Sunday, May 31, 2009

Avian frustration

Not to anthropomorphize, but birds can get the last laugh on us bird banders. As an example, Amber took this photo of friend and subpermittee Roger yesterday during our study of Sedge Wrens. Yes, both are in the photo. Enjoy!

Sedge Wren and Roger

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Crazy days...

...which is not referring to the festival of "Pretty Good Shopping" in Nisswa, MN. It has been a very unpredictable two weeks. Amazingly, most of it in a very good way.

The avian migration this year is literally all over the map. It is nigh impossible to say what species one will encounter on a particular day. I think at the cabin we still have White-throated Sparrows and Yellow-rumped Warblers, which in theory should be past there by now. Pine Siskins are still everywhere and probably nesting. Our Lowry banding session had mostly Chipping Sparrows. Bay-breasted Warblers are being seen right now both in the Brainerd area and down here. No orderly march northward in 2009; but it is exciting to finally have these feathered wonders arriving!

As regular readers know, I have been plodding along with "the 14 definitions of love" in this blog. Oddly enough, I might be living my way into definition 14. For fear of jinxing this unfolding delight (my wonderful pessimist tendencies), I'm leaving details out for now. When I'm ready to say more, this definition could be quite interesting.

I will shortly be away at the cabin until June, then the summer work slog begins. Now, however, there might be a very good reason to keep slogging... I leave you with a photo from ace taker Amber. Enjoy!

Quick, three beers! Olive-sided Flycatcher

Saturday, May 16, 2009


A truly remarkable week this past week. To celebrate, I share a photo from last weekend.


Something from nothing

Temperature below 40F. Wind from the north at 20-30mph. I had 0 hopes for the Lowry bird banding program today. If I hadn't thought we had a group arriving, I would have canceled the program.

Then as I drove to the nature center, I noticed a burned field with a number of sparrows. The back of the field was slightly protected from the wind by low vegetation. I thought "Well, this might work." After I had scanned our other usual net sites and found them well windblown, I took two nets and set along the field. Of course the first wave of feeding birds had flown, but it seemed the only choice.

It was a fortunate choice. Despite the over-breezy day, most of our 22 banded birds of 9 species came from those nets. And a remarkable set of species it was, including 2 (Eastern Kingbird and Tree Swallow) that I had not banded in 5 years. Hopefully friend Roger got some good photos for his blog...

I think I had some Help today...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Roch and roles

Spent the bulk of the day in Rochester, Minnesota. A very interesting day in multiple ways.

The most mundane was the visit to the dentist. I realize 75 miles is a haul for a dentist, but when a certain comfort level is achieved this patient doesn't want to change. And it's usually semiannual. Of course as I say that, I have to return in two weeks for a filling replacement. Oh, well...

The most awkward was visiting friends that I had not seen in over five years. So much had changed that none of us were in the same place as before. It was an excruciating experience for me, and I'm sure I didn't make it easy for them. My "private side" was present in full glory. Thirty minutes was all I could handle. As much as they might want me back, I don't think I can. Perhaps they don't want me back. Oh, well...

The most sublime was a lunch visit with "the woman from definition 13" (how's that for mystery?). She was recently laid off from the company where we first met. At lunch, she was accompanied by a grandson in a baby carrier, which she promptly handed to me. Odd as it may be for this old geezer, I felt quite "at home" with her and a young'un (ah, the imagination run amok; a beautiful thing). The restaurant folks, both waitstaff and patrons, look at you entirely differently. Doesn't hurt that grandson is a three-month old cutie (sorry, readers, I didn't have my camera). My friend has been through alot herself in the past few years, yet she exemplifies what a positive attitude can do. An amazing, beautiful woman. If only... Oh, well!

Now home from Rochester, I have much prep to do for tomorrow, including baking cookies tonight. Bird banding with friends Amber and Michelle in the morning, lunch with friend Kathy, then dinner with Michelle. With all that running around, thankfully gas isn't still $4+!

All is well...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

"Lemony goodness"

I use Amber's apt phrase to accompany a photo she took at Friday's banding session at Carver Park:

Male Yellow Warbler

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Music sampler

As I was sampling some of my CD collection this evening, my eyes wandered to the bookshelf containing my old LP collection. Perhaps someday I will get back to vinyl, seeing as it's making a comeback (I'm always at least two technological leaps behind). For the reader to judge eclecticity (OK, maybe that's not a word), I provide a sample of 10 adjoining records from said shelf. I'm guessing I'm about average: not all the same style, but not total polarity either...

Oregon - (self-titled)
Peter Ostroushko - Sluz Duz Music
Pink Floyd - Ummagumma
Prefab Sprout - Two Wheels Good
Pretenders - Learning to Crawl
Carl Sandburg - Flat Rock Ballads
Sound of Music - Original Broadway Recording
South Pacific - Original Broadway Recording
Stephen Stills - (self-titled)
Strawbs - The Best of Strawbs

I do lack such bands as Queen, Rolling Stones, Roxy Music and others; never liked 'em.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Blown away

Well, not quite, but the wind gusts that followed today's clearing weather nearly blew over one of my bird banding nets, while I was trying to extract a Chipping Sparrow! Needless to say, banding was done for the day. I got myself out, the sparrow got itself out, and none of us suffered ill effects more than being quite startled.

Ace photog and bander-in-training Amber took some great non-banding photos, especially the pair of Eastern Bluebirds. We think the bluebirds were winning the battle with Tree Swallows despite being outnumbered; we shall see. Enjoy the photos below!

Female Eastern Bluebird

Male Eastern Bluebird and Tree Swallow

White-throated Sparrow