Thursday, February 20, 2014

Birds of Southern California

Birdcouple LOVES to go birding on the West Coast - it's a wonderful mix of familiar birds (like this Pied-Billed Grebe), other species we rarely see, and new friends that we meet for the first time. We spent the last week of January - when our mid-Atlantic home was locked in Arctic-like temperatures - in sunny Southern California, where the birds were singing and the temps were in the 70s.

One of our first birds was an Anna's Hummingbird in Balboa Park.

Other treats were Marbled Godwit, Cinnamon Teal (they always look so angry!) and White-Shouldered Kite, a natty looking bird.

 If you ever in your life get a chance to go to Ojai, GO. We scanned the skies each day for a California Condor. Next time!

Ojai has a lovely meadows that made for wonderful birding, including Black Phoebe, Western Bluebird, Say's Phoebe and Cassin's Kingbird.

One day, we drove out to Skinner Lake in Riverside County, about 100 miles away, to see the rare Blue-Footed Boobies there. We saw one - for about 30 seconds. Which is why it's not pictured here. The lake was also chock-full of waterfowl, heron and gulls, including this Western Grebe.

And we scored 10 life birds, including the stunning Heerman's Gull. Can't wait to go back!!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Love Day is also Great Backyard Bird Count Day!

A friendly reminder: in between smooching on your sweetie tomorrow, get started
 on the Great Backyard Bird Count!!!

In fact, the GBBC - citizen science at its best - is already underway, with the first checklists submitted.

Birdcouple's two favorite things: each other and birds. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Friends in the news

Birdcouple recently returned from a great vacation in Southern California - more on that and the great birds we saw in our next post - and have been neglectful of

We want to get back into the swing of things by giving a huge shoutout to two of our favorite birders who have gotten special recognition recently.

Peter Kaestner was hailed in an Audubon magazine article aptly titled "Diplomat by Day, Birding Fanatic Around the Clock." Peter, currently on assignment on Afghanistan, did the FIRST-EVER Christmas Bird Count in that country, counting 26 species and more than 2,142 individuals.

The article needs an update, however. In it, Peter (life list 8400+) is quoted as saying, "I haven't added anything new to my life list, but I'm yearning for a glimpse of the Afghan Snow Finch." He scored that lifer last week. Congrats Peter on the bird count and the snow finch!

We're also very happy (and honestly a bit jealous) that friend and Maryland birder Dan Haas was quoted on the FRONT PAGE of the New York Times in its recent article on the Snowy Owl invasion. That's something Warren hasn't achieved in a 30-year journalism career!! Honestly, we are proud for Dan, who does so much for birding and birders in Maryland and Anne Arundel County.

Proud to know you, guys!