Birder's Eye View

Saturday, December 24, 2011

In the holiday spirit

It's Christmas Eve and for some reason I'm cleaning out old files on my computer. However, I came across this timelapse painting I made some years ago -- must have been during the holidays, because I put it to Tchaikovsky's Russian Dance. Kinda quirky, but hopefully it'll put you in the holiday spirit too. :)

Enjoy, and happy birding!


Friday, December 23, 2011

One more lifer

Just when you think the year is about over and your chances of seeing any new birds are dwindling... surprise! Life birds have such a peculiar habit of popping up when you least expect them.

On my way back from visiting relatives this week, I spotted a pair of Whooping Cranes in someone's yard! I was super excited -- this has been one of my nemesis birds that I've been wanting to see forever, and there's no reason I haven't been able to see one up until now; just birder's luck, I guess. 

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Peace of Mind

There are few things in the world that I can think of more wonderful than gliding downstream a river in a canoe. (The only thing that might be better is a kayak, but that's besides the point.)

Well, a few weeks ago I got to do just that with a group of friends along the aptly named Peace River. The area is well-known for its excellent fossil hunting opportunities, so armed with shovels, nets, and sieves, we rented canoes from a local outfitter and set out for a day on the water

Experimenting with black and white photography
There wasn't much in the way of birds, besides the usual selection of vultures, belted kingfishers, wading birds, and cormorants, but it was quite the photogenic day nevertheless.

The canoe run was short -- perhaps only 4 miles, but we made the most of our time by stopping at different points to excavate fossils of all shapes and sizes. Some of our finds included ancient manatee ribs, shark teeth, various vertebrae, sting ray mouth plates, turtle shells, gator platelets, and even a piece of a mammoth tooth.

View from the bridge

Just as the sun was beginning to lower in the sky, we came across an old rusty railroad bridge arching beautifully across the water. It was too cool to pass up, so we beached our canoes and scrambled up the bridge to take in the views.
Old railroad

Sunset over Peace River

Alligator bones
We were just about to leave when I spotted a pile of white rubble on the other side of the railroad tracks; my first thought was that it might be a turtle skeleton. Upon closer inspection, a friend pointed out that it was, in fact, an alligator skeleton. It was quite an exciting find, just as much so as all the fossils we'd collected that day.

I must say, for as difficult as this semester has been, I've managed to get out on some pretty cool outdoor adventures. Now that school is over for the holidays, I'll be focusing on studying for my senior comprehensive exams in the spring, as well as more birding whenever I can. I'm also teaching a short "Birding Basics" class in January, for which I'm beginning to prepare.

So that's the latest on my life! Until next time,

Happy birding!

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