Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Happy 226th Birthday!

 "I felt an intimacy with them...bordering on frenzy [that] must accompany my steps through life." ~John James Audubon.

Yes Sir, I get that bird frenzy! Especially during spring migration!

Check out how  Google is honoring Audubon's influence on ornithology and natural history.

And, as I tried to pay my respects to Mr. Audubon, I discovered that website of The National Audubon Society, a wildlife and ecosystem conservation organization that was named after him, went down today as fans across the country remembered the famous naturalist.

Cute Husband and I just returned from an Easter hike on the Appalachian Trail where we paid homage to the natural world with Adam and his adorable girl pal.

A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children ~John James Audubon

... more soon on our AT site...

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Warbly things! Happy Easter!

Our friends Dave and Doodles over at Birds from Behind call them the "Warblys," and that seems like a fitting name to us...

Well, the Warblys, as well as other neotropical migrants, have started to arrive in good numbers, and right on schedule, a reminder on this Earth Day weekend that we humans have not totally screwed up the planet yet. That Prothonatary Warbler up there is also a reminder of how important it is to protect and conserve the natural environment.

Here he is again...

This looks like a fine nesting hole...

A Yellow-Throated Warbler nearby. That's a racy looking bird!

Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers can often be plain and mousy looking. But this one looked sharp and even a bit fierce...

Warren spent this past week, before starting a new job, doing nothing but birding. It was fun, but he desperately missed the Princess. As soon as he finishes this blog post, he's going to go show her some Warblys.

Here are a few more Warbly shots from a trip Birdcouple took to nearby Calvert County recently. Happy Easter everyone!

Prairie Warbler

Don't I look smart!

Pine Warbler. Oddly, not in a pine..

Just another Yellow-Throated Warbler. Ho hum...

Friday, April 15, 2011

We wish we could go...

Leelanau Peninsula BirdFest!  June 1-5!

OH, I wish BirdCouple could watch this treasure with the folks at the BirdFest!
This festival offers a wide variety of unique field trips, including:
  •  Birding by Tallship (I love birding by any ship)
  • An entire afternoon with nesting endangered Great Lakes Piping Plovers (cute little guys)
  • A visit to a 300 acre native prairie installation, where Northern Harriers nest (prairies are awesome)
  • Trips by pontoon boats to the Leelanau Conservancy’s Cedar RiverPreserve (I love birding by boat) 
  • Noted author and speaker Paul Baicich is our Keynote speaker (I adore Paul!) 
Best of all ...the theme of the BirdFest is conservation…every field trip site, seminar and keynote program reflects that theme!

We wish we could go, but, Cute Husband is starting a new gig in two weeks (today is his last day at McClatchy Newspapers....bittersweet day for my guy).  

So, we are going to be local birders for a while until he gets adjusted to his new job at Reuters as an editor (exciting!).  

But, please join Paul (I adore Paul!) and our buddy, Kay Charter of Saving Birds Thru Habitat   at BirdFest and feel free to torture us with stories of how great it was! 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Birdcouple Does Oregon

Sweet, huh?

Cute Husband spoke at the Lewis and Clark College's 49th Annual International Affairs Symposium last week in Portland Oregon (Cute Husband is a genius!) and let me tag along for some west coast birding, coffee, Pinot noir and rain...

Gray, cloudy... pretty typical Portland Oregon spring weather. 
But, it was still gorgeous as we spent a day heading East toward the coast.
And, in this turbulent mountain stream, we discovered our first ever American Dipper!  The American Dipper holds the same mystique for me as unicorn or one of those crazy Bowerbirds.  Dippers are plain Jane solid gray birds with a slightly brown head.  Nothing particularly pleasing to gaze upon, although they do have white upper eyelids. 

That said, American Dippers forage in the coolest way!  They jump or dive into frigid water and catch most of their food under water! They walk, heads submerged, holding their little breaths, along river bottoms, moving rocks to find prey underneath.  

If I hadn't been so excited to see this guy, I would have taken a video to share, but check out his technique here.

Terrific cool, huh?

The weather was pretty dreary most of our visit, but spring likes it wet....
We also spent a day driving down the Columbia River Gorge.   See some blue in the sky? 
 The sun made a brief appearance, blinding us with its un-realness....

 We were in search of the Multnomah Falls.  The tallest falls in Oregon!
I have no idea who this person is who jumped in the way of my picture of the waterfall.  Walking along the bridge was a spectacular treat, although a bit noisy for birding..
 Yes, he is still very Cute....
 California gulls!  We're undeniable. Fine, Fresh, Fierce.  We got it on lock.  West Coast represent. Now put your hands up! 
 The trip was also not without dangers...
This along with constant signage reminding us of
Mud Slides!

But, BirdCouple loves a little birding danger to reflect upon later as we enjoy a sampling of excellent Oregon Pinot noir.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The in-between time

Spring has finally arrived, with the first migrants arriving from points south, and the temperatures (slowly) warming.

But for the past couple of weeks, birding has felt like the "in-between time," with winter not quite out the door and spring dallying on the way. Even this female Eastern Towhee is snacking on an acorn from last year's crop.

     Here are a few other pix from a recent outing at Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary with birding buddy Dan Haas. Up next: Birdcouple's lovely interlude in Oregon...

Female Nothern Harrier.

Greater Yellowlegs.

Rusty Blackbird.

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fool's Day

Take your pick - the 40 degree weather we are having on the first day of April, or this report from the ABA.

We'll take the latter. Spring, please?