirits; you are beacons of light in a sea of shadowy nerds.

I also will take this opportunity to begin sleeping again. They say "You can sleep when you're dead", but the people who say that typically aren't very sleep-deprived. Amirite?

"Aw, shucks." - Whimbrel. Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge, CA.

Long-billed Curlews move with confidence...they know they are well-endowed. ESPECIALLY the females. Tijuana Slough.

Little Blue Herons in tandem. Different, but the same. I've never seen a white one with such a glowing face. San Diego River, San Diego, CA.

Great Egret. With lores like that, life is easy. This (unrestrained) bird was at the San Diego can probably guess what that pink haze in the background is.

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Crab Slayer. Imperial Beach Sports Park, Imperial Beach, CA.

The zoo crew is deep into the Least Tern nesting season now. Walking through any nesting site is terrifying, because their practically-invisible chicks could be lying around anywhere. The adults have really good aim now; they have managed to shit onto my lips twice in one day.

Gull-billed Tern, Destroyer of Lizards and Occasional Scourge of Least Terns and Snowy Plovers. Tijuana Slough.

Some bird flocks move like a rollercoaster more than anything else. Black Skimmers, Crown Point, San Diego, CA.

Hammerkop! Just as strangely put together as a skimmer, but probably not as well known to Americans. In Africa (where they are supposed to be), they build enormous nests which dwarf practically every other sort of bird nest in size. Hammerkop nests are then utilized by many other species as a home...its like they are avian beavers. This is a member of one of the aviaries in the San Diego Zoo.


  1.'ve joined the largest birder demographic in finally becoming an old person. Tis' alright Seagull; you've still probably got a good 2 or 3 years still in front of ya!

    I dig all your shots here. It's funny you started off with the (neglected) duck, and a Wood Duck no less. I've been searching for near a week now up here in Pennsylvania (southeast) and still haven't found a Wood Duck, which is starting to be really bothersome.

    Your waders here are all spectacular, but I would have most preferred a shot of you with Least Turn confetti on your face.


  2. They are generally wary and uncooperative in the summer...I would take solace in the Purple Sandpipers and Bobolinks if I were you.

    The tern confetti was thick today, I smelled like fish after a while. Not my mouth though.

    1. Yes I figure I've taken all the solace I can. In fact, I daresay I've left Pennsylvania in a very restless, solace-less state (one pun point please).

      You know, if you want to become the number 6 birder in the world, it may necessitate getting the Least Terns to deposit pre-dogested fish in your mouth. That would show you're really in-tune with the birds.

      P.S. There were cordoned off sections of the beach and outlying, weedy dunes where Piping Plover, Least Terns, and Black Skimmers were supposedly nesting. I saw two Least Terns flying overhead but none of the other birds, and no nests. I wondered, "What would Seagull Steve do?" So I opened an bottle and..err...I forget the rest.

  3. I wish I could make a good avian beaver joke right now, but I can't.

    Welcome to the ranks of the 30 plus crowd. It's not so bad.

    The Little Blue Herons are awesome, like you posed them yourself. Good stuff.

    1. I set that joke up for you, Flycatcher with me here!

  4. It's been ages since I've seen a Hammerkop!
    Reminds me of my years in South Africa!!
    What an interesting and rare bird!
    But all in all a great series!