January 21, 2009
AH… La Florida–but not the Florida where I am now for for the Space Coast Birding Festival. But a flashback to Tamaulipas, Mexico last november near the El Cielo biosphere reserve where we headed down a dusty road. We were in the dark driving past houses where the locals were selling tacos and school children where dressed in their uniforms headed for school. Back to a magical spot called La Florida. Where for three dollars a person you can hop aboard a boat and take a ride and see not only sun grebes but if you are lucky and alert a boat-billed heron hiding in the trees. Scanning the tangled vines we spotted this bird. He was facing away when we first spotted him. That posture made it easy to see that his bill was whitish below and just how much that bill looked like the bottom of a boat. Amazing. A well named bird. He turned his head and looked at us, striking the classic heron pose.
Photo by Jeff Gordon.
December 30, 2008
I received an e-mail from Michael O’Brien today that contained the following photos of a snowy owl. He saw the bird at the Savage’s ditch dune crossing north of the Indian River inlet, on his way home from participating in his home state of Maryland’s CBCs.
I am delighted we can add this bird as a count week species for the Rehoboth CBC. Which by the way had a lincoln’s sparrow, brown pelican and the black bellied whistling duck at silver lake along with all the regular suspects for a final total of of 136 species. I will be going after the bird in the morning…wish me luck.
December 6, 2008
While driving to the “Flying Wild” training a few days back I found myself behind a large SUV. In itself this is not so unusual. Neither was seeing a bird on a sticker on the tailgate, although it was weird it was a Piping Plover. As I pulled up to the red light behind the SUV I realized just what message the sticker was trying to convey….
The sticker stated that Piping plover tastes like chicken. This is not the first sticker I have seen in opposition to piping plover nesting habitat protection. I have seen one other anti-piping plover sticker. That sticker was on the back of an Apple Electric Company vehicle– a piping plover inside a red circle and slash across the picture. We all know that to be in universal NO sign. After google-ing Piping plover sticker–I found it is a widspread problem, from Cape Cod to Cape Hatteras from the Hamptons to the Outer banks and all along the eastern seaboard. Upset people sporting stickers and wearing t-shirts to protest the amount of beach set aside in summer for the nesting needs of piping plovers. One of the googled articles I found was a man who debunked the idea that piping plovers really do taste like chicken he had lived with shorebird trappers in south America and told why they would not be eaten on their migration south.
When I saw the first sticker on the Apple Electric truck I called the number just above the sticker to ask why they didn’t want any piping plovers. The woman was very apologetic and said it was only a joke. She stated that her husband, the owner of Apple Electric, thought it was funny. I explained I was new a to the area and a birder and why would anyone not like the piping plovers. She was mortified to have to answer my call. I expect her husband got a good tongue lashing that night.
I know it is a drag for me to go to Cape Henlopen State Park and not be able to get to the point to view birds because it has all been roped off for piping plovers. But I understand the birds and their issues. I can imagine how I would feel if I was ignorant of the birds and their needs and I wanted to fish and all my tackle was too heavy to carry.
I learned a lot doing this post & I hope never to taste piping plover. I’ll stick to duck. I’d also like to thank everyone who does obey those little string fences for helping the piping plovers.
December 2, 2008
Ahhh Mexico. I saw squirrel cuckoos while floating. Nothing like floating and birding.
It is not so good for birding by ear.
What is the most unusual position you’ve been in to bird?
November 24, 2008
We had the best day in Juamave, Mexico watching the Military Macaws that come into town to eat the pecans that grow through out the town. The people were all so delighted to share their birds in their Macaw Sanctuary.