Birder's Eye View

Friday, January 14, 2011


This is a bird blog, I know. I shouldn't be writing a blog titled "FISH!" but alas, this is what my life has boiled down to in the last two weeks. Fish. Lots, and lots, and lots of fish.

I'm taking an ichthyology class about local fish species right now. Unfortunately I've already taken my school's one and only ornithology class, so I figured the next best thing would be to learn about a new animal this year. Well! Let me just tell you, there is more to know about fish than I ever would have imagined!

I should have known; it's hard enough learning all the bird species, much less trying to identify an animal that lives in the water, doesn't make much sound, and to the untrained eye like mine, looks pretty much like all the others around it. But don't be fooled. There is nothing alike about any of the fishes we have to learn. There are blennies and gobies and wrasses and basses. There are scorpionfish, squirrelfish, cardinalfish, surgeonfish, parrotfish, triggerfish, filefish, sunfish, pinfish, angelfish, boxfish, damselfish, tilefish, jawfish, bluefish, tonguefish, ladyfish, dolphinfish, needlefish, cornetfish, and trumpetfish to name a fraction of the families we have to learn. That doesn't count the cat sharks, dogfish sharks, angel sharks, mackerel sharks, ground sharks, requiem sharks, hound sharks, electric rays, whiptail rays, butterfly rays, eagle rays, skates, chimeras, and other elasmobranchs we have to know as well.

Not that I don't love this class, and think that it's totally fascinating (I do, and it is!) but... holy mackerel, all I can think about is FISH! (oh dear god, there we go again...)

So that's what I've been up to lately. When I'm not up to my eyeballs in flashcards, class notes, and homework, I've been slowly racking up my year list. I have close to 35ish right now -- all the usual local winter species. I was hoping to go out and see the Kelp Gull that was reported in Anclote this weekend, but it seems that it may have moved on before I could get to it.

Oh well, we'll see what happens. I'm currently enjoying a quiet (albeit homework-filled) weekend and will try to get out birding at some point.

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