Monday, February 14, 2011

Hey Lovebirds!

Following Birdchick's wicked series of posts counting down the 14 days to Valentine's Day with videos of the courting rituals of various birds, I was inspired to do a little Valentine's Day special edition post. Because V-day is not just for us right? Cuz why do we say "the birds and the bees" anyway?

So aren't I just the happiest girl in this world? Total coincidence that Matt bought this DVD set for me online and it arrived today! Hey, some girls like roses, and some girls like nature DVDs. I was SOOO excited about this when I heard it, although Ron tells me it's old news (the footage is almost 10 years old and it's not HD). It's like Planet Earth but just birds, and it pre-dates Planet Earth by 5 years. It's also by BBC.

580 minutes of birds! Hello, that's like, almost 10 hours!
3 DVDs!
David Attenborough (who doesn't love a dude with a British accent?)!

But our TV broke last night so looks like Matt might just get his Valentine's wish of a flat-screen after all so I can watch this thing in all its glory.

Life of Birds is available at Amazon. If you are interested in some samples from it, there are quite a few in this handy dandy YouTube playlist I've made.
Happy girl. Valentine's Day a resounding success.
Here they are!

Happy V-day everyone!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Birding Bookshelf - Reading List

I'm not foreseeing many opportunities for birding over the next little while, but somehow or another I came across a few books about birdwatching. I mean, what better to do when it's dark, -30, and there are hardly any birds out? I trekked over to the library and couldn't believe the selection they had! Not just guides, but books on specific birds, fiction, entire books dedicated to specialized things like molting and mating and colouring and who-knows-what else. I'm a big fan of of OPL. So I did what I always do: get intrigued by way too much and take out way more than I can possibly read before they are all due.

And so, I'm just over halfway through The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (due Monday) and I have now added these titles to the coffee table pile for once I'm done with Salander and Blomkvist:

Speaking of, did you know that there is a movie coming out lter this year based on this book? It's also called "The Big Year."
It's got an impressive cast (Rashida Jones, Owen Wilson, Jack Black, and Dustin Hoffman)! Ben Stiller is a producer.

Apparently the book has had really good reviews from birders and non-birders alike.
Why Don't Woodpeckers Get Headaches?: And Other Bird Questions You Know You Want to Ask

Good Birders Don't Wear White: 50 Tips From North America's Top Birders
I saw this one at Upper Canada Bird Sanctuary this year but didn't buy it. Looks interesting!

Good Birders Don't Wear White: 50 Tips From North America's Top Birders; Lisa White (Editor), Pete Dunne (Foreword)

And here are a few more to mark down for later:
Kingbird Highway: The Biggest Year in the Life of an Extreme Birder; Kenn Kaufman
Flights of Imagination; Richard Cannings
To See Every Bird on Earth: A Father, a Son, and a Lifelong Obsession; Dan Koeppel 

Diary of a Left-Handed Birdwatcher: Leonard Nathan
Down and Dirty Birding: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous, Here's All the Outrageous but True Stuff You've Ever Wanted to Know About North American Birds; Joey Slinger

Hopefully these will keep me busy throughout the rest of the cold winter months. I suppose you guys can look forward to some book reviews in upcoming posts. Guess I'm branching out!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

as promised....bird-blast from the past

No cooperation from the feathered contingent this weekend (what's a cowgirl got to do to find some longspurs? I drove the south Kanata loop looking for you birds three times. I even drove my car into a stupid snowy ditch for you!). So, let's try something else. 

As promised, I'm taking some time to share some winged things that I dug up from the archive. Ok, here's the disclaimer: These were ALL taken with a 5MP point and shoot with measly 3X zoom. In some of them, it's a bit of a struggle to find the birds! So nothing too out of the most of these were seen on the relatively well-beaten path! Yet they all seem very exotic and special.

WHEN: February 2007
WHAT: Brown Pelican. One of my fave birds and they are so awesome to watch. So the day we show up they are fishing, tons of them right on the main part of the beach. Dive-bombing right in front of me. So I figure, what's the rush? I'll get pictures later. And what would you know, the darn things don't show up again for the whole week, and when they do it's in impossible lighting and then they are always facing the wrong way! Anyways, one of my favourite things about vacationing down south (*sigh*) is seeing these beauties!
WHAT: Methinks it could be an immature Laughing Gull. Click here for to see what a mature one looks like...a little more interesting!
On the way to Playa Pilar (tan hermosa!) saw this little guy from the boardwalk:
WHAT: Little peeweep/phoebe/flycatcher guy...sorry, there is really no chance I'm going to ID this one....
On the pier at the hotel...that keeps getting washed away, and they keep rebuilding...
WHAT: Some egret or another and some little gull guys behind it. And a bunch of junk on my lens/sensor for good measure.
 WHAT: In the lagoon: Black-necked stilts (I think)...look hard!
 WHAT: Look again....flamingos.
I wonder if this is the same one?
Look really really hard: Pelican and gulls.
Oh boy, all this is making me want a mojito. Better move on to the Northern Hemisphere before I abandon my cubicle and jump on a plane headed to....anywhere but this frigid place. Yucatan peninsula is sounding pretty good right now.

WHERE: London, England
WHEN: May 2009 I think?
WHAT: Hey Ron, It's a coot! A Eurasian/black coot!
WHAT: Mandarin duck.  Que guapo!
And the female Mandarin Duck. Que linda! Oops, I don't think we're in Cuba anymore.
Note the similarities to our own stunning wood duck!
 WHAT: Common Pochard
 WHAT: Grey Heron...just lovely and so elegant.
WHAT: Greylag Goose. So we're walking around Kensington Gardens/Hyde Park and I ask my dad what kind of ducks and geese we're looking at. And to my surprise, he doesn't know. (Bizarre because at home he can name a goose/duck from practically 3 km away).
 WHAT: Egyptian Goose. Well, hello there Mister, aren't you handsome?
WHERE: Seville, Spain (precisely, the Alcazar)
WHAT: One of my personal favourites. A Peacock..officially known as "Indian Peafowl." Pretty sure not native to the area lol.
The story: Nadia was living in Malaga at the time so I went to visit her for a bit. She worked during the day at a school in Benalmadena so I spent my days roaming Spain. On this particular day I found myself having lunch on a park bench in Seville with an especially lovely companion. Actually there were several of them was like personal bliss, and this was before I even realized how much I love birds.
*you struttin'?*
WHERE: Amsterdam
DISCLAIMER: Bad shots...even after trying to fix them. Not sure if I should blame it on taking pictures while riding a bicycle or the cafe stop.
Here a few shots of little green jobs I saw in Amsterdam in Vondelpark. They seemed strange to me at the time...I thought surely they were escaped pets. As it turns out, well, they might have been once, but their population has taken off and they are almost all born in the wild (erm, as wild as a city gets I suppose) now. I believe they are Rose-Ringed Parakeets (article). Since it was such a drab day, they really stood out. 
WHERE: Barcelona WHEN: 2009
WHAT: Little green jobs (monk parakeets?)
"Another Six species de Psittacines [who what now?] currently nest in Barcelona: the rose-ringed (or ring-necked) parakeet (Psittacula krameri), the monk parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus), the blue-crowned conure (Aratinga acuticaudata), the mitred parrot (Aratinga mitrata), the red-masked parrot (Aratinga erythrogenys) and the Senegal parrot (Poicephalus senegalus). All are South-American in origin, bar the ring-necked parakeet which is African and Asian, and the Senegal parrot which is, evidently African" 
Oh look at me...I've still got a little bit of grad student in me, as I feel compelled to provide the reference (and guilty if I don't).

Oh hey, I guess that's all I've got. I won't pretend that I actually went through all my pics...just a few of the more recent ones that involved a digicam and are relatively fresh.

Oh yes, I almost forgot something that I just fell in love with, and really want on a t-shirt or something: 
All I have to say is awe-some! (AWH)

So on my way to class today I had this brilliant idea in which I compare birds to my favourite pairs of shoes. Then I remembered that a lot of my readers are male and will not have any appreciation for this. *sigh*