Monday, September 14, 2009

Birds and Bond. James Bond.

Did you have any idea that Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond novels was a birdwatcher?

It is true!

In fact, Mr Fleming was looking for a name for the hero of his book, Casino Royale, and happened to have a copy of the following hanging about his house (well, not the Peterson Guide, but the original Bond guide...)
He received permission from the ornithologist, James Bond, to call his character Bond.

James Bond.

Fleming said that he "wanted the simplest, dullest, plainest-sounding name I could think of. James Bond seemed perfect."

In in his novel Dr. No, Fleming also referenced Bond's work by basing an ornithological sanctuary on Dr. No's island in the Bahamas.

So, why the Bond-ness?

Because Warren and I were invited to a Bond party this weekend to celebrate all things secret service.

Which brings me to my favorite James Bond.
Not Roger Moore.
Nope not Pierce.
Might have been Connery....

If Cute Husband didn't have all the necessary gadgets....

Very disarming!

But... you are probably "just here for the birds." (Die Another Day)

BirdCouple did do a spot of birding after a night of shaken martinis, gold dust and toy knives.

Cute Husband and I enjoyed a morning walk on Sunday in search of anything heading South. We started the morning at Davidsonville Park walking between the ponds searching the tops of trees and enjoying the water lily blooms.

We heard an unfamiliar whiny call and tracked down our first sure migrant of the day, an Alder Flycatcher!

Our camera is on the fritz and our little point and shoot refused to focus on the bird, but the above picture is a good example of where one might find an Alder Flycatcher, in migration, singing.

He really was super cooperative and sang his heart out. We noted at least 4 other flycatchers in the same area, but all refused to sing to give us any clue as to what exact species they were.
This Pearl Crescent (thanks for the proper ID, Patrick!)was much more cooperative.
Pearl Crescent.
Might not be a bad Bond Girl name...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

We live in a beautiful place...

.. called Annapolis, Maryland. Home to the US Naval Academy. Sailing capital of the USA. (Sorry, San Diego). And right next door to the bounty and splendor of the Chesapeake Bay.

Sometimes, though, we forget what a magical place it is. Until we see it from a visitor's perspective again. That's what we did recently - we took a sunset cruise around Annapolis and the Severn River on one of the Woodwind Schooners to celebrate Grammy Thora Strobel's birthday.

It was marvelous evening, a few passing showers only serving to enhance the gorgeous sunset. These cellphone camera pictures (note to self: fix camera) don't even begin to capture the loveliness of the setting.

U.S. Naval Academy

Severn River just before sunset

Two very happy Annapolitans

The captain of the Woodwind seemed to know a lot about sailing. But when a Great Blue Heron crossed our bow, he pointed it out and declared to the passengers that it was the largest North American bird. Warren was skeptical and, because he can't help himself, he had to check. GBHE is not the largest bird on our continent. It's the California Condor. Which is not usually sighted around the Chesapeake Bay...

Monday, September 7, 2009

Life & Death @ The Lovenest

Hey, nature isn't all nice fluffy deer running through the woods and birds twittering in springtime. It's a jungle out there. Even when "out there" is on the deck of our lil' own Lovenest.

Warren was reminded of that this morning when he went out on the porch and happened to glance through the door on to the deck. He was greeted with this sight:

We tend to get a lot of spiders around here, since we live smack dab in the woods and don't, don't, don't use insecticide, herbicide or pesticide of any kind. (Lisa's bee hives wouldn't like it for one thing). So we tend to get quite a few critters, including spiders, around the house -- especially this time of year, in late summer.

This one, we think, is a Garden Spider, but we're not positive, since we couldn't make any exact matches with our field guides. (Yes, we own field guides to insects and spiders, as well as birds, fish, mammals, stars, trees, flowers and other natural wonders). Birdcouple would welcome any help with the ID...

So, the Katydid becomes the spider. ... And life in the big forest continues.

UPDATE: Thanks to our dear friend, Kay Charter, who runs one of our favorite non-profits, Saving Birds Thru Habitat and the help of Doug Tallamy, author of the essential guide for your yard - Bringing Nature Home, our backyard friend has been id-ed as a Araneus marmoreus, a common orb weaver.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Amazing Alaska Cranes

Every now and then, we like to highlight bird-related articles from some of the 30 daily newspapers published by McClatchy Newspapers, Warren's employer. (He writes about extremely non-bird-related things for McClatchy's Washington bureau).

Today, the Anchorage Daily News has some truly amazing photographs of Sandhill Cranes in migration. Check 'em out here.