Tuesday 2 January 2007

A New Year and a Demand for a Make-Over?

The first species of the year 2007 was the same as the last of 2006 and is a rather pitiful example of how globalized urbanization is affecting our hobby: a pack of City Pigeons!

Sad, really sad. I had so much hoped it would be a formation of Snow Geese flying low over downtown Ann Arbor. My wife must have heard me sobbing in front of the window, so luckily before I started to get too frustrated she took me along to the Arb and Gallup Park on the Huron River for some duck feeding and squirrel watching.

It wasn't bad, really, with a bunch of
Northern Cardinals, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, American Robins and Goldfinches at the Arb and Common and Red-breasted Mergansers as well as a Pied-billed Grebe at Gallup Park.

Much more importantly however, this first bird-related outing in 2007 was all about putting things in perspective and collecting some motivation and inspiration regarding the birds waiting to be watched in 2007.
As a New Year's Resolution, I decided upon the following goals for 2007:
a) Find Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow at the Arb
b) Have difficulties picking out the one Snow Goose amongst the huge flock of Ross's Geese at Avis Farm ponds
c) Observe and document at least two "Firsts" for North America
d) Be the first birder ever to record all species on the official ABA list within half a year in the US
e) Find and photograph a Black-capped Chickadee, ... back in Germany, that is.

Should be a piece of cake, I know, but fun anyway.
Here's probably the most amazing species I have decided as a New Year's Resolution to find in 2007 at Gallup Park. Well, they might look quite similar but it ain't a Western Grebe and it ain't a Clark's, nope, it is an original Eurasian Great Crested Grebe.

But the most shocking find of the New Year was connected to the title of my blog:
The Bell Tower!

Well, you might not remember it, but when I started this blog way back in ... gosh, let me think, must have been 2006 ... it was named after the Burton Bell Tower because I somehow was mistaken in thinking this was a catchy name and because the tower had a pair of Peregrines that I had planned to write about often.
The pair was hanging 'round the tower most days and were seen regularly sitting on the top of the tower looking down upon Ann Arbor. The female was more of a rover apparently and by early December, she was often gone for two or three days before returning to her mate on the tower. He was always more of a faithful soul and stuck around the tower basically each day.
Then on December 14th the female was gone never to be seen again since.
And you see, with the male alone now and free to do whatever it pleases, things seem to slowly be getting out of control (I surely can't relate to that, no way)!
As I was told by local birders, the falcons have never been seen perched on ANY OTHER building in Ann Arbor but the Bell Tower. And today, returning from the Arb, suddenly there it was, the male, perched on top of the School of Dentistry building!
Can you believe it? The moment his wife is gone he goes all wild and stuff and behaves like ... I don't know, just offensive towards all the birders monitoring the pair!

And my blog?

Darn, if the name "Bell Tower Birding" was already not even half as good as Charlie's Birdblog or 10,000 Birds, who would ever visit a stupid blog called
School of Dentistry Building Birding ?

I sure won't...


Anonymous said...

Truly, falcons are most feckless creatures. Are you going to stick with Bell Tower Birding?

Happy New Year!

Jochen said...

Happy New Year, Mike!
Well, I presume I will stick with BTB. You see, things that contain "dentist" in their name are bound to scare people off.
Today, the falcon sort of apologized for its bad behaviour yesterday by cirling right in front of my window several times in bright sunlight, quite a sight.

Ben C. said...

Jochen, I was pointed to your blog from a write-up on BinaC.

Such a well written weblog (always looking for an alliterative angle) and funny. If you have any time to read about an fairly undocumented pair of nesting Peregrine Falcons just outside Central Park you can read about them here.

Let me know if you have any luck finding a 'Grey' Catbird.