Monday, August 29, 2011

Lucky American (Birding) Man!

                             Update: Warren saw an American Avocet in Maryland on Aug. 31.                                  Lisa's present broke the curse!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am always telling Princess Lisa that I am a "Lucky American Man," and it is true, believe me..
L is not only TOLERATING my "Maryland mini-Big Year," she is ENCOURAGING it and helping me in my mad quest to see as many species as possible in the great state of Maryland in 2011. Current count is 271, with hopes of hitting 280 by December 31. That's harder than it sounds when you've already seen most of the common ones and a lot of the rarities.

Every weekend, L agrees to go birding where I need to go for my year list - whether it's a random Yellow-Bellied Flycatcher in a park in Howard County, or a White Ibis sighted at Lilypons Water Gardens out in Frederick County. (We dipped on both of those, but have found the birds I was looking for more often than not and some we didn't expect to see).

She even bought me this beautiful framed print of Audubon's rendering of the American Avocet - my Maryland nemesis bird. Avocets in Maryland flee at the sound of my name. They can hear me put the car keys in and start "Pippit," our trusty Ford Escape hybrid, and immediately fly to another state or undisclosed location. Then they do an Avocet laugh. Or snicker.

Someday I'll see an Avocet in the "Free State." For now, I'll treasure this picture as a reminder of a fun and crazy year with L and the birds. Sigh.

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Pelagic?

Well, we are hoping that Irene doesn't make a boat necessary to travel around Annapolis, but a few  birds blown in by the storm would be bonus. 

There have been some highly unusual birds reported in Maryland after previous hurricanes and the information gathered by birders provides important data about the effects of such storms on birds and their populations.

That said, safety is the highest priority after the passage of hurricanes, and no one should venture out until authorities declare it is safe to do so.   Fallen power lines, flooded roads, falling trees are all hazards, and tornadoes can still pop up after the storm's center has passed.

As you may know, Cute Husband is working on a big Maryland year. 

Clearly, I will need to restrain and shackle him up until the coast is clear...

Be safe!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Big Movie

It's been a year since we first posted about The  Big Year movie, based on the hilariously funny book by Mark Obmascik and starring Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson.

At long last, word is out that the movie is ready to hit theaters on October 14. We have not yet found the movie trailer, although the unseen trailer has its own blog.

This looks to be a major cultural watershed for birders in America. The movie could making birding "cool" - not that we really care what others think of us, right? - or it could reinforce old sterotypes. We'll find out October 14.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

"What you eat affects where you live"

Birdcouple is not just for the birds. We're for sustainable agriculture and healthy eating, too. Thanks to Princess Lisa, and our recent visit to Polyface Farm, we have been learning more and more about food that is good for the environment, better for the plants and animals we consume, and better for the people who raise and eat it.

(Movies like Food Inc. and books like Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma have had a profound effect on us),

So we were delighted when Lisa stumbled upon Maryland Table right here in our home town of Annapolis. It's a partnership that works with local farmers and producers to provide wholesome local, organic foods.

Local and organic are not only better for us (and more health = more birding!) but better for the birds, too, since they help heal the pastures, meadows, forests and streams upon which birds depend.

Food and stomachs may not be the best thing for us to be blogging about right now, to be honest. We're off tomorrow on a 16-hour pelagic bird trip off the Mid-Atlantic Coast, sponsored run by See Life Paulagics.Shearwaters and Storm-Petrels, here we come!!!