Birder's Eye View

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Peregrine in Pencil

Behold. My latest bird sketch. Since I haven't seen any new birds lately, I decided to draw one. Not great, I know, but a good artistic challenge.

The wings were definitely the hardest. I was sketching from a picture in my field guide, and when I got about a quarter of the way down the win, I realized how infinitely long this was going to take.

Nonetheless, I got through it, and it looks somewhat like a Peregrine Falcon, to my amazement.

I saw a Peregrine when I was in Acadia National Park in Maine, and it really captured my attention. I think they're fascinating birds, and fantastic to watch. Unfortunately, due to the earthquake in Acadia last spring, the falcons' nests were destroyed, along with any eggs they had. So, no baby birds-of-prey this year, for Acadia.

I got to see a female when I was there, though. She was divebombing a vulture, and won (of course). It was very exciting and an amazing way to see a life bird like that.

Ready for some edification?

Peregrine Falcons can fly an average of 50 mph, and when diving they can reach up to 186 mph. Their wingspan is about 40 inches.

Although they were once an Endangered Species, due to pollution from DDT, their populations have grown enough in recent years for them to be removed from the list.

Well, that's all I have to say for now.

Happy birding!

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

One Hundred and Twenty!

Woohoo! I added the 120th bird to my list just a few minutes ago. 120 is a big number for me. And bigger than I ever would have thought I could get just a few months ago. My goal of 150 doesn't look so farfetched after all.

So, what was my 120th bird? Nothing special, but a new bird to me, nonetheless, which, by virtue of being new, is exciting. To me. Of course.

A Yellow-Throated Warbler! As soon as I realized it was a Warbler, I ran inside and grabbed my camera, and began snapping pictures as fast as the poor little digital thing would tolerate.

The pictures weren't great, but they were good enough for me to compare with those in my field guide.

At first it was a toss up between a Magnolia Warbler and a Yellow-Throated, but once I adjusted the pics, I realized that my bird had more white on its underbelly.

So, there you have it. 120 down, 30 to go.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

not to change the subject, but...

...I'm changing the subject. Yes, I am
deviating away from my usual political rantings, and focusing on a different
interest of mine: Birding.

As my username (Earthbird)
suggests, I like birds. I have always like birds. And since I've recently taken
up the hobby of birding, I've decided to (try to) use this blog as a record of
my bird findings.

Here goes nothing.

I've seen a total of 119 birds this year, and my goal is to get up to 150 by January. I've taken to bringing my binoculars along every time we go to a park and keeping a rough list of my sightings and their locations.

Obviously, I'm very inexperienced at all this, but what can I say? It's FUN!

And how can you become experienced, if you don't first go through a period of being inexperienced? If you know how, pitch me an email. I'd love to know.

Anywho, I've been seeing some great birds lately.

I saw a Belted Kingfisher and some Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers lately, and possibly a Pine Warbler, although I cannot confirm it.

My favorite find of the week? A Black and White Warbler! That's a life bird for me! I was so excited when I saw it. It was foraging for insects on an oak tree right beside a Downy Woodpecker.

If you've never seen one, it's a fascinating looking bird. Completely black and white, and striped kind of like a zebra. I almost thought it was another Downy, but it had the body of Warbler, and no red patch on its head. I thought it was a Black & White Warbler, but it was too good to be true. I don't know how common they are in the area, but my field guide said they were winter migrants.

Other birds I've been seeing a lot of: Tufted Titmouses (or is it Titmice?), Carolina Chickadees, Pileated Woodpeckers, Downy Woodpeckers, and Carolina Wrens.

I have my eye out for Warblers right now. I want to see how many different species I can find this winter, before they migrate back up North.