Monday 28 September 2009

Spot the Difference

Always striving to entertain my loyal readership, I have decided to add some variety to Belltower Birding and post a riddle:

Below are two images of the same scene that differ only in one teeny tiny aspect.
Can you spot the difference (and I don't mean the light)?

View from my kitchen window on Sunday, Sept. 27th at 13:16 (1:16 pm) :

View from my kitchen window on Sunday, Sept. 27th at 17:24 (5:24 pm) :

Yeah, dudes with chainsaws.

I have a significant problem with chainsaws. Indeed I dislike them so much that if I was asked to name the five most horrifying inventions of mankind I'd rate chainsaws to be second only to atomic bombs, and closely followed by the guillotine, cell/mobile phones, and "butterfinger" chocolate bars.

Tuesday 15 September 2009

An Ambivalent Anniversary

It's that day of the year again.

Exactly, it is September the 15th, the day of days and date of dates.

Two years ago today, I moved from A to B.

Now, any anniversary is a good occasion to look back and see or evaluate how things worked out and if promises were kept. Therefore, let us look at the last few sentences of the fateful post of September 14th, 2007:

"But what about my blog? Well, darn, I am sorry to disappoint, but even back in Germany, I'll just keep on blogging!"

That was quite a promise to make, yet it is also one that can easily be verified - or not - by looking at my post stats:

Sure enough, although I maintain a monthly post frequency that is regularly achieved by other blogs on a daily basis, I'd say a small hiatus is acceptable and that's a promise kept.

"Things will very much remain the same here at Bell Tower Birding, it's just going to be another bell tower and different birds I'll be writing about."

This sentence contains three different declarations that need to be looked at separately, namely that a) things will remain the same b) it's just going to be another bell tower and c) and different birds I'll be blogging about.

"Things will remain the same"
As the opening sentences of this truly glorious post will attest, I seem to have built a certain reputation over the years that remains largely unaltered and intact, recent masterpieces by other blogs challenging my position on the blog market notwithstanding. Another frightening promise kept.

"It's just going to be another bell tower"
As you may remember (and this might assist your memory), my blog was named after the Burton Memorial (or Bell) Tower in central Ann Arbor, seen on this picture taken from my back-then-apartment.
I'd like to say that the reasons for choosing it as the name of my blog were manifold as it would sound so intelligent and as if I'd put a huge amount of thought into it, but basically the only reason was simply the pair of Peregrines that tried to breed there and were usually around.
As these were deemed the only birds I'd get to see regularly (what with living in a downtown hell of concrete and tar), I had predicted they'd be a regular and prominent feature of my blog, a prediction that never materialized safe for this one post (which coincidentally contains the same recycled picture of the tower - well, bummer).

However, was I being right and righteous in keeping the name after I moved back to Germany? Were there any bell towers and falcons in Stralsund as well?
As you can see from the pictures of this post, Stralsund actually has a number of excellent bell towers. However, there are no Peregrines nesting in Stralsund, so my blog integrity was challenged. To save the day and the blog, I decided that any falcon on a tower would be a good falcon and thus instrumentalize the numerous Common Kestrels breeding on said towers to save the day.
But of course, you may ask - after having carefully studied the stats graph above - how about the new domicile in or rather near Heidelberg.
Again, things needed to be stretched somehow to make fit what initially didn't quite fit: here in Leimen we have a pair of lovely and aristocratic Peregrines again that scare and hunt the heck out of our Common Kestrels, but the bell towers of Leimen are so ridiculous (as all of Leimen is) that the Peregrines settled for a tall and weather exposed chimney. So yet again, to save the day any tower was declared sufficient regardless of musical ornaments and here we are, on the Belltowerbirding blog and not the Factorychimney blog. A dignity stained is still a dignity saved, and the name remains.

"and different birds I'll be blogging about"
This is where the term slacking really hits the homes of Belltowerbirders: this is a promise not fully kept.
Surely I still managed to write a few post about the birds of the Baltic, but even then the majority of posts was related to North American birds and birding. With me being in Heidelberg now, this is even more of a broken promise as I don't get to go birding a lot and if I do, I need to either get back to the treadmill so quickly I forget to blog about it or I am technically not allowed to mention the outcome of my time outside on my blog as it is all job-related (but not really anything secret).
This is something I am still working on, and while I do I hope my slacker status regarding German birding posts will be viewed with mercy and understanding.

"And don't worry, as soon as I am back, I'll make my reappearance known to you by flooding your own blog with comments."
Oh geez, don't throw anything at your monitor, please!
As the following victims of comments abuse and online stalking by yours truly will attest, commenting on other blogs is something I excel at.
Look, I am sorry Patrick, Carrie, Nate, Clare, 10,000Birds-guys, Wren, Katie, Larry, Dale, Amila, Joan, Will, John, and all the other blogs I did not mention specifically but am known to regularly roam and haunt.

It's just that ... you know ... you're really good company - no matter where life takes me. And that's why blogging is such a special thing to do.

Thursday 3 September 2009

Another quick post

With the shift from August to September, birders in North America will also perform a shift in birding activity: from shore to park and shorebirds to wood-warblers.

One thing however will remain largely unchanged and unaffected by that shift: the birding rhetoric of fall.

Yes, North American birders and particularly bird bloggers tend to infrequently refrain from enriching their posts with colour adjectives of the dull kind during the fall/autumn season. In other words, they whine and whinge a lot about the birds in brown, grey and shades thereof.

If you, my inclined reader, are amongst their ranks, pull yourself together, dry your tears and take comfort:

European birders are far worse off than you.

Now go and enjoy your hatch-year Blackpolls.

Tuesday 1 September 2009