Pole goes Hawaiian

The ABA voted to include Hawaiian birds in its official list, so we’ve added 13 birds to Pole’s life list, which she saw on two trips — one in April 2011 and another in April 2013. The official Hawaiian list wasn’t finalized until the 21st of this month, and these new birds almost bring her up to 500. They will be added to her life list only, not to her 2011 and 2013 yearly lists. (The Hawaiian Coot is the only one she saw in 2013 — the rest are 2011.) I wasn’t with her on either of those trips, so I get zero birds added to my list.

Here are the tardy additions:

COMMON MYNA
PACIFIC GOLDEN-PLOVER
RED-CRESTED CARDINAL
ZEBRA DOVE
SPOTTED DOVE
AFRICAN SILVERBILL
RED JUNGLE FOWL
WHITE-TAILED TROPICBIRD
WANDERING TATTLER
JAPANESE WHITE-EYE
SCALY-BREASTED MUNIA
JAVA SPARROW
HAWAIIAN COOT

milwaukee

We wanted to make Day One of The Quest for 500™ special, so we headed to Milwaukee. We never birded there before, but a Snowy Owl had been sighted at the Coast Guard Impoundment, so we decided to check it out. There’s been a irruption of Snowies this year, but in spite of several attempts, we dipped every time, so we were in serious danger of losing our Birder Creds, which, though lousy, are hard earned.

We didn’t see it when we first arrived, so we set up beneath an underpass and managed to see some good birds, such as RUDDY DUCKS, NORTHERN PINTAILS,and BUFFLEHEADS. The big catches were WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS and a LONG-TAILED DUCK, the first male we’ve seen. Then I checked the Wisconsin list on my phone and got detailed instructions on the SNOWY OWL. We found it immediately.

"It's no taiga, but the rats are delicious."

It’s always a bit sad when Snowies are so far south, castaways in an urban environment. This setting was particularly bleak, as the crummy digiscoped photo shows. But who knows what the Snowy felt? There are plenty of critters in the city, and brat-fed rat isn’t the wurst you can do.

we’re back

We weren’t away, we just weren’t posting. Since my last entry on January 24, 2010, we’ve birded Newfoundland, the Canadian Rockies, and Florida. None of these were strictly birding trips, and none were taken during peak season. Still, since January 2010, Pole has earned 35 lifers, while I — always playing catch up — was lucky enough to add 37. Pole is approaching her 500th life bird, and we are starting to fixate on how to reach that magic number. She begins to see it even with her waking eyes, and all else fades. (Apologies to Frodo.)

On a less pompous note, I’ve finally updated this six-year old posting with a photo of the barn. Here is is again, because I love it so.

If you are planning a visit, please call ahead. Seriously.

As we gear up for The Quest for 500,™ I expect to post a bit more. Or maybe not.

a phoenix rises

Been a while. Mostly because good bird blogging is hard work. But we’re off to Minnesota next week for about 10 days, so there should be some good action. There may be live blogging, too, since I’ll try it from my iPhone, as I’m doing now. We shall see what we shall see. And maybe you will, too.

mango dip

There’s a Green-breasted Mango in Beloit, Wisconsin, just over the Illinois border. This hummingbird’s home is in Central America, so such a bird out of water created a lot of racket on the bird lists. It seems that everybody — us included — went to check it out. The bird shows up a few times a day at the backyard feeders of a couple of adjacent houses. The homeowners whose feeder the bird seems to favor don’t mind a row of scopes pointing at their house as long as we stay behind the fence. They seem to get a kick out of the notoriety and even have a book for people to sign. So today we made our first visit.

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