Thursday, March 9, 2017

Thoughtful Thursday: Dizzy

[Snow Geese, Newcastle County, DE a few weeks ago.]

"With ideas it is like with dizzy heights you climb: At first they cause you discomfort and you are anxious to get down, distrustful of your own powers; but soon the remoteness of the turmoil of life and the inspiring influence of the altitude calm your blood; your step gets firm and sure and you begin to look - for dizzier heights."

- Nikola Tesla

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

New Administration Changes Bird Species Names; Federal Agencies Ordered to Comply

[The former Masked Duck is now known as Bad Hombre, as stated in a new executive order by President Donald Trump. This one, seen skulking in Florida's Viera Wetlands on December 23, 2009, is believed to be one of the masterminds behind the infamous Bowling Green Massacre. Click to enlarge photo.]

Washington, D.C – With a sweeping executive order, U.S. President Donald J. Trump has changed the official names of dozens of North American bird species, and has ordered federal agencies including the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Environmental Protection Agency to immediately begin using the new names.

According to reliable sources, the executive order was written mainly by Trump advisors. One reliable source said, “The only bird names Trump has ever used in a sentence are chicken and turkey.”

Below are examples of the former official names of the bird species affected by the order, as defined by the left-wing group, the American Ornithologists Union, each followed by the name chosen by the President.

“Mexican” Mallard becomes Wetback.

Masked Duck becomes Bad Hombre.

Great Egret becomes Make America Great Egret.

Great Black-backed Gull becomes Very, Very Bigly Gull.

Ivory Gull becomes Bannon’s Gull.

Passenger Pigeon becomes Democrat.

Ivory-billed Woodpecker becomes Bowling Green Woodpecker.

Bushtit becomes Grab Anywhere.

Siberian Rubythroat becomes Putin’s Thrush.

Painted Bunting becomes At Least a Seven.

In a statement, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer noted that, “These changes are unlikely to affect the American public, since the federal agencies affected by the order no longer communicate with the public, nor are any studies or reports from them available to the public. However, we do expect that President Trump’s tremendous super-majority of voters will begin using these names. In fact, we have learned the new names have already become popular in certain midwestern states.”

Trump advisor Steve Bannon said, “Those Wetbacks have been hybridizing with native ducks for years. Disgusting.”

Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway noted, “These names more clearly reflect the nature of each bird. For example, it has been known for some time that the Bad Hombre [former Masked Duck] is not, in fact, a duck.”

An official close to the president noted, "I'm sure President Trump is especially concerned because he recently learned that birds can fly, and therefore will create added expenses due to the need to build the wall above the stratosphere."

After the announcement of the new executive order at Trump's Mar-a-Lago retreat in Palm Beach Florida today, some Laughing Gulls were heard laughing. Trump later tweeted, "Fake news. Very, very sad. Those gulls will be named Fake News tomorrow, trust me."

Ivanka Trump has launched a new line of shoes called "At Least a Seven." Kellyanne Conway sported a pair of the blue, green and red high heels during the announcement of the executive order.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Winter Finch Report - From a Tree


Like the juvenile Red-tailed Hawk pictured, I've spent a lot of this month hunting from above. Red-tails often perch hunt, and that is my usual method as well since flight hunting isn't an option. The freezer is full, at least for now, and many fine experiences with the natural world were had, from the flying squirrels outside my north Jersey cabin at night to Pileated Woodpeckers every day, a species which very, very seldom strays to my home county of Cape May, NJ.

Most hunters pay attention to far more than their quarry while hunting, and my hunting partners and I take birding while hunting to an extreme level.  Often the first thing we talk about when meeting up at day's end is birds, not deer. Waiting quietly in the winter woods day after day is an excellent way to detect migrating finches, for example, of which this year there are very, very few.

After about 40 December hours listening from a mountain, here's the report: no Pine Siskins. Remarkably, no Purple Finches, surprising after a good fall showing. No crossbills. Decent numbers of American Goldfinches. No Evening Grosbeaks, but oh, pearl of greatest price, a single Pine Grosbeak flew over one day calling, my first ever for New Jersey since they stopped coming to the state the year I started seriously birding.

January and its birds and deer awaits.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016