Monday, 31 March 2008

In Silent Preparation...

Just a short note to show I am still around:
I am currently going for something rather big. If it works out, it'll change a few things, including this blog, quite fundamentally. If it doesn't work out, I'll never tell you and just continue with things the way they are.

Days so fair and fowl were never seen.

No, I did that on purpose, this is still a birding blog, remember?

Talking about fowl:
Here's a pic of a few Tufted Ducks (with a few Common Pochards mixed in) that never learned how to pirate meals from the wells of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers.

Tufted ducks and Pochards on one of Stralsund's city ponds. Yes, Corey, those large bodies of water in big (or in the case of Stralsund, a-little-biggish) cities are good places to go look for them.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Birding-Me in 6 Words

I got a decent pat on the back recently by the wonderfully wreflecting Wren. Yes, it's another meme, although there hasn't been one in quite a while, and this one - I think - is rather neat as it goes beyond answering questions. The original thought was perceived by Bookbaby (what a coincidence, when the quality of my day is currently determined by the content of the diapers I change).
Here are the rules to those few who haven't been included yet (copied from Bookbaby):

1. Write your own six word memoir

2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like

3. Link to the person that tagged you in your post and to this original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere

4 .Tag five more blogs with links

5. And don’t forget to leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play!

It took me a long, long time to figure that one out, but then I remembered something Laurent told me during one of our bird excursions to Michigan's Point Mouillet way back in August 2007 and it became clear just what those six words are that characterize me, or rather: the birder in me.

So, okay, here goes, my Six-Word-Memoir meme:

THAT is a VERY cool bird! (White Wagtail, Germany October 2007)

THAT is a VERY cool bird! (young Mute Swan, Germany October 2007)

THAT is a VERY cool bird! (Adult winter Black-headed Gull, Germany February 2008)

THAT is a VERY cool bird! (American Robin making a political statement in May 2007, Michigan)

THAT is a VERY cool bird! (Palm Warbler, Ohio May 2007)

THAT is a VERY cool birder! (German Baltic Sea Coast, October 2007)

THAT is the VERY definition of a cool bird and thanks again, Wren! (House Wren, Ohio May 2007 )

Here are the bloggers that will have to do a lot of thinking in the next few days if they so wish:

Bird Girl
Larry (if his amazing research on car wrecks will allow him the time!)
Owl Man



I am wonderfully surprised that I am recently getting a lot of comments from people new to this blog and these comments include so much positive feed back. This is so great!
Unfortunately, this is a time for me to reflect upon a lot of things and get heaps and piles of work done (and - you may remember - the diapers, the diapers), so yet again the post frequency is likely to remain low for the time being. However, the optimistic part of me keeps saying that the end of the drought is near or - as we say in German - "hope dies last"!

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

What on Earth ...

... is THAT doing here NOW?

P.S.: first snow this "winter"

All or Nothing?

Friday was grand as I finally got some first-hand, original, out-for-real birding done and can actually write a post in “been-there-seen-that” mode instead of just making strange things up while searching through my photo archives.

Wait, sentence reconsidered, make that: “could actually write...” as currently, time for blogging is hard to find between my worshipping the bosses’ whip and avoiding the daily dangers of the dreadful diaper of death (which, incidentally, you already knew I guess). I’ll see, possibly there’ll soon be a post about me actually getting some birding done. I sure hope so and you may take this as fair warning. Here's one of the pictures I took.

A gull gal sure likes her bit of pedicure

In the meantime, a short notice on my little son LBJ, now heading towards finishing his third month on planet earth and having loved every minute so far - kind of.

Coming home last Friday, my wife told me in a flat matter-of-fact tone that apparently LBJ was no birder.
Imagine the horror.

She had played a CD containing bird songs to him (“Nature Sounds” by a German drugstore chain) and he had started to cry and wail instantly.

“Oh dear”, I thought, “all my hopes and dreams vanished like smoke in a breeze”. But then the investigating side of me took hold of my actions and I inspected the CD’s content.

The result is a glimmer of hope: LBJ is either no birder or is already the best birder ever!

Here’s why:

The bird concert on the CD is a mixture of three species, and remember this is a CD bought and played in Germany. It sounded so familiar and thus took me a few seconds to notice (apparently longer than it had taken LBJ), but the bird species on the CD are ...

.... American Robin

.... House Wren

.... Common Yellowthroat

None of these are anywhere near the normal European avifauna and apart from the Robin, I don’t even think the species have even turned up as vagrants in Germany.

So LBJ possibly got all excited about finding 2 “firsts” for Germany, then grew suspicious as this was so unlikely, and then noticed that this was no continuous chorus of the birds’ song but a monotonous repetition of the same few short phrases, so clearly he was being fooled and a recording was being played to him.

And being the serious birder he is, this clearly ticked him off in a big way!

I sure can’t blame him and hope this explanation holds true in contrast to the alternative hypothesis, that he just doesn't like the sound of birds singing ...