Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Too Much To Bear...A Whopping Four...The Time Has Come

This Forster's Tern is pedaling through the sky. Imperial Beach, CA.

July. The Birdosphere is still reeling from the atom bomb of news that BB&B delivered last week...the jizz-filled payload was almost too intense for some people to take. Waking up one day to the horrifying reality that one of your favorite, harmless birdwatching phrases actually describes what comes out of ejaculating penises around the world can be too much to bear.

But that's all in the past now. We march forward into July, which I have always considered to be the height of summer. The amount of birdsong in any given area plummets, as many birds finish up nesting duties and get to relax a bit before beginning their southbound migrations. Hell, almost all of the Least Terns in San Diego County have already left for their mysterious wintering grounds (no one knows where they are), but they don't do that most years.

Of course, if you are into shorebirds, July is actually the beginning of fall....all around the country, shorebirds from the Arctic, prairies and taiga forest are being reported at a location near you. Many adults are still in their snazzy breeding plumage, and now is a great time to see them before they fade and molt into more frustrating forms.

While futilely wading around the San Diego River for Little Blue Heron shots in the spring, I came upon a couple Least Sandpipers who were absolutely determined to not fly away from me...now I finally have some decent Least shots. 

Personally, I started July off with a bang, landing a whopping four (4) year birds on July 1. This is a massive number, seeing that I only landed a paltry one (1) in all of June. While Bostick still has a considerable lead on me, I am determined to catch up before it is too late....the devious bastard has made my worst fears a reality...he is coming with me to Costa Rica! Travelling in the same car! Staying in the same motels! How he managed to pull this off is a feat I can't even hope to understand before sometime towards the end of 2015.

Other plans are afoot as well...I think it is high time I make it to the Salton Sea this summer...maybe even this weekend? I miss that disgusting, stinky hellhole.

A male Snowy Plover. He was vigilantly chirping and purring at me with all his plover might. Thank the bird gods that I never get sick of the species I have closely worked with over my life, I almost always end up liking them more. That said, I do not miss doing Marbled Murrelet and Spotted Owl surveys (no offense).

In other BB&B news, I have finally gotten sick and tired of you Florida bird bloggers posting amazing pictures of stuff I hardly ever get to see, and the time has come to act on it. Therefore, BB&B is going on the offensive and taking a trip to your crazy yet bird-saturated state this fall. More news on that once I get my tickets.

I'll end this madness with the ridiculous dream I had last night....there I was in San Antonio, Texas, where I have absolutely no business being (although once I did go to a punk rock show there with one of the world's leading and most wonderful seal biologists). I was at some sort of Latin American restaurant, where they had some bird feeders out front. The feeders were being visited by trogons, motmots, and I think even a female quetzal, which was surprising. While looking at a motmot through my binoculars, I noticed a very pale raptor soaring in the background. It was a White Hawk! "WHIIITTTTTEEEE HAWWWWWK!!!", I yelled to somebody. It banked sharply and headed towards us.....and then my alarm went off.

It's a good thing I'm going to Costa Rica.

This is not a normal place to find a foraging Yellow Warbler. I like the dichotomy though. Stonewall Mine, Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, CA.

Western Bluebird, yet another bird that was partaking in the maggot feast that I described last month. Although a torrential downpour of maggots sounds like Armageddon to most people, its probably heaven on earth for a lot of birds. Laguna Campground, Laguna Mountains, CA.

Gadwalls. Why are they called Gadwalls? Someone please tell me. Santee Lakes, CA.

It's hard to get down the personality of Common Gallinule. They are sometimes shy, sometimes not, and capable of great violence on their own kind. Lindo Lake, Lakeside, CA.

It did me a solid and stood up so I could capture the appropriate twinkle in its eye.

Maybe this is what Elegant Terns were doing when it first occurred to someone to name them Elegant Terns. These terns in courtship flight were over the J Street Mudflats in Chula Vista, CA.

Ugh you should have heard the yuppies prattling on about this mangy coyote. They thought it was extremely dangerous. I find prattling yuppies to be extremely dangerous, for the spirit and soul. Old Mission Dam, San Diego, CA.

Nothing against Yellow-rumped Warblers (especially ones that look like this), but I am still really enjoying my respite from them. It seems like practically every bird you look at in California between October and April is one of these things. Photographed at Santee Lakes, Santee, CA.

Black-throated Magpie-Jays have become target birds for birders coming to the Tijuana River Valley, even though we all know they're not really countable. No one can deny their charms and good looks though.


  1. Oh no, Florida better forget about hurricanes and start preparing for the onslaught of gizz-talk coming this way...

    1. Haha yes! Tropical Storm Seagull is bringing on the onslaught...of something.

  2. So when are you going to finally embrace the Google plus and link your blog? So much bird community

    1. Soc, I am beginning to think you are on Google's payroll! I'll see if I can make it work tonight.

  3. Hmm your insight on the Common Gallinule is very good. I'm glad someone is finally going to go crash the Florida birdwatching party. Godspeed Seagull!

    P.S. According to the online democratic encyclopedia nobody knows the etymological origin of 'Gadwall', but it's been in us since 1666. Sounds like old english to me. Maybe you should make up your own definition.

  4. I love that Least Sandpiper image, they are wonderful little peeps.

    1. Now I need to work on getting a good Western...I saw a couple of the reddest, most boldly marked birds I'd ever seen today...facemelting.

  5. Ummmmm.... how has no one commented on this black-throated magpie thingy? I thought it was just another one of your vermilion fork-tailed scissor-kicking monstrosities made in photo shop, but wiki seems to think it's real. Whoa. Why not countable?

    That coyote is so slender- never seen one so sleek. Like it mated with a greyhound, which I suppose could actually happen.

    JEALOUS of Florida. And Costa Rica. I need a dog-sitter and a fat wad of cash.

  6. YEEARGH! my internet connection is sketch. This is my third attempt at a comment - that's how much you mean to me, Tucker. I have no patience so this is huge. Anyway. Some of the pics refuse to load but what i see, oh, oh i like it a whole lot. A whole lot. Yuppies, gross though. I'm really into that Gadwall one. Sweet!

  7. Damn you see good birds. Super jealous of FL and Costa Rica! Gadwall is origin-less as far as I can tell - BUT - the next word in the dictionary is "gadzookery" (def. = the use of archaisms), perhaps herein lies the answer...