Category Archives: LIST

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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we’re in iowa ten minutes, and pole’s already ahead

Today was my birthday, so we decided to go to Galena, Illinois and be tourists. It’s a historic town — home to U.S. Grant — but now it’s just full of crummy gift shops and middle-aged Viagra types riding Harleys. We didn’t do any birding, though, but we did make a quick dash across the Mississippi to say we’d been in Iowa. (Who wouldn’t?) We drove through the small, grim island town of Sebula and managed to see lots of Great Egrets roosting in the trees and wading in the water. And while I was keeping my eyes on the road, Pole got a quick glimpse of a Belted Kingfisher. So after ten minutes, she has an Iowa bird list twice as big as mine.


We made a quick trip to the Chicago Botanic Garden today, and since it was Sunday, the place was packed. We decided to walk away from the main area, and loop around the lagoon through the parking lot. Good thing, too, because as we walked along the path, a large raptor flew in front of us. It looked like it was carrying something and it was being mobbed by some Red-winged Blackbirds. We followed it to the tree where it landed, and Pole spotted it. It was a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk eating a even younger juvenile blackbird. No wonder the parents were upset. It was gruesome sight, but impossible not to watch. The first chunk the hawk ripped off was the head, and it was having a hell of a time eating it. (Skulls are so inconvenient.) The whole thing was amazing to see. I guess species whose names begin with “Red-” don’t always stick together.