Wednesday 14 February 2007

An Announcement and a Little Treasure

Despite being overrun by work, here's a short announcement and something on a Little Treasure.

As some of those who accidentally visit my blog repeatedly might have noticed, I am on good terms with Charlie Moores, quite surprisingly as he otherwise appears to be a guy of good taste and attitude. Mind you, he does have a good sense of humour as well which would explain things. The fact that I am blogging is actually all his fault, so there you have it.
We have been communicating for a while about our online things and he came up with what I think is a good idea:

What we do is that we take his great photos and profound knowledge on birds and we combine that with my ....

my ...



Anyway, so we combine all that and link up to do a series on bird identification, probably starting with the complex Ring-billed/Common/Mew Gull complex. These identification articles will be posted on both our blogs for the greater love of Google.
As this is bound to work out nicely, we have already planned beyond that, but we'll talk about these things later. In the meantime, check out his stunning warbler pics here and here.

Now about that little Treasure.

With work piling up on my desk like Orcs behind the Black Gates of Mordor I don't get to go birding that much recently. What I have to do once in a while though is (reluctantly) leave my computer alone for an hour or two to go shopping for groceries at Plymouth Mall to the North of Ann Arbor.
Just before the mall lies the North University Campus and they have a small hill right besides the road with a few very old conifers and some nice shrubbery. So what I do once in a while is I get off the bus there, take a walk over the hill, which is only about a 200 m walk, return to the main road and proceed on foot to the mall.
And this hill really is a nice little spot to marvel at and has a very boreal atmosphere. You're sort of in the middle of town with traffic zooming by, planes in the air and people all around and after two steps off the side walk you're in the quiet taiga where every Black-capped Chickadee feels like a Boreal Chickadee and every stain of resin on the tree trunks resembles the white-wash of a Great Gray Owl. Bird life hasn't been extremely overwhelming on my few visits with the only species regularly seen being Black-capped Chickadee, but there were also encounters with Dark-eyed Juncos, American Crows and a Sharp-shinned Hawk.
But by stealthily walking through this area and scanning the surroundings, you'll find a big pale brown stain somewhere amidst the white snow cover demanding for closer inspection.

And upon closer inspection, this brown stain in the snow will invariably turn into a White-tailed Deer, each time I'm there.

As a matter of fact, once you've found one, you'll start seeing all the others next to it and there's usually a handful of deer around to look at.

And I tell you, they are beautiful to look at.

Just like this.

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